Fermentation is something that I’m pretty new to, but that I love experimenting with. It’s pretty simple to get started, and as long as you’re clean and consistent you don’t need any special equipment.
One thing that I have really enjoyed the fruits of fermenting is salsa. It’s very simple to ferment salsa, and you can end up with some particularly tasty results.
In order to ferment salsa, you first need to MAKE some salsa. You can make pretty much any style or type of salsa that you like. I prefer garden fresh salsa with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic. Tomatoes and peppers are going to be your primary fruits to add, then you can add other vegetables and herbs depending on what flavors you like. I will include two recipes below for two salsas that I have successfully fermented.
Once you have chopped up all of your ingredients, you can either leave them chunky (though will likely need to add some more liquid or stew some tomatoes to make some more liquid) or process to your desired thickness in a food processor. I prefer a thin, homogeneous salsa, so I finely puree my ingredients.
It is important to note that most salsa calls for the addition of a decent amount of vinegar. If you want to ferment your salsa, you should add very little to NO vinegar. If you do want to add some vinegar (which can be a good idea when it is very warm in order to slow fermentation), add a raw vinegar like Bragg’s ACV.
Once all ingredients are chopped and mixed, place them in fermentation vessels (mason jars, crocks, old pickle jars, etc.). Burp once or twice daily, and if you don’t want to weigh the ingredients down with a weight (which can be difficult to do with thin salsa), stir at least twice daily. The stirring does two things, it mixes the salsa so that mold can not form, and it introduces wild yeasts to aid in wild fermentation.
Fermentation time can vary from a few days to a few weeks, and even months if you’re ambitious and want to experiment enough. There is really no exact amount of time, just depends on what flavors you like. I prefer shorter ferments so the taste of the veggies is still there, but you get an added tang and further depth of flavors. My two favorite recipes are below:
Garden Fresh Salsa
– 1lb tomatoes (any variety that grows in your garden)
– 1lb peppers (again, any sweet variety)
– 1 onion (I use red onion for this salsa)
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced/pressed
– 2 jalapenos (or similar pepper, more/less depending on what heat you like)
– 2T raw ACV
Chop all ingredients and puree in a food processor until smooth. Dish out into fermentation vessels (for this one I used mason jars with pickle pipe lids) and allow to sit on counter and ferment 7-10 days. Refrigerate or freeze upon completion of fermentation.
Garden Fresh Salsa Verde
– 1lb green tomatoes
– 1.5lb sweet peppers
– 1 white onion
– 2 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
– 6 Tabasco peppers
– 2T raw ACV
– 1T raw, unfiltered honey
Chop all ingredients & puree until smooth. Dish out into fermentation vessels (I used large crocks, sans weights) and allow to sit on counter up to a week, stirring 2x daily. Refrigerate or freeze upon completion. This recipe is great for those end-of-season veggies that you want to harvest before the frost kills them off.
Remember, if you want to can your ferments, the canning process will kill most or all of the beneficial bacteria and probiotics that are alive and well in your ferments. If you are simply fermenting to add taste and depth of flavor, canning will be fine. If you want to preserve the beneficial bacteria, freeze or simply refrigerate your ferments.