DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
As mid summer approaches many of us here on the West Coast will start to see our beautiful tomatoes start to ripen! 'Tis a happy moment when I go out to my backyard and pick a plump, juicy, sweet n' delicious tomato right off the vine! That's summertime right there.
I have to admit that sometimes it can be difficult keeping up with the production of certain plants especially if its a bumper crop. I suspect that I'm going to have a lot of tomatoes this season so I'm going to have to get creative which is always a good challenge. I figure besides eating tomatoes off the plant, Salsa's a good place to start...not just any salsa my friends. I'm talkin' Lacto-fermented Salsa!
Some of you may know that I LOVE to ferment food...cuz...why not! There's so many benefits to this ancient practice of food preservation that I can't help but want to take part in this seemingly magical process. SO...here are a few (6) reasons why I think it's a GREAT idea to perk up your salsa with a bit of lacto-fermentation!
6 reasons to ferment your salsa
1 - Flavour:
If you want to visit flavour country then ferment your salsa! The process of fermentation elevates and transforms many aspects of food and one of them is flavour. Fermenting salsa brings out the flavour of all the individual vegetables increasing the sweetness, adding tang as well as texture. If you leave your salsa a bit chunky you might find that the peppers become a bit crunchier!
2 - Extends life of your Salsa:
When I make salsa it's usually too much and unless eaten within a few days it will go off because as we know...food does eventually perish :(
Through the process of lacto-fermentation we can extend the life of food. THANK YOU DEAR ANCESTORS! They were onto something. The process of fermentation was most likely borne out of necessity because back then there just wasn't any refrigeration!
A jar of lacto-fermented salsa will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 months or longer. Your nose will tell you!
3 - Increases Nutrient Values:
Fermented foods are excellent sources of bio-available and absorbable vitamins like vitamins B, C & K. Fermentation preserves and elevates nutrients in foods breaking them down into a form that's much easier to digest and absorb. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C....but when we ferment tomatoes, the vitamin C levels become much higher.
4 - Supports Digestion:
Consuming a variety of fermented food & drink can offer a wider and more diverse range of gut microbes than you could ever get from a probiotic pill. Studies have shown that the bacteria in fermented foods are more likely to survive in the digestive system than bacteria from a probiotic pill. Balanced gut flora will promote a strong & healthy digestive system preventing & healing dis-ease such as heartburn, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, IBS and allergies. Lacto-fermented foods are high in beneficial probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus
5 - Supports Immunity:
A healthy gut plays a major role in the health of our immune system since 80% of our immunity is located in the gut where we produce beneficial micro-flora and antibodies which supports digestion and immune function
6 - Detoxifying:
Fermented food & beverages have excellent capabilities to draw out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals from the body.
7 - Here's a freebie!
Not much is required to ferment. It will cost you pennies a day to consume small amounts of these life giving substance. We use less packaging and our dependence on the industrial food system decreases
Easy Lacto-Fermented Salsa
Tomatoes are high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which scavenges cancer causing free radicals
4-6 fresh tomatoes, halved
Small red onion, diced
1-2 sweet bell peppers, diced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2-3 Tbsp fresh whey (strain yogurt or any cultured dairy product to collect whey)
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin powder (optional)
Juice of lemon & lime
Chop all veggies or place in a food processor to find a consistency you like.
Add whey, lemon, lime and salt to veggies in a bowl. Mix well.
(to collect whey, place 1-2 cups of plain yogurt into a fine mesh strainer with a bowl underneath. Let sit for 4 hours to overnight. The liquid that's collected in the bowl is whey. The texture of the yogurt will become thicker, like a Greek style yogurt.)
Pack salsa into clean jars placing lids on top. Place on a counter in your kitchen.Burp jars daily to release carbon dioxide build up.Taste your salsa. Fermentation process can take 12 hours -2 days depending on how tangy you like it!
Once you like the flavour place in the refrigerator or in a cold cellar. Serve with tacos, eggs, tortilla chips, meat, veggies, cheese & crackers, grains or marinade for a probiotic boost!
Fermented salsa will last for months!
One of my great joys in life is cooking! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) & food lover I continue to explore the balance between healthy, traditional food preparation and tasty dishes.
Check out my new COOKBOOK! Planting Seeds of Nourishment with over 40 whole-foods based recipes and tons of nutrition info!