How To Make Fermented Salsa

how to make fermented salsa How To Make Fermented Salsa

Now that we are just on the verge of Tomato and Pepper season, I wanted to share this recipe for cultured salsa. Fermenting salsa is an easy way to make it last longer without canning and it adds a probiotic boost.

We eat and drink a lot of fermented foods, from Water Kefir Soda to Sauerkraut, and fermented salsa is definitely one of the easiest ways to get the benefits of fermented foods in your diet.

If done properly, fermented salsa will last months in the fridge or in cold storage and get more probiotics with age.

Fermented Salsa Ingredients

  • 2.5-3 lbs of tomatoes of choice
  • 1-2 onions
  • 4 (or more) cloves of minced garlic
  • Fresh Cilantro to taste (I use 1/2 cup or more)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 TBSP sea salt or celtic salt
  • Spices to taste (I use oregano, pepper, cumin, chili, and cayenne)
  • Peppers (sweet or spicy.. I use cayenne and habanero but sweet peppers work great too if you don’t like spicy!)
  • 1/2 cup whey (make your own!)

How to Make Fermented Salsa

  1. Chop tomatoes, peppers, onion and cilantro and mince garlic. If you have a food processor, your could definitely use it to speed up this step!
  2. Toss all ingredients into large bowl
  3. Add the juice of the lemon and lime
  4. Add salt and spices to taste
  5. Add whey and stir well to incorporate.
  6. Pour into quart of half gallon size mason jars and cap tightly.
  7. Leave on the counter for approximately 2 days.
  8. Transfer to fridge or cold storage (oh, I wish I had a cellar or basement!)

Will last up to 8 months (that’s the longest I’ve tested!) if kept cold, flavor will intensify slightly over time. I find it actually tastes best after a couple weeks in the fridge to let flavors mingle a little more.

A Fast and Easy Tip

If you don’t have the time or ingredients to make your own salsa, you can get the benefits of fermented salsa by fermenting store bought salsa as well. If possible, use the fresh made salsas in the refrigerated section, but you can ferment canned versions also.

Is your kitchen a small scale chemistry lab like mine? Do jars of foods in various stages of fermentation clutter your counter as they do mine? What’s your favorite?

Reader Comments

  1. says

    I walked into my kitchen yesterday and it smelled like apple cider vinegar (from the kombucha brewing on the counter) and sour milk (cheese cloth dangling from my cabinet with clabbered milk dripping whey into a bowl below). I had to light a candle because I’m still acquiring these smells.
    Looks like I have a new recipe to try with my newly made whey once my garden starts producing :) 

  2. Emily says

    I’m moving into a new place with a basement soon…might have to try this! Salsa is one of my favorite foods–it’s so versatile, and this looks like a great way to keep fresh salsa for Ohio winters!

  3. Veronica says

    My husband used to call the forgotten leftovers in the fridge my “science experiments”.  He doesn’t know what to think now.  Water kefir on one side of the kitchen, kombucha on the other side….  Now I need to make some whey to try this recipe.  :) We live in Texas so salsa is consumed year round!!

    • says

      You can use liquid from fermented Sauerkraut to start it. or whey from soy yogurt. I make my own soy yogurt, so easy and fermented soy is really good for you. This whey has the bacteria that you need. It must be live sourkraut or kimchee and not pasturized.

    • Blaxer says

      Do you know exactly what you are sensitive to in dairy? Is it the lactose, casein, or whey in cow’s milk?
      Unfortunately, if you have a casein sensitivity, it is hard (near impossible) to get whey without casein coming through.
      Most people who have sensitivties to cow’s milk can do goat’s milk. There is some conflicting info on goat milk whey proteins, although it isn’t clearly known why. So, you could make your own whey from goat’s milk and try that.
      I DO know that my functional medicine MD told me that after going off all dairy for a while (1 yr to 18mos.) that I could try whey and use it if I could tolerate it.
      But, if you are battling candida, you do not (yet) want to incorporate fermented foods. Again, going off fermented foods (1yr. to 18mos.) as well as carbs, sugars, etc.
      If you try the goat’s milk whey, I would love to know how it went for you.
      Otherwise, I would try the extra salt.

  4. Hope says

    excellent idea especially on the buying ready made store salsa and adding whey…
    i am trying to do my own kraut now…woooo, stinky! doing only sea salt and cabbage.

    • says

      The natural bacteria is already on the cabbage and other vegies if you don’t cook them. There will be many kinds of good bacteria. The sea salt is only there to keep any mold from growing and protects the good bacteria from being invaded by bad. There will be yeasts present too naturally. It will bubble away for a few weeks and create kind of a vinegar that helps preserve things even more. When it is as you like, good to bottle it and refrigerate and it will keep then a long time.

      We used to keep our brine pickled veggies and fruits in the basement (cellar) over winter as it was not heated. Everyone did that to keep fruits and veggies over the winter on Canadian farms and many now do it because they love it although using vinegar now is cheap and quicker but doesn’t taste the same. Strangely there are soil bacteria present in the ferment that also give benefit to the body. Keep some of the liquid always to use as a starter for the next batch. You can a bit of this to any ferment to increase the types of good bacteria. A good book on this by Sandor Katz

  5. Monica says

    I don’t have access to whey, can water kefir be used instead? Also can I use parsely instead of cilantro? Looks like a good recipe!

      • says

        I’ve actually been told that whey or kombucha would work to ferment because it produces the same lactic acid that ferments.  It’s not the beginning bacteria, but the end result.  I’m giving fermented salsa a shot with my water kefir.  It has worked in baking to replace whey or milk kefir, so I imagine it will work well!

  6. Daynajaderdelhey says

    Good Morning, I have 3 orange trees bursting with fruit and I have been searching high and low for a natural, healthy, sugar free version of Orange Marmalade. Any suggestions???? Thanks

  7. Hilda says

    there r many tomatoes gng slightly over ripe or more in the markets..can I specially use them to make this fermented salsa?

  8. Ali B. says

    I really love this idea as I am currently making my own cream cheese and also tzatziki sauce so I’ll a lot of whey handy.  I am very new to this way of eating, so I have maybe a silly question.  If you don’t do grains – what do you dip in your salsa??  

  9. jackie says

    can you just put everything in a blender? that’s usually how i make salsa. it’s more liquidy but it’s still yummy.

  10. Kristy Kelley says

    Question for you: I plan on growing tomatoes this summer and making TONS of fermented salsa but for this winter I’d like to ferment the jarred salsa. I don’t have any whey around my kitchen. My question is….can I purchase whey at a health foods store to keep in the fridge to use for this purpose? Or do I need to buy store-bought yogurt and make my own? Sorry for my ignorance…new to this! :)

  11. says

    Sandor Katz eats savory vegetable sour dough pancakes almost every day, and he regularly makes sauerkraut, yogurt and kefir. He says eating and preparing fermented foods has become a staple of his life. “At certain times my kitchen looks like a mad scientist zone.”

    His new book The Art Of Fermentation is a massive tome that could seem overwhelming to a novice, but he stresses that the basic process of fermentation is really very simple.

    Many of his books available Amazon or at your library [url=http://indianapublicmedia.org/eartheats/fermentation-sandro-katz/] click[/url]

    See him on Youtube [url=https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Sandor+Katz+&oq=Sandor+Katz+&gs_l=youtube.12..0l3.2902.2902.0.7012.1.1.0.0.0.0.61.61.1.1.0...0.0...1ac.2.c-0sKeT99-A]click[/url]

    • says

      I’d always ask your doc, but I make it a point to consume a lot of fermented foods while pregnant since baby inherits gut bacteria from mom during delivery so good gut bacteria is important!

  12. Kate Muker says

    I made this and have a few questions… it tastes a bit sour is that normal with fermented salsa? I’ve never tried it before. The other question is that I used whey concentrate 1/2 a cup of powder is that the right quantity for the powdered concentrate.

    • says

      A little sour is normal, but I”ve never used powdered, just the homemade whey drained from organic yogurt. Is it like a protein powder? If so, I don’t know if that will work, but I woudn’t think so…

  13. paizley says

    My house always smells like “something’s going bad” but it’s the fermentation at work. Fermenting daikon is particularly stinky. LOL Yes, there are weird jars of things sitting on my counter and in the fridge. I like to ferment just tomatoes and hot peppers (Thai chilis are my favorite right now). When ready, if I want salsa, I add some fresh cilantro, scallions, fresh lime juice and serve. Otherwise I eat as is with a some squeezes of lime and some black pepper. Versatile. So healthy and DARN, my batch won’t be ready for 2 more days!!! Everyone enjoy!

  14. Jody C says

    This sounds simple and delish. Could you ferment the salsa with just sea salt and leave it out on the counter a little longer as you would sauerkraut?

    • Angie Poole says

      Yes, I don’t add whey to my salsa. I move it to the fridge after 2 days still and then let it sit there for a while to ferment slowly, but my brother-in-law ferments his for a few weeks at room temp.

  15. Jandan says

    How do you know when your salsa is “done”? I have two jars on my counter that I made yesterday and was wondering when they need to go into the refrigerator. Thanks for all the great recipes! I used hatch chili peppers, which are in season right now in Texas, in my salsa.

  16. Sam says

    I made some fermented salsa last night :)
    But today it is just sitting – nothing happening yet – when should I start to see it fermenting – i.e.., bubbles etc.????
    I made my own whey just by filtering the liquid from plain organic yogurt…..so it should be helping jumpstart the fermentation shouldn’t it?

  17. Emily Thomas says

    Hi there, just made a similar salsa…accidentally put too much whey, will that be a problem? And do all the veggies need to stay submerged somehow, or is it ok if they float?

  18. Sarah Johnston says

    I have a couple of questions I plan on making some Fermented Salsa in the near future I was wondering Can I add Bell peppers to the recipe would it mess it up? Also Instead of using Whey since I do not have any I am going to use Sea Salt. The Sea Salt I have on hand is HAIN pure foods Seal salt will this work?

    • Layla says

      I am no expert at this, but I would think that adding the bell peppers would be fine. If the peppers are optional, then seems like bell peppers would be optional as well. Depending on how much you add, it might take it longer to ferment though.

  19. Tricia says

    I’m trying this for the first time tonight. How much whey would I use for one mason jar? Are the lemon & lime juice necessary, or just for taste? Thanks!

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