By Charlie Nardozzi

The vegetable harvest is coming on strong, so this is the perfect time to engage your kids in a little garden eating and cooking. One fun and easy dish to make with your kids is salsa. Most home gardens have the ingredients to make a variety of salsas, and helping with the harvesting, chopping, and mixing is a great way for kids to learn about fresh food and cooking. Plus, if you can the salsa for winter use, they will be reminded of their efforts all winter as they munch on tortilla chips.

Make various types of salsa with your kids to see which they like best.
Make various types of salsa with your kids to see which they like best.

Follow these tips for making salsa with your kids:

  • Make a list if ingredients to use in your salsa. These will include tomatoes, cilantro, onions, hot pepper, and garlic. Brainstorm with your kids about other ingredients that might be fun to try, such as corn, beans, tomatillos, and even fresh mango.
  • Have your kids scour the vegetable garden to find these ingredients. Take your kids shopping to purchase any ingredients you don’t have.
  • Set up chopping stations in the kitchen where your kids (under adult supervision) can roughly chop up the tomatoes, cilantro, onions, hot pepper, and garlic. You can combine and roughly chop the ingredients in a food processor instead, but it’s more fun for kids to perform some labor for their snack, plus cutting the veggies allows them to experience the taste and smell of the fresh produce.
  • Experiment with different-flavored salsas, adding more sweet (mango), sour (lime), or hot (pepper) ingredients to see which combination the kids like best.
  • Combine the ingredients and mix them up. If you make extra, consider canning your favorite salsa following USDA instructions for canning produce.

Here’s a simple recipe to try:


4 tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, chopped

.5cup chopped cilantro

3 garlic cloves, minced

Juice from 1 lime

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)

Salt to taste


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Chill and serve.