Salsas are typically thought of as a condiment made with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and cilantro and served with tortilla chips or as a dollop on top of tacos.

Occasionally, an adventurous soul will put a dollop on top of grilled pork or chicken.

Salsa translated does mean "sauce," but it can be a whole lot more than just a tomato-based sauce that a person dunks chips into while watching a ballgame. Salsas come in many forms. They can be made with raw or cooked ingredients and seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices.

Serve a grilled hamburger with a side of homemade salsa that includes cucumbers, pineapple, onions and peppers. 
Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent
Serve a grilled hamburger with a side of homemade salsa that includes cucumbers, pineapple, onions and peppers. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

There is another frame of thought when a cook decides to experiment with salsas. This is the world of fruit salsa. The basic idea is to choose a fruit, chop it into small cubes, then add a bit of liquid and, if desired, a spicy twist, such as bits of jalapeno, chili powder or chili flakes.

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What do you do with a fruit salsa once you make it? Fruit salsas can be eaten just like a tomato salsa - on chips or crackers. They are great as side dishes, especially with grilled meats. Fruit salsas compliment the flavor of most meats and can be used as a “sauce” or topping for a grilled pork chop, chicken breast or fish.

Mild fruit salsas - those without onions or jalapenos - can be a topping for pancakes or waffles.

With the abundance of fresh fruit in area stores, now is a great time to delve into the world of fruit salsas. Peaches, strawberries, watermelon, pineapple and even mangoes can be used to whip up a batch of salsa.

Enjoy some of summer’s fresh fruits in this concoction that makes for a flavorful side dish, appetizing dip or a juicy meat topping. Happy Eating!

Pineapple and cucumber salsa with jalapeno and red onion served with chips. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
Pineapple and cucumber salsa with jalapeno and red onion served with chips. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Cucumber-Pineapple Salsa

  • 3 ounces pineapple, fresh or canned, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • ½ red, orange or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro or mint, if desired

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed, if desired, to add some heat
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place the pineapple, cucumbers, onion and peppers in a small bowl. If desired, add the cilantro or mint and lightly toss.

Top a grilled pork chop with salsa that includes cucumbers, pineapple, onions and peppers.
Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent
Top a grilled pork chop with salsa that includes cucumbers, pineapple, onions and peppers. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey and apple cider vinegar. If desired, add the red pepper flakes. Taste. If desired, add a small amount of salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing mixture over the cucumber mixture and toss until well combined. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

This can be served as a side dish or as a topping for pork, chicken or fish.

Fresh Summer Fruit Salsa

  • 1 diced peach
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • ½ cup blueberries

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons poppy seeds

Combine all the fruit in a medium sized bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a large measuring cup. Start with 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds. Taste, and if desired add additional poppy seeds. Pour over the fruit and toss lightly. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This can be used as a side dish or topping for French toast. It's also great as a dip with cinnamon tortilla chips.

Cinnamon sugar nachos with homemade caramel. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
Cinnamon sugar nachos with homemade caramel. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Crisps

  • 5 to 6 small fajita-size flour tortillas
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the tortillas with melted butter. Use only as much as necessary to put a light coating on the tortilla. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the melted butter.

Cut the tortillas into triangles. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the chips are crisp.

Cool for 5 to 10 minutes and eat plain or with fruit salsa.

Donna Evans is a correspondent for the Echo Journal.