Season Canned Fruit With Chili Powder For A Bold Salsa

Fruit salsa is a delicious, versatile Mexican condiment often served on salads, in tortillas, or as a sweet dip. However, storing and dicing the fruit can be challenging, especially when making large batches. This is where canned fruit shines: It eliminates the prep work. Plus, for a bit of authentic Mexican flair, a sprinkling of chili powder will take a sweet and refreshing fruit salsa to the next level.

The concept is similar to Mexican fruit cups, a popular street food where tropical fruits, such as mango, jicama, and papaya, are liberally sprinkled with chili powder, lime juice, and sometimes sugar for a sweet and spicy treat. In this treat, the sugar pairs nicely with the heat from the chili to create a balanced flavor profile. 

Fruit salsa is essentially the same thing, only diced up. There are different ways to make salsa with canned fruit: serving it raw or roasting it for an added depth of flavor are two great options. Also, using other spices like cinnamon and nutmeg as seasonings can complement the heat and remove any lingering metallic notes you may detect. Ultimately, adding chili powder to fruit salsas makes a noticeable difference in taste, allows it to be served with savory dishes, and prevents the fruits' sweetness from overpowering other flavors in whatever you're serving. Even better, making this recipe is fun and only takes a few minutes to prepare.

How to make a bold fruit salsa with canned fruit

The first thing to consider when making salsa is what kind of fruit to include. If you want to serve canned fruit raw, drain the syrup and toss the fruit into a bowl with your seasoning blend. If you choose to roast it, drain the syrup, toss it with chili powder and other seasonings, place it in a single layer onto a baking sheet, and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Afterward, the fruit can be placed in a bowl in the refrigerator to cool faster.

Roasting adds a complex sweetness, but chili powder is the key to making this salsa pop. Due to the sweetness imparted by the syrup in canned fruit, the heat of the chili powder is slight, but the flavor is bold. Of course, more can be added to kick up the heat. Part of the fun of making this recipe is experimenting with seasoning because the variations are almost limitless.

If your salsa is still too sweet, add a splash of lime juice to cut through the sweetness and add freshness. Likewise, a pinch of roughly chopped cilantro combined with chili powder and lime juice lends canned fruit a more authentic Mexican taste, especially when served with savory or salty dishes. If you've shied away from using canned fruit in fresh preparations, chili powder may be the perfect ingredient to change your mind.