Recently our family has been experimenting in the world of Lacto-fermented vegetables. We have mostly just made pickles and hot peppers so far. But this Lacto fermented salsa recipe is by far our favorite.
Last week I bought a box of dent and spot tomatoes from a local farm for 88 cents per lb. After canning 2 huge jars of sauce, we still had about 10 tomatoes leftover. Since I still had hot peppers in my fridge I decided to make some salsa.
This is so easy to make and the fermentation causes the salsa to have a nice tangy bite.
I blanch my tomatoes for about 5 seconds in boiling water. This kills any nasties that might be on the fruit and makes peeling them a breeze. To seed tomatoes, you simply cut them in half horizontally and give a slight squeeze. Use a spoon or other instrument to scoop out any seeds.
Large heirloom tomatoes make the nicest salsa. Brandywine and Cherokee Purple are great varieties, but any large “cooking” tomato will work.
Do not cook your ingredients and do not “can” the jars. This is natural food preservation at its finest. To learn more about how Lacto-fermentation works and its benefits visit these sites:
Fresh Garden Salsa: Lacto-fermented
- 4 large tomatoes peeled and seeded
- 1 small onion
- 2-3 hot peppers Jalepeno for hotter salsa, Hatch for medium, Ancho or Poblano for milder
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 tsp cilantro dill, or oregano (optional)
- 2 tsp non-iodized kosher salt or sea salt
- Peel the onion and garlic. Slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place onion, garlic, and peppers in a food processor and pulse until fine.
- Add tomatoes, herbs, and salt. Pulse until it reaches desired consistency.
- Pour salsa into a large canning jar. You want to leave about 1/2 inch of space from the top. Use 2 smaller jars if needed. If the salsa is thick you may need to add a touch of water so the chunks of tomato are submerged in the salt brine. Place the seal on and screw the lid on securely. Don't make it too tight or the seal could warp.
- Place in a dark, dry cupboard for at least 3 days. DO NOT REFRIGERATE! Your salsa will begin to bubble slightly and may smell slightly tangy. This is good. After 3 days you can start to taste it. When it reaches the hotness and tanginess you like, place the jar(s) in the fridge. The flavor will continue to develop for up to a month.
What are the benefits of fermenting salsa?
It's all about the taste! Just as braising or slow-cooking develops flavor gradually, fermentation develops flavor gradually over time. While the texture of some commercial salsa is often cooked, the texture of whey-fermented salsa generally remains crisp.
This is how it works
Salsa can be fermented in many ways, but the general idea is to combine vegetables, salt, and water in a jar and leave it out of direct sunlight at room temperature for a few days.
We don't have to use whey to lacto-ferment vegetables in this recipe, as a bit of salt and the bacteria found in the vegetables will suffice. Whey, on the other hand, works as a starter and jumpstarts the process. Consequently, you'll get your fermented salsa a bit sourer sooner and be able to enjoy it sooner.
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