This week I expanded my fermentation repertoire into lacto-fermented salsa. I’d not fermented anything involving fruit (tomatoes are really a fruit) before, so this was a new experience. I learned that fruit-based ferments progress quicker than vegetable-based ones, so I expected to see some results early on. Additionally, it’s pretty warm right now, and that ambient heat also encourages a quicker fermentation. I love salsa, and thought I’d enjoy a lacto-fermented one, but had no idea just how delicious it would be!
This is a timely dish because tomatoes are in season. Summer tomatoes are one of the true joys of the season. They taste so amazing right now. Canned tomatoes can be used, but they are nothing like fresh tomatoes.
So why make fermented salsa? Well, the lactobacilli helps to increase the digestibility of the salsa, plus the increased levels of vitamins and enzymes go way up. The lactic acid helps it to not spoil, and helps promote a healthy gut with the natural probiotics that develop.
This is a pretty easy recipe to prepare without a food processor, but if you have one (or a stick blender even), preparing this salsa will come together in a jiffy. I like chopping things by hand, so I was fine with doing it manually, but if I ever get myself a food processor, I’ll try it that way, too.
This salsa tastes like summer and has a delicious tang to it from the fermentation. I actually took it with me as an example item for my talk on traditional foods for Queens Holistic Moms, and it was very well received! People loved it, and went back for second and third tastes. I was really happy about that!
The whey works really well with it, too.
Adapted from a recipe by Cheeseslave. Directions for the salsa using a food processor can be found here.
1-2 serranos or 1/2-1 jalapenos (I used about 1/4 tsp dried Aleppo pepper flakes)
4 medium fresh tomatoes, or 2 pounds canned tomatoes, organic if possible
1 medium white onion, organic if possible
1 garlic cloves
2 limes, organic if possible
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey (or, if you don’t have any whey, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
If you are using fresh chiles, consider wearing gloves, especially if you are sensitive to the capsaicin, the stuff in peppers that makes them hot. Cut open the chiles and discard the stems and seeds. Set aside.
If using fresh tomatoes, peel and de-seed them: Fill a large saucepan halfway with water, set on high heat and bring to a boil. Cut an X in the bottom (blossom end) of the tomato, and carefully set them in the saucepan for 5-10 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and place in an ice bath. Cool and peel.
Cut tomatoes in half and gently squeeze out the seeds, or scoop out with a spoon, and discard. Chop finely.
Peel and cut the onion into small dice. Peel and mince or crush the garlic.
Rinse, dry and chop the cilantro, discarding the stems.
Squeeze the limes and add the juice.
Add the sea salt and whey.
Mix everything together.
Transfer to quart-sized mason jar. Add a little filtered water if necessary (if you like it more liquid and it’s too chunky). If you add water, put the lid on and shake it up so it’s incorporated. Make sure to leave at least an inch of space from the top of the jar.
Cover and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days before transferring to the fridge. Salsa will keep for weeks or months in fridge.
This post is participating in Fight Back Friday, hosted by Food Renegade.