Fermented Salsa is more rightly referred to as Pickled Salsa. It not only more accurately describes what it is, it causes fewer raised eyebrows among the tea-totaling element, which is important in my family!
Pickled Salsa it is! It ends up like Salsa Fresca, or Pico de Gallo, with a quirky difference – the result of the pickled tomatoes.
You can make it using pretty much any salsa recipe. The key is to get about 1 tsp of salt per quart of finished salsa stirred into it. As with all pickled items, salt, and dunking the food, is the magic that gets the job done right.
So… the basic recipe includes:
- Chopped tomatoes – they can be skinned and seeded, or not. Your choice.
- Chopped onions
- Chopped bell pepper – green, red, yellow, purple, whatever you can get.
- Chopped jalapeno, anaheim, habanero, or other types of hot peppers
- Cilantro – fresh, or dried, chopped
You can balance the proportions however you like. The one thing that makes it great pickled salsa is to make sure that tomatoes make up no more than 1/3 of the bulk of the salsa.
On the batch pictured I used 4 tomatoes, 2 onions, 3 large bell peppers, 2 large jalapenos, a couple tablespoons of dried cilantro (really you put it in until it looks right to you), and of course, the salt. It really would have been better with only three tomatoes instead of four, and some red bell pepper – but you work with what you have.
I capped and cored the jalapenos, and tossed them in the blender with 1 whole cored tomato, and ran that until it was completely liquid – I really didn’t want chunks of jalapeno, because I am recovering from intestinal disease, and need to be careful about pieces of hot pepper. This also had the happy consequence of saving me from having to touch the jalapenos with my hands while chopping them.
The rest of the veggies were chopped and mixed together with the liquid and the salt. At this point I had a really nice fresh salsa.
The salsa goes into the jar. I use a half gallon Ball mason jar, with a Fermenta Dunk Extender, and Dunker (I use more than one dunker) and I put on a Wide Mouth Fermenta Lock Cap.
The second day, the salsa begins to smell a little alcoholic (sampled during this phase, it will be zingy, with alcoholic bubbles). The Fermenta Lock lets the gasses out, and as it does, the valve becomes lightly scented with the smell of the salsa. But you can open it and smell it if you want also – Salsa is not so fussy that it can’t stand being opened to check the progress with your nose. I would not recommend digging around in it until after the third day though!
About the fourth day, the alcoholic smell subsides, and it smells like… Salsa! The tomatoes have a distinctive pickled aroma, which is either acceptable and interesting, or completely vomitous to some people. This is one reason why you need to be sure to not use too many tomatoes in the salsa. Interestingly, it is only at this point that you really start to see fermentation bubbles to any great extent. Salsa does not bubble as much early on as some foods, in part because it starts out higher in acid.
It is usable at this point, but is so much better if it pickles somewhat longer. This particular combination made a medium heat salsa. A single jalapeno would make mild salsa, and no jalapenos would make a no-heat salsa.
After about a week, the salsa goes in the fridge, where it continues to mature.
The onions and peppers in this stay crisp and crunchy. It works well both as a condiment straight from the bottle and onto foods, and as a seasoning in cooked foods, added while the food is cooking.
If the pickled tomato smell makes you gasp or gag, and want to run for the bathroom, try making salsa using red peppers instead of the tomatoes. Salsa is wonderfully flexible stuff, you can juggle the ingredients around all you like, make it with what you just happen to have, or leave out what you can’t stand. It isn’t like running a company where it has to be the same all the time. Give yourself permission to just go with what you’ve got.
The ORIGINAL one-way valve fermenting airlock! Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and we have noticed that our product has been copied by other sellers of fermenting products. Remember, if you see someone else selling a one-way valve airlock for fermenting, THEY copied US, not the other way around! Fermenta Lock is still the only original invention, handmade in the US. If it isn't orange, it isn't the original!
We invented Fermenta Lock, Fermenta Free, and the valve used for Fermenta Fido and other Fermenta Airlock products. We invented Fermenta Dunk Extender. Patents are prohibitively expensive, and designed by the government not to protect the rights of individuals, but to provide another source of revenue and control for the government and lawyers. We are good at what we do. We have endless ideas and endless creativity, and competition does not scare us. Impatient thieves do not scare us - they are too busy taking shortcuts to make a success of it anyway, and they won't want to take the effort to actually MAKE a product and fill orders.
So if you want to copy our idea, go right ahead. If you want to market and sell a competing product, you are welcome to do so, as long as you do not patent our idea - we had it first, and our posts on FaceBook announcing the invention and launch of it will prove that. This idea is officially in the public domain, placed there by us. We will NOT release supply sources, or part names unless you want to buy them - we'll be happy to sell you an instruction kit. If you buy our product, or look at the images and figure it out for yourself, good on you. Compete with us if you like, just don't screw us, and we'll get along just fine. Big companies who might want to screw us may have more money, and more lawyers than we do, but we have more to gain by suing the pants off a big company, and believe me, we will be well motivated to do so if anyone patents our idea and claims it as their own - this is a free idea. Everybody now owns it.
Published June 23, 2012
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