If you love homemade salsa as much as I do, then you also know how much tastier it is in the summer when tomatoes are sun ripened and the peppers fresh picked. Though when you live in Oregon the sad truth is that tomatoes are only sun warm for a couple of months, and then it’s back to the hot-house blandness. *Big dramatic sigh*. But this year I discovered a secret in the world of salsa, a little portal to preservation the good ole fashioned way, by fermentation. By now you may be coming to the realization that I am quite fond of that word, sometimes I even say it to myself out loud, just for fun.
If you’re new to food fermentation, here is the low down. Fermenting is a traditional way to preserve foods without refrigeration. It also has the added benefit of healthy probiotic bacteria that are great for your body!
But enough chatter, let’s make some salsa!
Gather your Ingredients:
1 and a half -2 large tomatoes or 4 medium ones
1-3 chilies of your choosing, I like serrano or jalapeno
(you could substitute sweet pepper if you don’t like heat)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion or half of a large one
1 bunch cilantro
sea salt, I like Himalayan
optional: filtered water
1. Chop tomatoes, chilies, onion, cilantro, and garlic (or use food processor)
2. Mix all ingredients in large bowl
3. Add lime juice
4. 1 TBSP salt and 1/4 cup of whey or 2 TBSP salt ( I use the salt method without the whey)
5. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, then transfer to a clean jar, leaving at least 1 inch of space at top. Add small amount of filtered water if needed.
6. Place glass weight, ceramic dish, or pour a thin layer of olive oil or, my favorite method, melted coconut oil (about 2 tablespoons) on top of your salsa. If you choose the olive oil method you can mix it into your salsa when you’re ready to eat it. If you go with coconut oil it will solidify and keep your veggies submerged and mold free.
Cover (I use these lids) and leave in a cool, dark place for approximately three days (depending on weather/humidity). When it’s ready, you will see little bubbles floating up the sides of the jar.
Don’t be afraid to taste it, a good cook ALWAYS tastes! If properly done, cultured salsa will last months in the fridge or in cold storage. As it ages it will also become richer in probiotics.
Happy experimenting, from my science project kitchen to yours!