I am not canning any of my salsa this year, but don't worry! I'm still putting fresh salsa up. I'm just making this fermented salsa recipe instead! Fermenting is the only form of food preservation that actually increases the nutritional profile of your food.
Why I love Fermenting
One of the beautiful things about fermenting is if you only have a small number of tomatoes for a few jars, say at the end of the season, you don't have to heat up the kitchen or spend a lot of time with canning them.
Fermenting gives you this wonderful array of probiotics and raw nutrients. In its raw form, it provides the added benefit of good bacteria, which is good for your health and gut. Learn more about the health benefits of fermentation here.
What I also love about this recipe is that, through fermentation, the initial bite of raw onions and garlic are minimized, making these two ingredients much more enjoyable in their raw form.
[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”KXjx2PiL” upload-date=”2022-09-14T23:55:17.000Z” name=”Fermented Salsa Recipe.mp4″ description=”Learn how to make fermented salsa to enjoy your fresh garden tomatoes for months to come. Within a few days, you'll be enjoying this delicious salsa recipe.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]
Why Salt is So Important in Fermenting
In canning, salt is optional. For fermenting, salt is necessary. Salt is what inhibits bad bacterial growth while good bacteria can multiply.
It also helps prevent mold growth.
Learn more about the basics of fermenting vegetables here.
How Long Will My Salsa Keep?
You can keep your salsa in cold storage – a refrigerator or a root cellar/basement if kept at 50 degrees or less. For long-term storage, the upper 30s and 40s work best.
It will last for months and even up to a year and a half in the fridge.
Watching for Mold
Most people make the mistake of throwing out perfectly good food when they see anything form on the top of their food.
While mold is terrible, Kahm Yeast is wonderful. Read this post on how to spot kahm yeast here to know the difference between the two.
Everything Worth Preserving
Looking for more fermented recipes? Discover the nine home food preservation methods to safely store delicious food for year-round eating with all of my step-by-step tutorials, recipes, and easy-to-use charts.
Learn everything you need to know about cold storage (aka freezer), water bath/steam canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, freeze-drying, root cellar, infusion, and salt/curing in the new book, Everything Worth Preserving.
Preserve food for a healthy well-stocked pantry & peace of mind, all in one resource.
In this book, you can search for any produce from A-Z and get a list of all the ways to preserve that item, plus recipes! Grab your copy (and FREE bonuses for pre-ordering) here.
Fermented Salsa Recipe
Supplies Needed to Ferment Salsa
- Food processor – this is optional, but it sure speeds up the process.
- Cutting board – to prep the veggies before putting them into the food processor.
- Knife – also for prepping the veggies before putting them into the food processor.
- Two 1 1/2 pint jars (or one pint and one quart jar) – you'll want your jars washed well in hot soapy water, then rinsed completely so no soapy residue remains as this can inhibit the fermenting process.
- Funnel – no one likes to make a mess in the kitchen!
- Fermenting weights – these will help keep the ferment under the liquid of the brine, preventing mold.
- Air Lock Lids – these can be any kind of fermenting lid, whether a Pickle Pro, an airlock lid, or, if you don't have access to these, just a plastic Mason jar lid will work as well. Don't use a two-piece canning lid as the pressure of the ferment can build up and cause the jar to break.
Ingredients Needed for this Fermented Salsa Recipe
- Ten Roma tomatoes – any tomatoes will do, this just happens to be what we had ripe in the garden. You'll want about 1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes for this recipe.
- Onion – Red, yellow, sweet, the choice is yours!
- Bell Pepper – I like adding bell peppers to my salsa. For this fermented salsa, it helps keep some bite to the finished product as vegetables tend to soften up during the fermentation process.
- Jalapeno – if you like spicier, go for the whole jalapeno. I'm only adding half for this recipe. You could also leave the seeds for added heat.
- Garlic – more garlic is always better in my opinion! Scale to your preference.
- Cumin – This gives the salsa that classic Mexican flavor!
- Cilantro – This is optional. I know some people don't care for the flavor of cilantro. Our family loves it, so we'll use it in this recipe.
- Fresh or bottled lime juice – This adds a great flavor after the salsa has fermented. It's optional, but definitely recommended.
- Redmond Red Salt – It may seem like a lot of salt for this recipe, but remember that this is a ferment, and salt is necessary for a safe fermentation.
Fermented Salsa Directions
1. Start by putting the tomatoes into the food processor and pulsing until chopped. You don't want to liquefy them.
2. Pull out any large chunks of tomato and cut them up to your desired size. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl.
3. Put the rest of the vegetables in the food processor and pulse until chopped to your desired consistency.
4. Add the rest of the chopped veggies into the bowl with the tomatoes
5. Add the cumin and mix well.
6. Some people like cilantro, and some don't, so add the cilantro if you choose.
7. Add the optional fresh or bottled lime juice and stir again.
8 And finally, add Redmond Red Salt. I use this salt for everything because it has no iodine, no anti-caking agents, and no other added ingredients.
9. Use a funnel to pour salsa into jars, leaving enough room for the fermentation weight and about a half inch of headspace.
10. Add the fermentation weights into the jars and push the solids well beneath the liquid line. Adjust by adding or removing some of the salsa to ensure you have a half inch of headspace. This will allow for space for the fermenting bubbling to take place.
Bubbling is suitable and means things are happening, but you don't want your salsa to overflow, so leaving a space at the top of the jar helps with this.
11. Add your fermentation lid and let your salsa sit at room temperature for three days. If you're nervous about the liquid spilling out of the top of the jar, you can always set your jars on a plate.
Pro Tip: The warmer the room, the faster your salsa will ferment. Taste your salsa after three days and if it tastes great, move it to long-term cold storage.
You can consolidate your salsa to one jar and use plastic lids to store in the refrigerator. Still, make sure the solid is kept beneath the liquid.
- For Jars Canning Lids – For Jars offers both bulk and regular-sized packages of canning lids in standard and wide-mouth sizes. Use this link and enter code “Modern10” for 5% off your order.
- Denali Canning Lids – Denali offers regular-sized packages of canning lids in standard and wide-mouth sizes. Use this link and enter code “SPENDNSAVE” for 15% off every order of $75 or more.
More Posts You May Enjoy
- Storing Green Tomatoes for Fresh Eating
- Fermented Pickles Recipe
- Kahm Yeast (What, Why & Does it Ruin a Ferment)
- Fermentation for Health Benefits
- How to Store Lemons (For a Year!) – Fermented Lemons
- Ultimate Guide to Fermenting Vegetables
- Fermented Dairy – Why You Should Be Doing This Now
- How to Make Yogurt at Home
- 8 Tips for Strengthening Your Immune System Now
Fermented Salsa Recipe
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes quartered
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 bell pepper quartered
- 1/2 jalapeno sliced
- 7 cloves garlic peeled
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin ground
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped (optional)
- 1/2 Tablespoon lime juice fresh or bottled
- 1 Tablespoon Redmond Real Salt
- Start by putting the tomatoes into the food processor and pulsing until chopped. You don't want to liquefy them.
- Pour tomatoes into a bowl.
- Pull out any large chunks and cut them up to your desired size.
- Put the rest of the vegetables in the food processor and pulse until chopped to desired size.
- Mix them with the tomatoes in the bowl.
- Add the cumin and mix well.
- Add cilantro, if using, and mix well.
- Use salt and mix well.
- Use a funnel to pour salsa into jars.
- Add fermenting weights into the jars to push the solids well beneath the liquid line, and make sure you keep about 1/2 inch free at the top.
- Add airlock lids (if using) and allow to sit at room temperature for three days.
- Let salsa sit for three days, then give it a taste test to see if it's to your desired flavor. Continue to ferment until it's to your liking, transfer to cold storage.
- You can keep your salsa in cold storage – a refrigerator or a root cellar/basement if kept at 50 degrees or less. For long-term storage, the upper 30s and 40s work best.
It will last for months and even up to a year and a half in the fridge.
- Be sure check out my blog post on kahm yeast to make sure you know what to watch for.
What is an air gas lid and where can you get them?
What is an air gas lid and where can I purchase them?
Would you peel your tomatoes if they have thick skins? My tomatoes this year have really thick skins so I’ve peeled them to make sauces.
What kind of lid works if you don’t have the “burping” lids?
You can use a clean tea towel but make sure you leave enough headspace to keep the bubbling liquids from reaching the towel or the fruit flies and such will have a party on top.
Melissa, I dont have lids for fermentatio. Would paper cupcake liners work instead of a tea towel?
Yes, that should work fine
Love your recipes
OMG! Just made this with fresh garden produce. Soooo Delish! I used fresh Basil instead of Cilantro and Chives instead of onion. Soooo good. Can’t wait to try it when fermented!
This salsa is amazing!!! Thank you Melissa for sharing this recipe. My whole family can’t stop eating it!
I LOVE salsa so I made this salsa 3 days ago. I followed the recipe exactly, but I’m afraid to try it because I have seen no activity, no bubbling. its sitting on my kitchen counter at 70 degrees. Do I wait longer?
No, it’s fine at 3 days.
Great flavor, but my husband would like more heat. Is it safe to add a second Jalapeno?
Yes, you should be okay with an extra Jalapeno.
the reason there can be so many questions is the images do not match the narrative in many, too many, cases. The narrative says to add the mix, add a glass weight and leave 1/2 inch of headspace. The image that goes with this shows about an inch and a half. Are we measuring from the surface of the liquid to the rim of the jar? I’m not picking. I’m here to learn and I’m confused
Headspace with ferments isn’t the same as canning. If you look at the jars on the left of the photos (not the ones I’m working on) they’re to a 1/2 inch headspace. Once the weight is in and you’ve pushed down, the liquid fills up towards the top.
I started this salsa (which is phenomenal, by the way!) 4 days ago and I still have not seen any bubbling at all. I can see a liquid separation at the very bottom of the jar. I’m afraid to taste it 🙂 Suggesrions?
It’s fine, just taste it.
yes, My husband and I tried it! It was delicious!!! Thank you so much! Best homemade salsa I have ever tried. And easy to make!
Can this be made with green tomatoes?
I’m going to try this. I’m concerned about the sodium at 1 Tablespoon. What is the minimum amount of salt you recommend to get fermentation? TIA.
The minimum amount is what I recommended, tomatoes and especially peppers are more prone to mold with out the proper salt ratio.
I followed this recipe exactly and it was so salty we could not eat it. Do you have any suggestions?
Did you use the Redmond’s salt and weigh the tomatoes? It will mellow in salt flavor some as it ferments. Ours is barely salty so I’m not sure why you’re experiencing that, as you can tell from the comments above, many have made it and not experienced that I’m thinking something was off in the measurements possibly.
Can I use any salsa recipe to ferment? Can I use canned tomatoes? Can I use pink Himalayan salt? Thanks for your tutorial!
I just had to comment on this recipe. I am always loathe to make my tomatoes into anything to preserve except sauce or whole because both are completely versatile but I realized that I was spending a huge amount of money every year on organic salsa so I decided to climb out of my rut. I used several pint jars for the ferment itself and then combined them afterwards for storage in the fridge. Not only does my family love it but I was teaching a local group on fermenting and it was a huge hit in the taste testing! I’ve enjoyed so many of your recipes over the years but I just had to comment on this one!
Can I use my own salsa recipe and just add the salt? Or is this recipe down to a science?