Green tomato fermented salsa 

If you have never fermented before, this is a great introduction to how to do your own ferments. You will effectively be making a live condiment that will add a probiotic element to any naughty food that might accompany it. 😉??? Through fermentation, you will be using the natural occurring lacto-acid bacteria (LAB) in the vegetables to preserve them and create their funky acidity and flavour. LAB will eat away the sugars on the vegetables and create two byproducts, lacto acid and CO2. This process will make the salsa probiotic and great for your gut health, replenishing your system with good microbes. This is a really short ferment, as tomatoes have inherently lots of sugar and will quickly become very active.

In the UK, it is hard to come across really sweet tomatoes, which would be ideal for salsa. When you are fermenting tomatoes, it is good to have them on the side unripe and firm, as they can be extremely active and lose their texture quite quickly otherwise. Keep an eye out for organic cherry tomatoes in the discount bin of your supermarket – if you find some, use them in a big batch of this salsa to keep in the fridge! I love it with my beans, but I am happy to use it as side or a condiment on everything else.

Ingredients
Method

As a rule of thumb, when you do a lacto-acid fermentation, you want to create an anaerobic environment and you will do that by making a salty brine. LAB thrives in the absence of oxygen and in salty conditions, when other bacteria will not – if you give LAB (??) the right conditions, it will colonise the ferment and lower its Ph, which will destroy other microbes and make it safe for consumption.

Chop your vegetables and weigh them. With ferments, the safe measure of salt to use is 2%, however, in this case, as we are dealing with tomatoes, which have a lot of water in them, you could go up to 4%. As you mix the salt with your vegetables, add the lemon juice. It will immediately start draining moisture out. Leave it aside for 5 minutes before the next step.

You will then pack all your veg and brine tightly in your jar. You want to get rid of any air pockets by pushing everything neatly against the glass. The salt and moisture from the vegetable will create a brine that should cover all your vegetables. Usually, you would need a weight to guarantee that all vegetables are submerged. I usually use my discarded lemon to create a lid over the contents, before closing the jar. Leave it out on the side for 2-3 days before using it. The salsa should be delicious even before, but that will make it funky and probiotic . . . Keep it in the fridge after.

As mentioned before, one of the byproducts of fermentation is CO2, which means that your ferment will produce gas. If you are using a clip-top jar that is easy enough, as the gas will escape through the seal. If you are not, do not worry – you will just need to “burp” the jar, meaning you will have to release the jar manually by opening the lid slightly and closing it back again.

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