Fermented Salsa (copycat Wildbrine recipe)

I love Wildbrine’s fermented salsa, but when you have your own veggies to preserve, why not?! 

Salsa is a familiar favorite, so fermenting gives a tangy, spicy kick to add depth and excitement to any meal! This fermented salsa recipe is both creamy (due to the tomato paste) and crunchy (due to the veggies, especially cabbage). 

Let’s discuss the safety of fermented salsa, my unique ingredient list and additional fermentation tips and tricks. 

Jar of fermented salsa with chips and dish in background

Just what is fermented salsa?

Fermentation is a natural process where microorganisms, like bacteria or yeast, break down sugars into other compounds, like acids or alcohol, without oxygen. 

These microorganisms consume sugars in food, producing byproducts that alter the taste, texture, and bioavailable nutrients within the tomatoes and other components of the salsa. 

In simpler terms, fermentation transforms ingredients into new, flavorful forms through the action of tiny organisms.

Is it OK to eat fermented salsa?

Yes, if you made your own salsa, with the intent of fermenting, it’s a great way to add more probiotics to your diet! That said, I wouldn’t recommend fermenting a store bought salsa because you don’t know how old the ingredients are, or the salt ratio already present. 

How to make fermented salsa

Making fermented salsa at home is a cinch, and a time saver compared to canning salsa! This recipe uses a dry brine; which means it combines the veggies with salt to create its own brine, no added brine required. 

  1. Chop your veggies. The smaller the chop, the more surface area which means your salsa will ferment faster. 
  2. Mix the ingredients. I like to do this in a bowl, mix well to combine then add salt to your liking. 
  3. Transfer to a fermenting jar; like a ball jar, weck bar or an old pickle jar. 
  4. Press the veggies down with a pickle packer, or cylindrical rolling pin. You do this to create a brine from the veggies. 
  5. Cover with a weight. A great choice is a cabbage leaf and loose fitting top
  6. Place in a clean area, out of direct sunlight and one that is around 68-75 degrees. Monitor and taste starting on day 2 or 3. Continue until you enjoy the flavor your salsa has reached and transfer to the fridge. 
  7. Enjoy for up to 3 weeks. 

Fermented salsa is a great recipe to begin your fermentation journey and it’s a great way to preserve your summer harvest. 

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes: choose clean, unbruised tomatoes. Smaller ones are nice and sweet. If you choose roma or burger tomatoes that aren’t as juicy you may want to add more tomato paste, water or lime juice. 
  • Cabbage: I like green cabbage, but red cabbage works too. Cabbage adds such a great crunch to salsa.
  • Red bell pepper: choose clean, unbruised peppers. If you want more heat choose your favorite pepper. 
  • Cilantro: fresh, fragrant cilantro will totally up your salsa game! It’s a great way to preserve salsa too. 
  • Jalapeño: choose clean, unbruised peppers. To reduce the heat de-seed and remove the ribs of the pepper. 
  • Onion: choose a clean, unbruised onion
  • Garlic: choose a healthy, plump garlic clove
  • Tomato paste: I LOVE this ingredient in salsa, it adds a nice creaminess to the salsa and great color. 
  • Salt: I like Redmond’s real salt, or any unrefined salt is a good choice. Although you can use iodized salt, many will have an anti-caking ingredient that may cause off color or flavors. Also remember that some salt is more coarse than others which will affect the level of salt you taste. 

One of my favorite things about this fermented salsa recipe (okay two…) is that I can use up the plethora of veggies in July and August. Plus, the variety of veggies and herbs means different bacteria that help to nourish your gut microbiome, and diversity of the gut microbiome is king!

Ingredients to make fermented salsa at home

How does fermented salsa taste compared to regular salsa? 

This is a great question. Actually I think starting with fermented salsa is a great start to fermenting because tomatoes are already so acidic. Fermented salsa tastes a bit tangier than traditional, and the flavor becomes more powerful and sour as the days pass. 

What fermentation equipment do I need?

  • Mixing bowl & a chef’s knife (you can use a food processor, but not necessary)
  • Pickle packer, or similar narrow utensil to smash the veggies once cut to help release their juices
  • Fermenting jar and lid
  • Fermenting weight, easy one for this recipe is a remaining cabbage leaf
Ingredients chopped up in dish to make fermented salsa at home with a metal funnel and salt

How long should the salsa ferment?

I suggest starting to taste your salsa after day 2, at which time you may see some juice flowing or bubbles forming. You’ll find a tad of tang on day 3 which will continue to grow the days ahead. The pH on day 3 is about 3.5, which is a safe pH to enjoy your ferments. 

I like my salsa to ferment for 3-4 days, one spoonful will delight your taste buds 🙂 But of course, fermentation time varies based on your preferences, size of veggies and temperature of your storage area. 

How long does fermented salsa last in the fridge?

It’ll last about 3 months in the fridge, with quality ingredients and processing. Of course use your senses to determine when your particular ferment has gone past its prime. And, please don’t eat store bought salsa that’s turned a bit tangy, that just doesn’t seem like a good idea…

Can I pressure can or cook with my fermented salsa?

You sure can, but why? Heat does kill off the probiotics that fermentation creates. “Heat” is generally defined as over around 110 degrees fahrenheit.  I’ve read several studies and this seems to be the most conservative temperature.

That said, dead probiotics aren’t all a waste. They may still have health benefits on our immune system.  

How to enjoy fermented salsa

You can eat fermented salsa however you would eat regular salsa. My favorite ways are:

  • With tortilla chips, of course!
  • Eggs, this combo is a regular in my life…
  • With chicken, in grain bowls or added to beans to jazz them up!
Jar of fermented salsa in my hand

Fermented Salsa (copycat Wildbrine recipe)

Preserve your garden goodies & elevate your salsa game with this homemade fermented salsa recipe! Both creamy + crunchy & probiotic-rich, yum!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Make Ahead, Summertime
Allergen: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Fermentation Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 7kcal

Equipment

  • Chefs Knife
  • Wooden spoon,
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Glass fermentation jar, 1 quart
  • Glass fermentation weight, or cabbage leaf or similar
  • Glass jar top, such as one to a mason jar
  • Funnel, optional

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cabbage, green or red, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped (green works too)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup jalapeño, seeded for a milder flavor
  • 1/4 cup onion, red, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp non iodized, unrefined salt, 2 tsp – 1 tbsp

Instructions

  • Chop all ingredients into small dime sized pieces. Smaller makes the mixture more cohesive (think dipping a chip into the salsa).
  • Add all of the ingredients, except the cilantro, into the mixing bowl. Mix well to combine.
  • Add the cilantro, waiting to add this until some of the mixing is complete reduces the bruising on the delicate leaves.
  • Add 2 teaspoons salt and mix to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, you'll see the salt begin to break down the cell walls of the plants and pull out the liquid.
  • You may want to massage gently with your hands, or pack the mixture into the glass jar and use a pickle packer to mash slightly and force out more water. Otherwise, you may wait and time will do this work too.
  • Once all of the ingredients have been added to your jar, add a pickling weight or cabbage leaf and press firmly to submerge the ingredients under the brine. This is vital for safe fermentation! Add a cap and place on your counter, out of direct sunlight until the flavor you desire is achieved.
  • Once the flavor you want is achieved, move the jar to the refrigerator. Keep in the fridge in a sealed jar for about 3 months.

Notes

  • If the tomatoes aren’t juicy enough, add lime juice or water.
  • If you want veggies softer wait a few more days – a week
  • This fermented salsa tastes great after just two days, if you want more tang hold off for a few more days. The pH after day 3 was 3.5, well within safe limits.

Nutrition

Calories: 7kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 311IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating