Forget Merely Fresh; Try Live!

Buying packaged or prepared food from the grocery store, you can be almost certain that it will never taste quite as good as homemade, most often because it lacks the vibrancy that only fresh fruits and vegetables can provide. Popping open the lid of a jar of Zukay‘s salsa, the thing that hit me first was how bright, clean, and intense the flavors were. Never before have I tasted a jarred product that tasted so close to homemade! It probably has something to do with the fact that Zukay prides itself on selling live foods, happily fizzing away with non-dairy probiotics and absolutely no preservatives.

Indeed, both the salsas and relishes are positively effervescent! The sensation reminds me of soda carbonation, but it gentler and “smoother,” for lack of better description. It’s not distracting or obtrusive, but merely lends another dimension to the over all texture. Hot Salsa Viva is what I would recommend for anyone who enjoys a bit of spice; While the Mild Salsa Viva is perfectly delicious, it definitely lacks heat.

Relish isn’t a condiment that I usually have on hand, so I wasn’t sure what to look for here or even what to expect. Happily, I discovered that the Garlic Dill Relish was much like finely diced dill pickles, which I happen to love. Bringing a bit more bite to the party, the Horseradish Dill Relish has a satisfying zing which has just the right level of heat.

It felt wrong to go and cook such a delicately-handed, raw, living food… But I just couldn’t leave well enough alone and couldn’t resist the urge to experiment!

What you see here is still the same salsa, and almost purely salsa, but with a bit of time and slow heat, it’s become a crisp, translucent “glass.” Having learned from Alex‘s class on Crisps, Cracklings and Glasses, just how easy these fun chips are, I made up a batch as soon as I returned home. They do require patience, but are dead easy to make!

Salsa Glass

335 Grams Salsa* (1 Jar of Zukay, Scraped Clean)
90 Grams Light Agave Syrup
Pinch Salt

Place all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, bring it to a boil, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and let cool- You should have about 235 grams remaining afterward.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and line two baking sheets with silpats or acetate.

Move this mixture into your food processor or blender, and thoroughly puree. Pass it through a fine mesh sieve to make sure that there are absolutely no lumps. Use a stencil like you would for traditional tuiles (I cut a simple triangle out of cardboard) and spread it very thinly and evenly onto your prepared sheets.

Bake for 1 hour, flip the chips over, and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

*Note that if you use a very spicy salsa here, it will only become even more spicy as the liquid is removed and the solids become more concentrated, so choose wisely!

39 thoughts on “Forget Merely Fresh; Try Live!

  1. I have heard so many great reviews of this live salsa, I so wish I could try some. That garlic relish sounds amazing!

    And I can’t believe how creative you are to cook the salsa like that! Very inventive, my dear!

  2. So interesting! I know the owner of Zukays!! I manage a cafe in PA and he comes in to eat often. Although his products happen to be vegan, he unfortunately is not only a carnivore, but follows the Weston A. Price foundation, as does the owner of the cafe I manage. They not only only believe humans NEED animal protein to survive, but also strongly oppose and belittle vegetarians and vegans. They think the more fat and cholesterol you consume the healthier you are! You should check out what they’re about They even have a special “tour for vegetarians” Ugh! Drives me insane!!! I guess I divulged more information that I had to, but it’s absolutely maddening! Anyway, I do like his salsas though. He gave me a whole case to sample ;)

  3. Salsa glass? That’s pretty cool :) So you have to arrange them into triangles before you even start cooking them? That DOES sound time consuming!

  4. You are so creative Hannah! Were the chips good? I’m predicting you have rather “I can stand intense” tastbuds, where as I on the othehand I would probably prefer mild, but maybe one day, I’ll get the courage to try hot! ;) maybe you could make layered nachos out of the salsa glass, like with toffutti (or homemade) sour cream, guagamole, olives, etc. ;D

  5. You’re so inventive! Ahhh, I wish I could think of things like that :) Those chips look really good. I’m a huge fan of homemade salsa and haven’t found a jarred one that could pass for it yet, so I need to give this one a try.

  6. Ooh – I love the way some foods come out looking like stained glass. So pretty! :)

    Oh and before I forget –
    Please consider this as your engraved invitation to the awards ceremony at my site. :)

  7. This is so funny that you posted this! On Saturday, I did at demo where I work on this product! I sold the whole case of them for our store. I’m defiantly going to give your suggestion a try!

  8. Hannah, these chips are amazing! I’ve never seen anything like this, and was unsure of what it even was at first glance. I’m definately going to try these out. They would be perfect for the batch of hummus I just made. Thanks!

  9. What a beautiful presentation of the flourless cake in your previous post! Care to send me a slice?

    The homemade salsa glass sounds like an addictive snack! Isn’t it satisfying when you need so few ingredients to create something so yummy? You might as well include a handful of those chips with my cake package.

  10. Are we positive the product is vegan? Remembering that I had read your rave review on your lovely blog, I just tried Zukay’s salsas at a green convention in my city yesterday. I asked the guy manning the booth–just in case–if there was any dairy involved in the product. He said no. I sampled some of each flavor, enjoyed it, and picked up a brochure. However, I was just now reading it and saw that their probiotic cultures are clearly labeled as milk-based. I got upset and looked up their Web site a moment ago, finding this: — there’s an answer to a question that outright states the product isn’t vegan. Have they changed their formulation as of late to make it dairy-free? Do you know anything more than what I do on the subject? What the heck?

  11. Hi, I tried to make this recipe, but it messed up somewhere along the line(I ended up with something close to a burnt, evaporated taco sauce). The whole gram conversion thing really threw me off. what would you recommend I do for a 24 oz. jar of regular salsa and corn syrup(I could not find any agave syrup)?

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