Lacto-fermented vegetables were one of the first cultured foods I dabbled in. It seemed intimidating at first, that I could put some fresh vegetables in a jar, cover them with a brine (or just add salt), and once fermented they would keep for months. It seemed too good to be true, frankly. But then we made delicious, crunchy, preserved pickles without a boiling water bath canner on a 90 degree day and I was sold. Lacto-fermented vegetables are the oldest version of preserved vegetables, right alongside dehydrated vegetables. They can be made so simply with just vegetables and salt, or you can jazz them up with various flavors and spices. The science involved in this process will preserve your vegetables, but the art of it is so simple that you’ll be making them over and over again. I’ll be honest, I’m really drawn to the art side of lacto-fermentation – it gives me wiggle room, which is why no two batches of our ferments are ever the same. This salsa recipe is no different. This is one take on lacto-fermented salsa, but I’ve made it a dozen different ways with whatever tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, citrus, and salt we happen to have… or not. This particular batch of salsa turned out tangy and refreshing with just a hint of spice – perfect for dipping, adding to salads, and topping tacos.
SIMPLE LACTO-FERMENTED SALSA
EquipmentFor this batch of salsa I used:
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- 1 half-gallon fermented vegetable master
- cutting board & knife
- 12 small-medium tomatoes
- 1.5 cup chopped bell peppers
- 12 green onions
- 3/4 cup minced cilantro
- juice of 1 lemon
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2.5 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 jalapeno, seeded
- Dice tomatoes, peppers, green onions, garlic, and cilantro. Combine the vegetables with the lemon juice, salt, and red pepper flakes or jalapeno in a medium bowl. Mix well, taste and add salt or more pepper if desired.
- Transfer to a half-gallon fermenting jar. If using a simple mason jar, add weight to keep vegetables submerged. These glass weights work well. Be sure to “burp” jars daily to release pent up gas. If using an airlock system, follow directions on filling the airlock with water and fastening it to the jar.
- Cover tightly and allow to ferment 2-6 days, depending on temperature. Transfer to cold storage, removing from airlock jar if needed.