Lacto-fermentation is a traditional preservation method that has been used for thousands of years. It relies on the activity of lactobacilli, bacteria that are present on the surface of all living things. The lactobacilli convert the starches and sugars in fruits and vegetables to lactic acid, thereby preserving the food. Lacto-fermentation is a process that is ongoing, so once you have the flavor you want, refrigeration is required to slow the fermentation. A root cellar (or any space that stays around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) will do as well. For more information on Lacto-fermentation, I highly suggest reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.
This Lacto-fermented Salsa will blow your mind! I have kept jars in the fridge for months, and the flavor is still as amazing as the day I made it. The Onions and Peppers keep their “crunchiness” too, which is really what makes this recipe a winner in my book!
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions:
Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts
4 medium Tomatoes, cut in half and seeded
2 small Onions, coarsely chopped
3/4 c. Chile Peppers, coarsely chopped (hot or mild)
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded
8 cloves of Garlic, peeled
1 bunch Cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. dried Oregano
juice of 2 Lemons
1 Tb. Sea Salt
1/4 c. Whey (from strained yogurt) or an additional 1 Tb. Sea Salt
1/4 c. Filtered Water
Add Tomatoes to a blender or food processor and pulse until chopped.
Add Onions, and pulse again.
Add Peppers, Garlic, Cilantro, and Lemon Juice and pulse until well mixed.
Add remaining ingredients and continue to pulse until well mixed.
Place salsa in two 1 quart canning jars, mashing vegetables down to ensure they are covered by the liquid.
Make sure the vegetables are at least one inch below the top of the jar to prevent leaking.
Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for approximately 2 days.
Be sure to loosen the lids and “burp” the jars periodically during fermentation to prevent leaking (tighten lid back when you’re finished).
Transfer the Salsa to cold storage.