Tag Archives: guar gum

Homemade Tomato-less Sweet Corn Salsa

Every few months whether on personal or business travel I find myself near a Trader Joe’s and cannot help myself to a few bags of products.  I am sure that some of my TJ’s love is a direct function of the fact that I do not have a store near, so many of the products seem unusual or new to me.  Heck, to a lot of regular customers the rapidity and randomness of items’ arrival and disappearance is a mystery to them as well.

One item in particular—Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa—was a true find.  Not only was this stuff good on chips by itself, but it was a great addition to a bowl of quinoa along with some black beans to make a knockout quick lunch.  Too bad my couple of jars did not last that long.

This is where my desire to bust out the canning supplies comes in handy.  I checked out the ingredients:

corn, sugar, onions, red bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, distilled vinegar, spices, salt, guar gum.

Nothing revelatory or really odd.  Seems like a lot of sugar, but that is easy to take care of when I make my own version at home.  I can axe the guar gum because that is to help the appearance and I could care less.  So, really, we are talking about an ingredient set that I could pretty much rustle up from my pantry.  Why exactly did I buy this stuff again?

The internet delivered lots of recipe variations.  Apparently, people are pretty much obsessed with Trader Joe’s.  My gain.  I combed through the recipes to get the ratios right and added my own “spin” because I like a little more heat.  I also did not know what I was going to do with ½ of a red pepper and jalapeno, so I upped the amount to an entire one of each.  Here’s what I started with for a recipe:

2 cups corn

1 cup onion

½ sweet bell pepper

½ jalapeno pepper

1 Tbsp. salt

¾ tsp. ground mustard

¼ tsp. Pepper

¼ tsp. cumin

Sugar to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan on the stove, and heat until almost boiling. Let cool and then transfer into a resealable container. Store in fridge for up to a month.

Some recipes called for up to a half cup of sugar, which I felt was a little excessive.  I probably put a quarter cup into this batch to balance out some of the extra heat from the whole jalapeno, but your palate may be different.

Here’s what it looked like in jars:

corn salsa

There is not a lot of liquid in the corn  salsa because you do not add anything extra, so it is just the result of the sugar and released water combining to make a sweet, syrupy binder.  I prefer it this way because it makes for a useful addition to so many recipes and quick meals without watering things down or making everything taste like tomato liquid.

I also chose not to can this batch because I wanted to see how it turned out.  This summer, when I am swimming in fresh corn, I am going to have to can some of this because storage space in the refrigerator will be at a premium.  Oh, I cannot wait for late summer.