Why You Should Probably Skip The Black Pepper In Homemade Salsa

Salsa was once the most popular condiment in the U.S., according to Business Insider. In 1992, salsa even had a cameo in the sitcom "Seinfeld," when George Constanza famously quipped, "You know salsa is the number one condiment in America right now" (via The Atlantic). Why is salsa so beloved? Reddit users had the same question, and decided to ask Jerry Seinfeld during an Ask Me Anything session.

Seinfeld was a reservoir of knowledge, writing, "I don't know why. And I've had some good salsa." Seinfeld theorized, "People probably like it because they can see the tomatoes in it? Whereas with ketchup, you have no idea where this came from." That's gold, Jerry! Today, salsa has been overtaken by the likes of mayo, ketchup, and mustard, per Statista. Still, salsa is one of those food items we just can't help but pile on our tacos, burritos, and tortilla chips.

This sauce, at its most basic, is comprised of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro, according to Culinary Debates. Of course, there are plenty of other ingredients you can add to your salsa recipe to give it a kick, add texture, or balance heat with sweetness; however, when making homemade salsa, you may want to skip using black pepper, and here's why.

Black pepper is not spicy enough

According to Bon Appétit, while salt and pepper are a dynamic duo, they just don't make your taste buds pop when you're eating salsa. The article goes on to explain that salt is definitely an essential seasoning, but black pepper is just not needed for this dish. Dawn Perry, digital food editor at Bon Appétit, explained, "It's too low of a base note for zingy salsa. Black pepper doesn't bring the right kind of heat." So, what peppers should you use instead of ground black pepper?

Better Homes & Gardens reveals that the type of pepper you choose is really contingent on how much heat you want your mouth and tongue to feel. If you are a lightweight when it comes to spice, the site suggests using either banana peppers or green chile peppers. However, if you and your palate are a little more adventurous, try adding jalapeños to kick it up a notch. And, of course, if you want something to make your eyes and nose water, you may want to check out the Scoville scale to discover if a pepper of the serrano or habanero variety are in your salsa future.