May 23, 2006

Papaya Salsa - Gluten & Nightshade Free

Since the discovery of my daughter's challenges with plants from the nightshade family, she has really moaned the loss of salsa. She loved to snack on salsa and corn chips. Yeah! A new culinary challenge for me - fruit salsas. I've never tried making them, but I'm sure it will be a tasty adventure. The added benefit is that they are gluten-free, too.

I started out with a can of organic papayas that I got at Trader Joe's. I diced them and added two small yellow onions, 5 cloves of garlic, 1/8 cup of cilantro, salt and black pepper. I served it with organic yellow corn chips.

The taste test verdict? My son wouldn't even consent to try it. My daughter thought there was too much green stuff. She wanted me to try again, but use very little green stuff (cilantro) as she didn't really like the taste of it. My husband and I gave it a thumbs up. A simple and tasty salsa that was sharp yet sweet. Better yet it didn't have any offending members of the nightshade family in it.

So what is the nightshade family? It is the botanical family of a variety of plants such as: potatoes (white, blue, yellow, etc.), tomatoes, peppers (bell peppers, cayenne, jalapeno, banana, etc.), eggplant, tobacco, ground cherry or tomatillo. All in all there are about 1700 species in the nightshade family and some are poisonous. Some we know and love are ornamentals like the petunia. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County in Illinois Bulletin on the nightshade family is a good primer:

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