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Although down here in the South, we usually have been harvesting fruit and veggies from our garden for a month now, this year has been different. It has been so hot and dry that much of my garden just hasn’t produced or have burned up! I have been wanting to make fermented salsa for several weeks and I’ve just had to wait, and wait, and wait. But my wait is finally over. This week I’ve harvest enough tomatoes for my first batch of fermented salsa and I can’t wait to share it with you!
But first you may be asking,
What is fermented salsa?
Basically fermented salsa is when you allow freshly made salsa to sit out for a day or two to culture (ferment) good bacteria (like probiotics) before storing it. Unlike store bought salsa, or even home canned salsa, fermented salsa is not cooked or heated. (Yes, you heard me right! No suffering over a hot stove in the summer for this good stuff!) Therefore, all the enzymes remain in it. Raw fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients and enzymes, many of which are heat sensitive. So cooking your fruits and veggies kills off some of these. Now, that’s not to say that we should only eat raw foods. Some nutrients actually increase, or are made more bioavailable, when cooked. These are usually the exception not the rule though. Since fermented salsa needs no cooking or heating, all of these enzymes remain.
What are the benefits of fermented salsa?
As I’ve already said, you are getting the raw enzymes, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Fermented salsa also has the added benefits of probiotics. Microorganisms, especially lactobacilli, are everywhere. If given the right environment, these organisms will multiply and add flavor and health to a dish. We just need to encourage this multiplication. Sally Fallon quotes in Nourishing Traditions
“There is something fascinating about microorganisms. They are everywhere: in the air, in water, in our food, on our bodies, in our bodies, invisible and without number, capable of multiplying with extraordinary rapidity, agents of illness and even of death, but also the foundation of life and health….Grain, pulses, vegetables, fruits and milk-these are the foods that can be transformed by fungus and bacteria, using very ancient procedures, in such a way as to confer on them qualities they initially lacked, as well as to preserve them without the aid of modern industrial processes. -Claude Aubert Les Ailments Fermentes Traditionnels”
How then do you ferment salsa?
To get these good microorganisms to multiply in your salsa, you will add salt and lemon juice (although some people add whey from yogurt too) to encourage their growth and discourage the bad bacteria from taking over. Once you’ve made your salsa, you will need to pour it into a glass jar and let it sit out on the counter for up to 48 hours to allow the fermentation (multiplication of the good bacteria) to continue. Then you will move it to cold storage (i.e. the fridge) until it gets eaten up- which usually doesn’t take long at our house. I have to admit, because of the short fermentation time for salsa, it’s one of my favorites. Yep, I’m pretty impatient when it comes to good, healthy food. 🙂
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency.
- Pour into glass jar and seal. (Mason jars and lids will work fine, but I prefer the swing top jars.)
- Leave on counter out of direct sunlight for 6 to 48 hours. You may see some bubbling up of the salsa and this is normal.
- Once it has fermented, "burp" the jar to let out any excess gas and place in the refrigerator for storage. This salsa will last for several months in cold storage.
Just a few things to remember about fermented salsa.
Since everything in this recipe is easily digestible, you can eat this salsa immediately, but you won’t get the added benefits of the probiotics. Since you’re not canning it, you cannot store fermented salsa in a pantry. You will need to keep it in cold storage once you’ve finished fermenting it. But fermented salsa will last in the fridge for several months. Last year, I made several batches in July and we were still eating it around Christmas! I did have one large batch go bad on me and it was obvious-lots of mold all over the top. Yuck! It was a large batch that I was saving, so if you’re planning on storing it for several months, I would suggest making smaller pint sized batches. That way, if one does go bad you don’t lose as much. And the smaller batches tend to keep better too.
Want to watch me make fermented salsa? Check out this video I did on periscope.
Preserving Your Harvest Through Salsa
Now you have one more way to preserve that harvest! And I hope your harvest truly is bountiful this year. And if it has been and you’ve been making salsa, tell us what you’re favorite way to make it is. Or comment and tell us what your secret ingredient is that makes it tastes oh so good? I would love to hear from you!
Tasha Medellin says
That sounds so good! We eat salsa all the time at our house. Although I’ve yet to be successful at gardening, I bet I could get some organic veggies at the store and give this a try. 😉 I bet it is delish.
Mandy W. says
Question… will this work as well fermenting with canned tomatoes? You know instead of the fresh tomatoes.
I LOVE salsa and I am striving to find a way to make it last longer so I can make more at once. I love all the natural ingredients and flavors, and I would hate to add another ingredient to ferment it and possible loose that flavor. I believe this would be the best way to make it last longer naturally.
Sorry for the delayed response. Unfortunately it is best to use fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes, whether home canned or store bought, have been cooked/heated which kills enzymes and the bacteria needed to ferment. So if you tried it using canned tomatoes it probably wouldn’t ferment at all. I will say that I have had this salsa last for several months unopened in fridge. Your best bet would be to store it in small batches (pint jars) in the fridge so the ones not opened will last. Hope this helps. 🙂