Picante / Salsa / Cilantro & Cumin

Salsa simple means “sauce” in Spanish. The word comes from the Latin term “salsa” which means “salty.” This spicy dish has grown in popularity in the United States until in 2000, sales of salsa surpasses sales of ketchup, not in volume, but in dollars spent. That is actually good news for the health of Americans because salsa contains no added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. In the US, when we use the term salsa, we typically mean the tomato based, hot and spicy kind used as a dip for tortilla chips. It is usually made with jalapeños peppers, cilantro, onions and garlic.

But in Spanish, all sauces are salsa. Ketchup is “Salsa de Jitomate” (tomato sauce), Worchester Sauce is “Salsa Ingles” (English sauce), gravy is “salsa dorada” (golden sauce) or “salsa de carne” (meat sauce). And what the US calls salsa, in Mexico could be called “Salsa Casera” (home sauce), “Salsa Rojas” (red sauce) or “Salsa Pico de Gallo” (rooster’s beak sauce). In Mexico, salsa traditionally is made with a mortar and pestle, although the blender is sometimes used today.Then, also, there is “Salsa Verde” which is green sauce. Salsa Verde is typically made from pureed raw or cooked tomatillos. Tomatillos (green “tomatoes”) are a member of the same family as tomatoes, the nightshades, but are more closely related to the Cape gooseberry. Jalapeños, chilies, onion, cilantro and lime may be added to salsa Verde. It can be served cold as a condiment or warm as in a chili verde. Its spiciness ranges from mild to burn-your-mouth hot. In Mexican-American cuisine, salsa verde is often served as a dip for tortilla chips or a side to tacos, grilled pork, other grilled meats and even fish.

Now, “picante” simply means “hot-spicy.” Picante can be made with jalapeños, chipotle, habaneros, arbol, Serrano’s or guajillos. But it is always going to be HOT. This particular salsa has an interesting history. It was developed by David Pace and is sold as Pace Picante. Pace called his creation “Picante” from the Spanish term “picar,” which means “to sting.” (Surprise) And the term “piquant” in English means “favorably stimulating to the palate, pleasantly spicy.” This salsa became so popular that Pace eventually dropped his other products and concentrated solely on Picante, although they’ve expanded again. He loved this salsa so much that he would put it on his eggs, chicken and burgers. Legend has it that he even put a spoonful in his morning cup of coffee!Besides what we typically think of as salsa, the red and the green kinds, there are the more exotic salsas which can be made from ingredients like mango, mint, cantaloupe, peach or pineapple.

Chef Todd’s Health & wellness
Cilantro / Cumin

Health benefits of cilantro (coriander)

Cilantro herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” while increasing HDL or “good cholesterol” levels.Its leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils such as borneol, linalool, cineole, cymene, terpineol, dipentene, phellandrene, pinene and terpinolene.

The leaves and stem tips are also rich in numerous anti-oxidant polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin and epigenin.The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic-acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C that is essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. 100 g of cilantro leaves provide 30% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C.It provides 6748 IU of vitamin-A per 100 g, about 225% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-A, an important fat soluble vitamin and anti-oxidant, is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids (carotenes) helps body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K; provide about 258% of DRI. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone mass building by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

Coriander seed oil has been found application in many traditional medicines as analgesic, aphrodisiac, anti-spasmodic, deodorant, digestive, carminative, fungicidal, lipolytic (weight loss), stimulant and stomachic.Wonderful! Cilantro leaves provide only 23 calories/100 g, but their phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any high-calorie food item; be it nuts, pulses or cereals or meat group.
This humble backyard herb provides (% of RDA/100g):
15% of foliates,
11% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
45% of vitamin C,
225% of vitamin A,
258% of vitamin K,
22% of iron and
18% of manganese.
(Note: RDA-Recommended daily allowance)

Health benefits of cumin seeds

Cumin seeds contain numerous phyto-chemicals that are known to have antioxidant, carminative and anti-flatulent properties. The seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Its seeds contain certain health-benefiting essential oils such as cuminaldehyde (4-isopropylbenzaldehyde), pyrazines, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, and 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine.

The active principles in the cumin may augment the motility of the gastro-intestinal tract as well as aids in the digestion power by increasing gut enzyme secretions. This spice is an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

The spice also contains very good amounts of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and other vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin C.The seeds are also rich source of many flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, zea-xanthin, and lutein.