Lacto-Fermented Fresh Vegetable Salsa
1/2 Cup Whey, or Juice From Sauerkraut or Another Lacto-Ferment (Whey will produce the most consistent and predictable results.)
1 Lemon, juiced
1 Lime, juiced
1/2 Pound Vegetables: Any Mixture You Like, I Do a Couple Jalapenos, Radishes, Carrot, Celery and Bell Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic
2 1/2 Pounds Tomatoes with stem removed and diced
2 Tbsp. Natural Salt
1/2 Cup Cilantro, Finely chopped by hand
1. Pour whey, lemon and lime juice into a blender. I like to put a small mesh strainer over the blender to catch the seeds and squeeze juice right into blender.
2. Put 1/2 pound very roughly chopped vegetables, as well as the onion and garlic in the blender with the whey.
3. Pulse until finely diced.
4. Place contents from blender into a large bowl.
5. Remove the stem from the tomatoes and weigh them to ensure they are 2 1/2 pounds.
Dice the tomatoes and add to the vegetable mixture in the bowl. You can dice the tomatoes by hand, gently pulse in the bender to chop, or use this. (See notes below.)
6. Chop the cilantro.
7. Add cilantro and salt to mixture.
8. Stir and ladle into two quart jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.
9. Put a lid on the jar and place on the counter at room temperature. You will need to burp the jar once, or twice a day to release pressure. To do this, slightly loosen the lid to let off gas and re-tighten.
10. I usually ferment for this for 2-3 days in the summer and 3-4 days in the winter. Then store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
I really like the Vidalia Chop Wizard for dicing tomatoes and even peppers if you want it more chunky. Do not get another brand! I have tried several other brands and they do not work well.
You do need a scale for this recipe, because it's important to keep the vegetables and tomatoes in the same ratios to insure there is enough brine to produce a healthy ferment.
I actually prefer the flavor of this after it has been in the fridge for a week. It often tastes too salty at first, but that mellows with time.
I usually double it. As long as I go to the trouble of making it, I might as well make a big batch.
It is a bit more liquidy than some people might prefer. However, this is necessary to supply enough brine to cover the vegetables allowing them to sucessfully ferment.
You can play around with different types of vegetables, and even spices, herbs, but keep vegetable and tomato ratio the same. One time I accidentally put too many vegetables in. Because there wasn't enough brine, my ferment molded and not just surface mold that can be discarded.
This salsa is a perfect background for adding additional ingredients to change it up, after it has fermented. Try beans and corn, or mango and pineapple. It's wonderful mixed in with a mashed avocado for a quick quacamole. Mix it in with a little yogurt or kefir for a quick Mexican style dressing, or a little cultured cream cheese for a dip.
I make this very mild because my kiddos don't like spicy, but go ahead and add more jalapenos if you like; just figure it into the 1/2 pound total of vegetables.