Salsa is a Spanish, Arabic, and Italian term that is used in context of sauce, be it of any type. However, speaking strictly in American terms, salsa is a spicy, hot sauce that if often made from tomato and considered as a typical Mexican condiment, especially in the form of dips. Known by the name of ‘red sauce’ also, salsa usually comprises of lime juice, chili peppers, onions, cilantro leaves, and other coarsely chopped raw ingredients, apart from tomatoes. The history and origin of salsa is as interesting as the sauce itself. In case you want to know about it, go through the lines below.
Interesting Information on Background of Salsa Food
The origin of salsa dates back to the time of the Aztec, Mayan and Inca civilization. It was the Spaniards who first came across tomatoes, after they succeeded in taking over Mexico (1519-1521). This is when the history of salsa food began to take shape. Aztec lords started to make a mixture of tomatoes with chili peppers and ground squash seeds. They used it as a condiment, to be eaten alongside turkey, venison, lobster, and fish. It was Alonso de Molina who first gave the name ‘salsa’ to the mixture, in 1571.
The person who began the Extract of Louisiana Pepper, Red Hot Creole Peppersauce for the first time was Charles E. Erath of New Orleans, who started making it in 1916. The following year, La Victoria Foods started the production of Salsa Brava, in Los Angeles. In Louisiana, the manufacture of Crystal Hot Sauce, by Baumer Foods, started in 1923, while that of Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, by Bruce Foods, made its introduction in 1928. Both of these salsa sauce brands are in existence till date.
Henry Tanklage formed La Victoria Sales Company, with the aim of marketing the new La Victoria salsa line, in 1941. He was the one who is credited for introducing red and green taco and enchilada sauces, among the first salsa hot sauces in US. It was in the year 1946 that Tanklage took over the entire La Victoria operation, which today provides ten different hot sauces and covers the entire salsa spectrum, including Green Chili Salsa and Red Salsa Jalapeña. The year 1947 saw salsa being made in Texas also.
In Texas, David and Margaret Pace were the ones who introduced salsa, with their picante sauce. La Victoria Foods introduced the first commercial taco sauce in US in 1952, while a line of salsas was launched by La Preferida in 1955. Desert Rose Salsa was introduced to the people by Patti Swidler of Arizona, in 1975. Hardly four years later, Dan Jardine launched Jardine's commercial salsa, in Austin (Texas). It was this salsa that ended up giving Austin the reputation of the hot sauce capital of America.
In 1980, Norma and W. Park Kerr launched the El Paso Chili Company, another salsa company in Texas, in 1980. This was followed by Miguel's Stowe Away, in Vermont, which launched a salsa line six years later. The same year, in April, began the production of Montezuma brand of hot pepper sauces and salsas in Ohio, by Sauces & Salsas Ltd. The passing years saw the sale and consumption of salsa growing more and more. By 1992, the percentage of American households buying salsa was up to 36 percent.
By 1992, the top eight salsa manufacturers in the history of salsa sauce were Pace, Old El Paso, Frito-Lay, Chi-Chi's, La Victoria, Ortega, Herdez, and Newman's Own. However, the growth of smaller salsa companies eroded the market share of the big companies. Two year later, Campbell Soup Company took over Pace Foods, the Numero Uno salsa manufacturer, for USD1.1 billion. Till date, Jose Goldstein Artichoke Garlic Salsa, La Paloma Hot Salsa and La Paloma Mild Salsa are amongst the most popular salsa in the world.