Updated: Aug 16
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Fermented fresh salsa is not only delicious and easy to make but also a probiotic powerhouse that can boost up your health.
Today I'm sharing with you my family’s favorite ferment; SALSA!!! If you like salsa, you will like this kind even more. I promise you! My picky husband loves this ferment the most from all my ferments.
Why fermented salsa?
It is true the whole process of lacto-fermentation adds a depth and complexity to the flavors of the foods being fermented. Even better still, additional nutrients are developed via the lacto-fermentation process which also naturally aids in digestion. These are just some of the reasons why lacto-fermented foods are so important in our diet.
The process of fermentation is the breaking down of the sugars that are naturally present in veggies, by enzymes of microorganisms that turn into natural yeast and promote bacterial growth, when oxygen isn't present.
Along with adding depth and complexity to the flavors while preserving the food, even better still, fermentation elevates the nutrients of the food. Dr. Berg recommends, eating fermented food like sauerkraut because it will help with vitamin C deficiency. Yes, fermented veggies, like cabbage for example, is 10 times higher in vitamin C than fresh cabbage, yes you heard me, from 70 mg. per 100 grams of product to 700 mg. of vitamin C in sauerkraut. These are just some of the reasons why lacto-fermented foods are so important.
Why people being afraid doing ferments themself?
When I was teaching my fermentation classes during the pandemic, this was the first question people would ask me: "Is this safe?" After hearing this question so often I realized that we’ve all gotten so dependent on other people preparing our food that we don’t trust ourselves anymore. We don’t trust our senses and we think there’s danger lurking everywhere. If you ferment food in a jar, the traditional way, sometimes you’re going to get mold growing on the top that you’ll have to sweep off. It’s not dangerous and it’s not going to kill you, but we’ve now got it in our heads that it might be harmful. People think they need a special environment, special tools, special lids, etc., when making ferments. We are forgetting the fact that fermentation IS THE OLD WAY OF PRESERVING THE FOOD!
The truth is that all vegetables are pre-inoculated, with native lactic acid bacteria adequate to initiate fermentation. In my own kitchen, and I’ve doing this process for more than decade, I have found the bacteria on vegetables to consistently produce successful and delicious ferments, and almost all the varied traditions of fermenting veggies that I have learned about rely upon bacteria naturally present on the vegetables. So, YOU DON'T NEED ANY SPECIAL CULTURES, OR EQUIPMENT TO FERMENT YOUR VEGGIES!
What do I like about this salsa?
Most of all, it is delicious and safe for children! This is an easy way to feed my family a rich probiotic food. It is excellent to serve with chips or tortillas and certainly makes for a healthy snack and perfect when entertaining hungry guests. This salsa is a staple in my kitchen during summertime.
Most store-bought salsa is preserved with vinegar and heat. This adds the acidity to the salsa, which keeps it from spoiling and destroys any unwanted bacteria found in the salsa. When salsa is fermented the acidifying agent is the lactic acid, which is produced by lactic acid bacteria. This recipe makes your salsa not only more digestible but is better for you and can be adjusted to your taste (anywhere from mild to spicy and slightly acidic to highly acidic).
Sweet, Mild or Spicy?
How do you like your salsa; sweet, mild, a little spicy or very spicy? With this recipe, you can have your salsa anyway you like.
The recipe makes a mild salsa; however, you can make it sweet or with more heat by removing or adding jalapeño pepper.
For example, if you want a sweet, fermented salsa, start with half a jalapeño or even a quarter of a jalapeño with no seeds. You can also add sweet peppers and even a few slices of pineapple/mango. If you plan to serve the salsa to your kids, remove the jalapeño pepper altogether and replace it with some type of sweet pepper. Both red and green peppers work great just make sure you choose a sweet variety.
On the other hand, if you love yourself some heat in your salsa, add two jalapeños instead of one along with the seeds. It will definitely make your spicy-loving taste buds very happy. So, this salsa is great for everyone, including children, if you adjust the spiciness.
Considering trying more varieties of ferments?
Try these few classics and I promise you will find a way to serve some sort of cultured food at every family meal.
Remember, making probiotic products at home can save you money and can help give your gut a diverse variety of different strains of good bacteria to help rebuild and support a healthy and strong immune system. Our immune system keeps us strong! Fermented and cultured foods and beverages have been around for thousands of years, and they have been slowly creeping their way back into our modern-day homesteading kitchens and natural living communities. I'm truly excited about this interest in ferments and cultured foods.
What do I need to make this recipe?
-Food processor (optional)
-Wooden cutting board
-Chef knife/tomato knife
-Medium size bowl
-Quart mason jar (Two-quart jars or one jar half gallon)
How long will this salsa last?
This salsa is good in your fridge for a long time!
After you ferment at room temperature for 2-4 days (it depends on your temperature in the kitchen and preference of acidic level), keep in the fridge for up to 9 months!
Let's do it...
2 lb. tomatoes (any kinds)
6-10 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper (any color)
1 onion (any kind)
1-2 jalapeños (with seeds or without)
1 cilantro batch (stems and leaves)
juice of 2 limes or juice of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons Celtic salt
2 teaspoons cumin powder (optional)
1. Wash all veggies well, and then set aside.
2. Chop the tomatoes into chunks, discard the cores, and add into the food processor bowl and press the course option for 3-4 times for a few seconds. Make sure it's not a tomato puree but rather a minced tomato. Add to a large bowl.
3. Repeat with bell pepper and jalapeños if you are using both. Then add to the bowl. Next peel the onion and repeat the same procedure.
4. Peel the garlic and add to the food processor along with the pre-chopped cilantro stems. Puree and stop to scrape if needed. Add to the bowl.
5. Chop the cilantro leaves with a knife, then add to the bowl and then squeeze on the lime or lemon juice.
6. Add salt and cumin (if you are using). Mix everything thoroughly.
7. Next, take your clean quart mason jar and fill the jar with the salsa and cover with a regular lid.
8.Leave at room temperature for 2-4 days. During this time period, every day once or twice a day, give it a shake. Open the lid and then close it. Make sure all the veggies are fully submerged in the juice/brine. If they aren’t, it's not that big of a deal, by shaking the jar and opening it, you are distributing the juice and releasing the built-up gases. Let your good bacteria do its job.
9. Give it a taste and if you like the results, place the jar in the fridge.
10. It should keep for about 9 months, but I must warn you, it doesn’t last long in our house.