It is hard for our family to ever get its fill of fresh pico de gallo. So we all work as a team to chop up a huge batch every week or so.

Our daughter Rebekah started this tradition several years back. Dad brags to everybody she makes the “world’s best pico de gallo” — and that title stuck.

No single serving sizes for us! We make several quarts at a time, often doubling (or – if company’s coming – even tripling) the recipe below.

Even then, it seldom lasts us more than 48 hours. Store-bought pico just can’t compare to the taste and texture of the stuff the kids and I mix up in our own kitchen. This is especially true during the summer months, when we incorporate ingredients grown in our own garden.

Ingredients

8-15 Roma tomatoes

1-2 red onions

4-6 jalapeños

2 bunches cilantro

4-5 garlic cloves (optional)

juice from 8-12 small limes

salt (to taste)

Directions

1. Dice the tomatoes very small. Roma tomatoes give the best consistency and flavor, in my opinion. We’ve tried other varieties, but with less favorable results. We don’t bother seeding the Roma tomatoes, but you would definitely need to seed any other kind.

2. Dice jalapeños, as well. Unless you like super-hot salsa, you’ll want to halve, seed and rinse your peppers before chopping. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after this step to avoid getting oil from peppers into your eyes when you later wipe away tears from cutting onions. (Experience talking — you don’t want jalapeño juice anywhere near your eyes!)

3. Next, dice the onions. My daughter uses red onions in her pico, but it tastes equally yummy with sweet Noonday onions, too. I use whatever kind I have on hand. Put diced onions in a large bowl with the diced tomatoes and jalapeños.

4. Rinse and chop your cilantro finely. Add to other ingredients.

5. Stir in minced garlic, if desired (I love garlic and think it improves the flavor of just about anything, but my daughter — whose recipe this is — does not share this opinion and usually leaves the garlic out).

6. Add the juice from your limes, as well, plus a little salt to intensify the taste. I seldom measure this step. Instead, I recommend giving your salt shaker a few shakes, stir it in, then follow up with a taste test. Repeat this step as necessary until you’re satisfied with the taste (and have had a head start on the pico).

IDEAS FOR WORLD’S BEST PICO DE GALLO

n Grab a spoon and eat it straight. It’s that good!

n Scoop it up with restaurant-style tortilla chips.

n Warm some up with a jar of Cheese Whiz for some spicy queso.

n Add a few spoonfuls to fresh, chopped avocado for quick and easy guacamole

n Use it together with some grated cheddar as an omelet filler (or topper).

n Pair with soft corn tortillas and pulled pork for some yummy street tacos.

n Mix 2 cups of pico with a can of black beans (rinsed and drained) and a can of shoe peg corn (also drained) for a quick and easy side salad.

n Spoon onto a baked potato with a dollop of sour cream.

Jennifer Flanders is always happy to hit on recipes her entire family enjoys. For more crowd-pleasing dishes plus lots of fun ideas for making mealtimes memorable, check out her book “Sit Down & Eat” by following this link: http://bit.ly/sitdownandeat.

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