I love homemade salsa. It’s such a wonderful treat, and now is the perfect time to make it with tomatoes growing well in everyone’s garden. But have you ever tried to culture it? Doing this allows you to keep your fresh salsa for at least several months in the fridge, and gives you a huge boost of health benefits. And it tastes wonderful!
Lacto-fermented (fermentation with the use of whey), or cultured food should be an important part of our daily diet. However, we have lost the art of culturing our foods, and so it seems like a “big step” for most of us. But it’s really very simple. Our family has enjoyed several different types of cultured food, including sauerkraut (one of our favorites) and cultured salsa. Culturing our vegetables not only helps it last for long periods of time, but it provides you with very important enzymes (helps your digestion), and gives you beneficial bacteria. It also increases nutrients in many vegetables so that you are able to absorb more vitamins and minerals from your food.
I have to say that I think that cultured salsa is the easiest cultured food to like. It just tastes like…..salsa. With many of us having fresh, local tomatoes at our disposal, this is a wonderful way to “save them” for a few months.
This recipe was adapted from the Nourishing Traditions recipe. I have simplified it, and instead of chopping everything up by hand, I use my food processor to quicken the process. I have found that everyone likes their salsa differently. Some like it spicy hot, some like it mild. Some like it chunky, some like it smooth. If you have a favorite salsa recipe using fresh ingredients, I am sure you could adapt it to become a cultured salsa. The important thing is to know how you like it, and adapt. I will often play around with this recipe to come up with variations, which is very fun.I have some friends who grilled some of the veggies before they cultured it, and it turned out wonderful. You can also use different peppers as well.
This salsa is a very fresh tasting, mild salsa, with a lot of cilantro.
Make sure that all of your kitchen equipment is very clean before you start.
4 pounds of ripe tomatoes
4 small onions (I personally like the sweet onions, like walla walla, or the young ones you can buy at the farmers market. If you use strong onions, you may want to cut back on the amount)
2 bunches of cilantro, washed and stems cut off
2 jalapenos, washed, stemmed and seeded (if you want it hot, you can leave the seeds in)
4 tablespoon sea salt (The salt is important. It preserves the salsa until the beneficial bacteria can take over)
4 lemons, juiced
1-Start by peeling the tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and drop the tomatoes in, a few at a time, for about 15 seconds. Place either in a bowl of ice water, or run very cold water over in a colander in the sink to stop the cooking process. The skin should peel right off. Stem the tomatoes, cut in half, and then gently squeeze the seeds out into the trash, sink, or small bowl.
2-Fill the food processor about half full, and pulse until the tomatoes are just starting to get into small pieces. It’s important not to completely puree them, because, in my experience, that seems to make it ferment to fast (which you don’t want). Continue until you have done all of the tomatoes. You could also just chop them finely. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl.
3-Next peel your onions, and cut into quarters. Pulse them until finely chopped. (I have overdone the onions a few times, and it was just fine). Add to the bowl
4-Do the same to the cilantro and jalapeno separately, and add to the bowl.
5-Add the lemon juice and salt and mix thoroughly. Now is the time to taste test, and make adjustments if needed.
This post is part of Kitchen Tip Tuesday!