Last month I achieved a goal of mine I have had since moving back to Austin over 5 years ago. I entered the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival. I felt accomplished and very satisfied I completed that goal.
Then I got third place. Oh my, that was just a cherry on top!
I’ve been making salsa since I lived in Seattle, because good fresh salsa is hard to come by there. We would hold mini competitions with other fellow Texas-transplant friends to see who could create the best recipe. We’d basically all win and then share our secrets with each other…because, folks, you can never have too much salsa.
Red salsa has always been my shining star. My dad is convinced I need to sell it, and maybe one day I will. (So that recipe is top secret…sorry friends.) But last year I started experimenting with other types of salsa, and I found a new winner. Ground cherry salsa. So I entered it in the special variety category and apparently the judges thought it was a winner too.
It was a bit of an ordeal to enter this year. Since I recently moved, I wasn’t able to grow enough ground cherries in my garden for the salsa so I had to search high and low for a farm that grew them locally. Thankfully Fruitful Hill Farm in Bastrop County came through for me and I picked up my (rather large) order at the farmers market one Saturday morning in July.
The other thing is that ground cherries are pretty seasonal. Their peak here in Texas is June/July. The competition was the end of August so I had to figure out a way to preserve them. I took a risk and froze them. Thankfully they all survived.
Since my supply of ground cherries was limited, I could only do one test run of the salsa before the competition. And it was a little rough. The whole next week that salsa kept me up at night thinking through ideas about how I could make it better. And the Saturday before the competition, I put those ideas to work.
Thankfully the second (and final) round turned out much better than the first, the salsa was entered into the competition, and the rest is history!
So with all that in mind, today I am doing something a little unprecedented and sharing this award-winning salsa recipe with YOU! Forget about keeping award-winning recipes under wraps, this one is so good it needs to be shared. Plus, this world needs more recipes that use ground cherries anyway. So here goes, friends. I really, really hope you enjoy!
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