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When developing a salsa recipe, try to achieve balance among these elements:

*Color: The variety of heirloom tomatoes and peppers now available provides a nearly unlimited palette.

*Heat: Consider how hot the chilies are in the mix. You can add more heat with hot sauces or ground spices. For chili flavor without much heat, use ground spice mixes.

*Sweetness: Sweet flavors can moderate hot ingredients. Sweetness can come from expected sources, such as fruit, but also from balsamic or other sweet vinegars.

*Acidity: In addition to balancing the other elements, acidity -- from vinegar, many fruit juices, slices of whole citrus fruits and other sources -- can amplify the other ingredients' flavors.

*Aromatics: These will often be contributed by herbs, with cilantro a prime example. You can also use cumin, rosemary or an exotic element such as coffee.

*Texture: Complementary or contrasting textures can add interest to a salsa. Corn, apples, pears and nuts are some examples of crunchy ingredients that can enhance smooth-textured salsas.