Fermented Tomato Salsa is always a favorite around here. The original recipe, which I got from Nourished Kitchen calls for hot peppers: a mix of jalapeños and serranos. We’re not so big on spicy foods, so I make it with bell peppers and sometimes add just a bit of cayenne pepper, but you can use either, or a combination, to get the degree of spiciness you enjoy.
For me the challenge with taking a pickling recipe and making it in my own kitchen was always figuring out the quantities. Firstly, there’s the issue of metric measure vs. Imperial. The original tomato salsa recipe I used called for a 1 gallon crock and I wanted to make ¾ of a liter (about 4/5 of a quart). I was stumped on how to calculate the number of tomatoes to use. And anyway, vegetable sizes varies greatly.
I figured out a method that works for me. I cut the vegetables and place them in a bowl. I’ll cut a few tomatoes, then a couple of peppers, an onion, some garlic, back to the tomatoes, repeat with the peppers until I think I have the right quantity to fill my pickling jar. Then I transfer it to the jar to check and measure it. If I still need significantly more, I’ll transfer it back to the bowl, add a little of all the ingredients, and transfer it back. I play with it until I get it right.
The important thing to remember is you don’t have to be exact. A little more pepper, a little less onion, it still tastes good.
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Start to finish: Up to 5 days.
- For a 3/4 liter (4/5 quart) jar
- 4 tomatoes (you can use soft ones)
- 2 bell peppers (or comparable quantity of jalapeños and serranos)
- 5 finely sliced garlic cloves
- fresh oregano (optional)
- 2 tsp. cumin powder
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 ½ – 2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 onion
- Chop the tomatoes and peppers and put them in a large bowl. Note: if you use hot peppers, wear gloves and take necessary precautions.
- Add the oregano, cumin and salt, and mix.
- Chop and add the onions. I leave them till last to minimize crying.
- When you think you have enough vegetables to fill your pickling jar, transfer a few tablespoons of the mixture at a time.
- Now start mashing. The vegetables must release their juices so they can become submerged in their own liquid. To mash them I use a narrow jar, but you can use anything that fits. If you prefer, you can mash the veggies in the bowl before you transfer them to the jar.
- When the solids are submerged, close your jar and let the salsa start to do its magic (i.e. let it sit around and ferment) for 3 – 5 days. You can open the jar while it’s fermenting – it won’t stop the process. It doesn’t have to be firmly closed, but it can be.
Tip: You don’t have to fill the jar right up to the top.
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