Over the past 2 years, I have been (slowly) taking baby-sized steps towered a more tradition food diet, as described in the book- Nourishing Traditions. Many of the “changes” have come easily. Cutting out the overly refined, packaged and processed foods just made sense. I didn’t have a problem switching over to healthier fats and cooking oils, and soaking my grains, though it took a little more fore-thought, wasn’t all that hard or crazy sounding…but the thought of fermenting something sounded, well, scary! But guess what? I was so wrong! It is soooo EASY!
No, really! It IS!
But first, What is it?
Lacto-Fermentaion is a traditional form of preservation, used by our ancestors before modern methods (such as canning) existed. Not only is it a great way to preserve food, but it actually enhances it’s nutritional value, and offers a wonderful source of probiotics. As a fellow blogger explained it so well;
Lacto-fermentation is the process of cultivating lactic acid as a natural preservative to prevent putrefication. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted to lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid producing bacteria. It has multiple health benefits as described by Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions:
“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”
I have discovered that is is a simple, easy, and worthwhile means of adding wonderful vitamins, enzymes, and especially probiotics to your diet.
This recipe is delicious! Even my hubby agrees! (and that’s saying something, because he is quite particular about his salsa ;)) I love that there is no cooking, or water bathing. With two little ones at my feet- I can handle this! 🙂
(makes 1/2 gallon)
3 lbs of Tomatoes (about 6 cups), washed and quartered
1 large onion, quartered (I have used yellow or purple)
6 cloves of garlic, pealed
1 large red, yellow, or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper
1/2 C. fresh cilantro
1/2 C. Whey **
Juice of one Lemon (2-3 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp Sea Salt (This will be very salty, but salt is needed for proper preservation)
1/2 C. *filtered* water
**To “make” whey- Strain yogurt though multiple layers of cheese cloth OR a thin tea towel. Tie up the 4 corners of the cloth around a wooden spoon, and rest the spoon over a bowl, so the yogurt is hanging over the bowl. You will get a yellowish liquid dripping from the yogurt- This liquid is whey! 😀 Let hang until it stops dripping (maybe 30 min?). The left-over yogurt is often referred to as “yogurt-cheese”. Use it just as you would cream cheese. (BTW- One quart of yogurt gave me enough whey to make 2 gallons of salsa)
1. Wash and dry all jars and lids with hot soapy water. I like to use half-gallon size mason jars, rather than quarts as they waist less space in my refrigerator.
2. In large food processor; Pulse onion, garlic, peppers, and cilantro until fine. Add tomatoes, 1/3 at a time, pulsing after each addition until they are evenly diced.
3. Pour contents of food processor into a bowl. Stir in whey, salt, and lemon juice.
4. Ladle into clean jars, and add just enough water to submerge the salsa. Cover tightly with lid.
5. Leave on counter top for 2-3 days, until bubbly. During that time it may separate a bit. Just mix it back up. Transfer to cold storage (ie; cold root cellar, or refrigerator). Should keep for 3 – 6 months!