I named this blog experimentingaswegrow for good reason.
When I told Stan I was planning to make fermented salsa with last season’s tomato crop (waiting patiently in my neighbour’s basement freezer) he raised his eyebrows. “What’s wrong with good ol’ fashioned canned salsa?” he asked. It’s a fair question, but my answer has more to do with why I’m interested in the fermented variety:
- Fermenting preserves food with less energy and labour than canning, or refrigeration
- Fermented food is alive; canned food is boiled to death. When healthy bacteria is allowed to grow it produces lactic acid–a natural preservative that improves digestibility and vitamin absorption. Almost every traditional culture around the globe incorporates fermented food into their diet (kimchi, chicha, sauerkraut,etc.)
- Fermented salsa tastes like fresh salsa
The fourth bullet point, which deserves its own paragraph, is creativity. I find it outright impossible to follow a recipe. I’ve made an earnest effort to heed exact measurements and ingredients on numerous occasions, but I always end up slipping in an extra teaspoon of spice, a little more butter, a little less sugar… Despite inconsistent results and longer prep times (tasting, adding, re-tasting, and adjusting, takes way more time than simply following instructions) I am hopelessly incurable. I call it Recipe Defiance Disorder.
In that sense, fermented salsa is right up my alley; it doesn’t require exact measurements (unlike canning). You simply make up a fresh salsa, throw it into jars, let it ferment, and then store in a cool spot. It sounds so simple, it’s hard to believe I spent hours reading books and researching online until I was confident enough to give it a try.
There are many different recipes online so I won’t add more to the cloud, except for outlining the basics:
- Chop up fresh salsa ingredients (I used frozen tomatoes. They are easy to peel if left in a bowl of hot water for a few moments)
- Add salt – the salt keeps unwanted bacteria from proliferating before the lactobacilli culture kicks in.
- Add whey – You can make your own whey by straining some natural, full-fat yogurt.
- Pour salsa into clean jars and let it sit at room temp. for a few days. Store salsa in a cool place.
Here are some pictures from the process:
… I wondered (for a moment) if I should wait to post this until I open a perfectly aged jar of salsa… but I’m too impatient. Ahh, so much for writing with the voice of authority. Check back in two months for an update!
Speaking of updates, if any of you are lying awake at night wondering how my cowl turned out, you can now rest peacefully:
Are others of you preoccupied with Susanna’s herbal ear oil and lymphatic massage? We continue to faithfully administer both to her, every night. Her hearing still isn’t perfect, but she has not suffered another ear infection (it must be the garlic and oregano!) and her ears are finally starting to pop, indicating movement and drainage (it must be the calendula and massage!)