We love salsa! Salsa has the important role of creating a first impression on a first visit to a new Mexican restaurant. It is one of several elements which combine to form our opinions of the establishment (the margaritas are another important criteria). Cilantro is an ingredient I like to see in a salsa. I have had many good salsas without it but cilantro has a way of waking up an otherwise ordinary salsa.
When I make salsa at home I always include cilantro. In fact, I will add it to store-bought salsa when I open a new jar. Unfortunately the tender herb has a very short refrigerator life and thus shortens the life of the entire dish. I therefore tend to make salsa in small batches and not as frequently as I would like.
The idea of making a fermented salsa was appealing because it should remain fresh for more than just a few days in the refrigerator. After a little research I decided to not follow any specific recipe but to use a formula which has worked well for me regarding the proper amount of sea salt for the amount of vegetable used. A ratio of 2% salt (by weight) creates an environment which lactobacillus bacteria thrive in and which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
These are the ingredients I used in my first experimental batch of fermented salsa:
hot red peppers
I don’t usually use whey to introduce bacteria into my ferments since lactobacillus bacteria is naturally present on vegetables anyway. I thought I would give it a little boost to hasten the process and shorten fermentation time.
I spooned the salsa into mason jars and shut them in a cupboard to do their thing for a few days to a week. I usually resist the temptation to check on progress by tasting every day or so but this time I am not feeling very patient. Did I mention that I really like salsa?