By Emily DeWitt-Cisneros, SuperSite Food Editor
Who doesn’t like salsa? The children at North Valley Academy in Albuquerque sure like making it. Each year in Ms. Gleason’s 1st and 2nd grade combination class, the kids make salsa for a Father’s Day project. “I decided to start making ‘Salsa for Dads’ for Father’s Day with my students because I wanted to give dads something they would enjoy,” says Sarah Gleason a teacher in her seventh year at North Valley Academy. “It had been kind of hard coming up with an idea for something and then I attended the Fiery Foods Show and saw how many people had come up with their own salsa recipes and thought, Wow, I make pretty good salsa, and why not do it at school with the kids and send it home for Father’s Day?”
Since the class is made up of 6, 7, and 8 year olds, Sarah says, “I wasn’t about to let them work with jalapeños and pick their noses or rub their eyes.” So she came up with the idea of using an already spicy canned chopped tomatoes, then adding fresh ingredients to the canned tomatoes to make it a chunky pico de gallo-type salsa. “Making salsa for dads goes pretty smoothly as long as I have enough parent help. We use plastic knives and have at least six small cutting boards for six kids to be working at one time. They each cut up their own tomato, onion, and bell pepper and pick apart their own cilantro,” says Gleason. Second grader Ian Erwin says smiling, “The only thing wrong is the onion makes me cry”. After the salsa is made Sarah spoons it into jars decorated for dads.
I asked 2nd grader Lennon Washburn if her dad liked the salsa she replied, “My dad said it was hot and it was better than some restaurants.” This a agreat way to get a class or family involved in cooking. The children in Ms. Gleason’s 1st and 2nd grade combination class make this a big event and you can too with your family.
Ms. Gleason’s Spiced Up Father’s Day Salsa
5 cans chopped tomatoes with habaneros (we used Rotel Brand)
24 roma tomatoes, diced
5 green bell peppers, diced
3 yellow bell peppers, diced
2 bunches cilantro, chopped
15 green onions, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 5 limes
24 pint size canning jars
In a big bowl combine all ingredients. Ladle the salsa into pint size jars. Chill for 2 hours.
Yield: 24 pint size jars
Heat scale: Hot