My mum and dad both come from quite large families, so for Christmas the grandparents draw everyone’s names out of a hat, and each person buys one present and gets given one present. This year Mr Omnivore and I have drawn my grandpa, two uncles and my 17-year-old (male) cousin. Which is unfortunate because, even though I love them, men are so much more difficult to buy for than women.
Lacto-fermented (or pickled) salsa is not a traditional gift, but it’s one of Mr Omnivore’s favourite things, so came to mind when I was racking my brains for gift ideas. This salsa is spicy and tangy, and makes a great accompaniment to Mexican food, meat or anything else really (we eat it on almost everything).
Lacto-fermentation is a simple way of preserving vegetables, which involves good bacteria converting the starches and sugars of fruits and veggies into lactic acid. Some other examples include sauerkraut and kimchi.
Aside from being tasty, this salsa is very good for you as it’s rich in probiotics. This has been especially relevant for us lately because Mr Omnivore has been on antibiotics for almost a month, with all of his surgeries and hospital visits.
I originally got the recipe from nourishing days and have adapted it over time to suit my tastes. The original recipe uses whey to inoculate the mixture with good bacteria, but I use some of the leftover brine from making lacto-fermented pickles, which does the same job. If you don’t have any brine available, you can get some whey by straining yogurt.
Ingredients (makes around 6-7 small jars)
1 red onion
2 sweet peppers (red or yellow)
6 garlic cloves
3/4 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
1.25kg (2.75lb) ripe tomatoes
2 chillis or 1 tsp chilli flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp non-iodised salt
1/2 cup brine from lacto-fermented pickles (or whey from straining yogurt)
Core the peppers, and chop the onion, peppers and tomatoes roughly. Place the onion, peppers, garlic, coriander and chilli in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (3-4 times).
Add about half of the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse another 2-3 times, then add the remaining half and pulse again until coarsely chopped.
Add lemon juice, salt and brine (or whey).
Wash jars with warm soapy water. Spoon the salsa mixture into each jar and leave a small amount of room at the top and close the lid tightly. Leave jars at room temperature for around 3-5 days, until the mixture becomes fizzy, sour and not so salty.
Transfer jars to the fridge and enjoy. The jars should keep for at least a couple of months in the fridge.
For other homemade gift ideas, check out: