Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple lacto-fermented salsa

First off, credit where credit is due: Got the recipe for this salsee online somewhere, but I couldn't find it. How's that for credit?? Of course, I did find it here. Aren't you relieved? It seems that many have found the secret to this amazing, healthy, keeps-in-the-fridge-for-months way to preserve summer's garden tomatoes. Without sweating in the heat of canning baths! Here's another recipe from Cheeseslave for you that's very similar to what I did. But I didn't have jalapenos, and I would have definitely used cilantro if I had it. And red or yellow peppers. As you can see, my pantry was low. But that didn't keep me from the salsee!! Nothing can stand between us now.

So I didn't get the food processor in a picture, but you probably know what one of those looks like. Throw a couple tomatoes in (I chopped mine in big chunks), an onion (also in big chunks), and chop it up, whatever consistency you like your salsa (it's hard to keep it chunky if that's how you like it, just warning you). With all my friend's generous tomatoes, I had to do maybe 4 rounds in the Cuisinart. So I divided mine into 2 big bowls, and basically halved fudged the recipe between them.

Warning before I go any further. That was perhaps my first striked out phrase in my entire blogging career of 90 or so posts. Not sure about that. But I am a little happy on the striker finger. Just warning you. And I kind of rebelliously did the opposite or perhaps what I am supposed to do with the striked out part, since the part that remains is reality. But I am a bad liar anyway.

I used a garlic press for the garlic cloves, instead of peeling them. I am too important lazy to peel garlic. Then I used 1/2 lemon per bowl, added maybe 2 Tbsp. sea salt in each one, 1/2 cup plain yogurt in each, and 1/4 cup water because it said to but then I ended up straining them later because they were too watery. I forgot to mention I was also out of cayenne pepper. Isn't this a great experiment recipe?

Somehow I got them into quart jars, I think with my 1/4 cup measure. With much landing on the counters. Now here is the wild part. Over the next 3 days, I would be working in the kitchen, and might move a jar a little, and it would HISS at me. Not a threatening one, but a little "ffff" like someone is making that sound with their lip and their teeth that sounds like a door creaking open...and it wasn't like twilight zone, but I was a little perturbed. Disconcerted. Definitely worried about my first fermentation experiment attempt. Here they are below, not looking very scary at all. Just kinda different. Oh, and I guess I used one quart and one smaller jar, and ate some of the fresh salsa for supper and put it in a quart jar later. Clearly I made sure I was doing it in the most confusing way possible, just to keep you on your toes.

Later I learned that I probably should have filled a baggie with water to "weigh down" the salsa and make sure it is immersed in the water the whole time (oh well, can't win 'em all). And you are supposed to stir them every so often, so I would have to open them up, and kind of plug my nose in my head (kind of like when you cringe when you're about to hear a loud noise, but with your nose). And stir and close again real quick. "Is this really working?" I would wonder. "Did I just ruin all of M's lovely tomates??" Sometimes I would just try not to look at them and forget they were there. But then they would hiss.

Twilight Zone version of the fermenting salsa

When it came time to face strain them, it really wasn't bad at all. I said, "Guys, I hate to stop your wild fermenting party, but I really think it's time to call it enough bacteria already. I know you're good and all, but I can't take too much of a good thing." Or something like that--stay very sensitive to the salsa and you'll have better results.

"No one understands me."
The smell when I popped them open (again with the hissing) was pretty normal, actually. And I decided there was too much liquid in there, so I strained that, but saved it because I figured it was valuable probiotic juice (later I made tomato soup with it and some more donated tomatoes). And here's what straining them looked like:

"Yes, I'm plastic and I have feelings too."

Yes, I'm proud aware that it's a plastic tupperware thing. But it fit my strainer really well. And then I microwaved it all and leeched plastic into it and killed all the good  bacteria. The end.

Haha, no really, here is the finished salsa scooped into new quart whatever-that-smaller-size-is-called jars:

"See, we're not so bad."

At least they are in the fridge now, where they seem to fit in better. And they aren't too high and mighty to hang out next to the Aldi salsa. 

"Hey, brow. Sorry you're not lacto-fermented like us."

Such a happy family combination of fermented and cheapo salsees.

Oh, and it is good! Would be better with cilantro and cayenne or jalapeno peppers, since judging by the Aldi brand I like it medium and this is definitely mild. I also, like Pioneer Woman, love that it does not have vinegar in it. Salsa need not have vinegar. Just lacto-fermenting goodness.

One other thing, for those out there who HATE to throw out food because it's past the expiration date? Anyone? Well, this SHOULD keep for months. And it's a great, simple way to get rid of enjoy your plentiful tomatoes. But please, do yours more carefully than me. I am a little bit too adventurous rebellious to be posting recipes.

This was my first attempt at a "link up," so if it doesn't work, go check out the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop at GNOWFLGINS!


  1. Love it! I've been intimidated to try lacto-fermenting, great tutorial, maybe I'll have to give it a try!

  2. Oh my stinking goodness!!! This was so wonderful and laugh-out-loud good grief! I can't wait to try it. Wonder if it would work on all the green tomatoes I seem to be growing this year. Excellent strike outs and photos and instructions. Love.


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