When your tomato garden finally takes off and throws a bundle of ripe tomatoes at you, it’s time to try the fermented salsa recipe in Nourishing Traditions! At least, that’s what I figured.
The tomatoes were threatening to start rotting (I had been trying to get around to it for over a week), so I gathered all the ones that looked like they couldn’t stand another day on the vine (and my one pepper that had ripened). This happened to be enough for two whole quarts of salsa. I was really only hoping for one quart, just to try the recipe you know, but oh, well.
I actually used Cheeseslave’s Fermented Salsa recipe, which is similar to the one in Nourishing Traditions on page 103. I didn’t follow it exactly, but pretty close. The only thing is I assumed her “1 TSP” of sea salt was a typo, because in the book and another recipe on a website, one tablespoon is recommended. I wanted to make sure it was preserved properly, so I used a tablespoon per quart, but it turned out too salty for my taste. 😦
First matter of business was to boil some water and dip the tomatoes in for about ten seconds. The very ripe tomatoes split easily in the water (if they don’t split, you can cut a slit with a knife after they’ve cooled). I allowed tomatoes to cool while I dealt with the other ingredients.
I de-seeded the jalapeno pepper (and wore plastic produce bags on my hands as I was warned of getting burns). I saved the seeds to plant next year, but hubby threw them away because he was being helpful. *sigh*
I juiced the lemons and coarsely chopped the onion and cilantro, peeled and crushed the garlic. (I didn’t end up using that red pepper in the picture above). I put the jalapeno in the food processor first and pulsed it a bit because I didn’t want any big pepper chunks (would have done this with the garlic, too, had I thought of it soon enough). I put the other ingredients in the processor then dealt with the tomatoes.
Tomatoes were peeled and de-seeded. My method for de-seeding depended on the variety of tomato (I have about three varieties here), but essentially, I would figure out where the seed pocket was, cut a slit, and gently squeeze or scrape them out. Then I removed the stems, and coarsely cut up the tomatoes, and put in processor.
I added in the lemon juice, salt and whey, and pulsed until I got a consistency I liked. Then the salsa (which smelled wonderful, by the way) fit perfectly into two quart-sized mason jars, leaving about an inch of space below the top. I put them on the counter and left for two days.
For some reason there was some separation, as you can see in the picture. Harmless, I’m sure. I tried some with a chip and thought it was too salty. So I put some in my little guy’s scrambled eggs. He said he liked it but only ate about half his eggs, so I’m not sure. He still wanted ketchup on the side. Ah, well. Maybe next time I will try less salt, but I’m not a big salsa person anyway. This was more for hubby and son. I do want to try it on a taco salad, though.
Oh, and in case you are wondering why I would ferment salsa, it’s because fermenting increases enzyme and vitamin content, and adds probiotics that are important for good digestion (the enzymes are important for digestion, too). Nourishing Traditions recommends consuming cultured/fermented foods or beverages with every meal.