Fermented vegetables are considered to be one of the three essential fermented foods for optimal health. The other top two fermented foods are the popular drink kombucha and milk kefir. All cultures have historically consumed various fermented foods as part of their eating traditions, knowing that these foods enhanced health.
Fermented salsa is a delicious, easy way to obtain the health benefits of fermented vegetables. Other popular American fermented vegetables include fermented cucumbers (pickles), along with sauerkraut. The benefits of fermenting vegetables is long term storage, improved digestibility and increased nutrients. Salsa once opened can usually only be kept for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. In contrast, fermented salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Culturing vegetables is relatively simple to do. Fermentation of vegetables occurs when good bacteria lactobacilli, found naturally in vegetables, converts the starches and sugars of the vegetables into lactic acid, a natural preservative which prevents the growth of bad bacteria, but enhances the growth of powerful probiotics. This fermentation process is called lacto-fermentation. Lacto-fermentation assists with digestion of foods and unlocks additional nutrients in foods, such as vitamin C.
Healthy gut bacteria or probiotics are largely missing from todays’ highly processed foods, contributing to a tremendous increase in digestive and gut health problems. Adding probiotics naturally in fermented foods is a wonderful way to enhance health.
After experimenting with several fermented salsa recipes, I came up with the one below. It is great with veggies or chips, or with home made tacos. See Taco Salad for an easy home made recipe. I usually make large batches at a time since it stores so well in the fridge, and we consume it rather quickly. You may adjust the recipe to desired taste and size.
Fermented Salsa Recipe
- 4 cups chopped organic tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, parsley, cumin (1/4 tsp. seeds and 1/4 tsp. powder), cilantro
- 1tsp. oregano
- 1 chopped onion
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- Juice from 2 lemons
- half gallon glass jar, jar lid or plastic wrap
- Prepare ingredients above and mix together in a large 1/2 gallon glass jar
- Cover jar with lid or airtight plastic wrap
- Let sit out at room temperature for 2 days
- Store in refrigerator up to 3 months
Notes: I often triple this recipe and place in gallon size glass container. You can make as much as you like to suit your preferences and appetite.
Sources for this article:
Fallon, Sally, Nourishing Traditions, New Trends Publishing; Washington, DC, 2001
Schwenk, Donna, Cultured Food for Life, Hay House Inc.; Publisher, 2013
Written by Michelle, Holistic Health to Go