Why not try a probiotic spin on America’s favorite condiment? Fermenting salsa gives it a tangy taste and a bubbly mouth feel. It’s as easy as making fresh salsa, then jarring it up and letting it sit at room temperature for a few days.
The acidity of salsa (tomatoes have an average pH of ~4.5, lime or lemon juice has pH of ~2, making fresh salsa around 3.5 pH) means it’s already safe to leave out at room temperature, even before fermentation has begun. Fermentation will further acidify the dish. (Any dish below pH of 4.6 is hostile towards pathogenic microbes and is considered safe.)
There are a lot of different fermentation devices you could add to the top of the mason jar. For this very short recipe (no more than 3 days), I prefer to tightly seal the jar. When doing this method, be SURE you burp it daily to release the natural pressure which builds up during fermentation. Carbon dioxide is created during the fermentation process, and needs to be released.
- 1 to 1½ lbs tomatoes, very ripe
- ½ medium stone fruit like a peach, nectarine, apricot or plum, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- ¼ cup bell pepper, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, raw
- ¼ cup cilantro, diced
- ½ lemon or lime, juiced
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce) OR 1 jalapeño pepper (pickled or fresh)
- 1½ teaspoons brine from fermented pickles, sauerkraut or any fermented dish
- Dice peach, onion, and bell pepper into a uniform size (1/4 inch). Add to a one-quart mason jar.
- Chop the cilantro (first removing the leaves from the stems). Add to jar.
- Chop tomatoes into different size pieces (which adds textures to the salsa). Pulse some roughly chopped pieces in a food processor; leave other pieces larger. Add to jar.
- Juice the lemon or lime into jar.
- Peel then grate the garlic cloves using a microplane or zester.
- Add pickle brine, if using. (I have had great success without it, but if you've got some, it helps give a "kick start" to the good bacteria).
- Top and then dice the jalapeño or chipotle peppers, and add to jar. If using jalapeno, remove the seeds and membrane from the flesh for less hot, or leave in for more hot salsa.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Leave at least 1 inch from the top of the jar.
- Cover tightly with the lid and ring.
- Check and burp the jar daily to release pressure.
- Leave in a warm spot for 2-3 days.
- You should see bubbles form in this time. Taste after 48 hours (it will be bubbly and TANGY!) and move to the refrigerator when you like how it tastes. Secure with lid.
- Contents may separate from liquid. Stir before using.