Fermented tomatoes and tomato salsa

30 March 2018
I interrupt my normal broadcasting schedule to bring you a bonus post. If you've found your way over here from Rhonda's blog I'd just like to say hi and extend a very warm welcome. I hope you enjoy perusing my little space on the interwebs.

I generally post Tuesday, Thursday and once over the weekend, but as I knew there might be a few new readers coming over I thought I'd put up something new. Also, I thought an extra post to check out over the long weekend might be welcome to those with a little time on their hands. And speaking of time - I wanted to put up this post before all the tomatoes disappeared so that if you get inspired you still have time to give it a go.

The bulk of my tomato preserving is straight up in the bottles as I talked about earlier this week, however I also like to put up salsa, sauces and chutney if I can source enough tomatoes. I have dreams of one day being able to grow enough for all my preserving needs but alas I'm not there yet so I just source them from the markets or independent fruit & veg shops as I need. But I digress...

I've been intrigued by fermenting tomato salsa. Ever since my success with cucumbers I've wanted to start trying out other veg to see what I like and what gets eaten. So this week when I saw bags of tomatoes at a good price I thought I'd have a little dabble.

After a lot measured amount of researching recipes and how to guides I was ready to start.

Ingredients washed and ready to go.

For my batch I used about 6 tomatoes, half an onion, 1 green capsicum, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 chillies, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds and 3 teaspoons of salt. How much you use will depend on the size of your jar and the ratio of the ingredients you want. There is no right or wrong. I obviously went for a more tomato dominant salsa but you could add more onion or capsicum if you like. If you want a hot and spicy salsa feel free to add more chillies. You could also use fresh coriander leaves but I just had seed on hand so went with that. The only ingredient you want to be careful about changing is the salt - you need a certain amount of salt to get the right mix of bugs in your ferment to do the things you want and stop the things you don't want.

Colourful layers in the jar.

I decided to chop my ingredients up and layer in the jar but you could mix in a bowl and then stuff in - whatever works for you. Once you've got it all in the jar give it a good squish down with the back of a fork. This pushes the solid bits down and lets the liquid float to the top. You want to make sure all the 'bits' are submerged under the liquid. If your tomatoes haven't produced enough liquid top up with some water or lemon juice if you want a bit of a zing (you could even add this in the mix either way).

After a good 'squishing'.

And that's it. Now you just need to place your jar in a spot on the bench where it wont get disturbed and is out of direct sunlight. Cover with a cloth or lid on top loosely to allow gasses to escape and keep things out. I generally leave my ferments on the bench for 3 days and then pop in the fridge, but it's really up to you and your own taste. The great thing about ferments is you can just taste them each day until you are happy with the flavour, just use a clean spoon each time to avoid contamination. As an aside I think one of the biggest benefits of making things yourself is the ability to tailor things to what you like and what's available. Once ready pop in the fridge. Most of the info suggested the salsa would keep well for up to six months.

After 3 days - you can see bubbles around the edge and a couple in the middle, the liquid is a little cloudy and nothing 'suspect'growing on top - fermenting win!

While I was going I decided to have a go at fermenting a jar of whole tomatoes, and because I had it on hand I popped in some capsicum too. For flavours in this batch I added a clove of garlic chopped and a teaspoon of fennel seeds. I did need to weigh these down a little to keep the tops of the tomatoes submerged. I generally use a circle of plastic that I've cut up from a container lid as It's flexible enough to get under the jar rim but easy to remove.

Whole tomatoes and capsicums ready for the bench treatment.

I've popped both these ferments in the fridge today after a sneaky taste test. Delish. I look forward to using the salsa to add a bit of a lift to Mexican dishes through winter. I think the other veg is likely to end up on a few lunchtime platters.

I think I can safely say that I will be adding both these fermented tomato goodies to my  preserving list for next year. And, if I spy any further well priced bags of tomatoes before the season ends I might just snap them up and put away a few more jars. I think I need a preserving fridge.....

Have you been preserving much as summer winds down?
Ever tried fermented tomatoes or salsa?


  1. Laura I currently have two bottles of sauerkraut fermenting on the bebch. I used a big red cabbage this time. I only hope I have a bit of help getting through it all as I made more than I expected :-)

    1. Send any extras down this way if you need! I love homemade sauerkraut.

  2. Hi Laura,

    I have no idea what fermented tomatoes or salsa would even taste like. Does the salsa end up tasting just like the regular preserve? It looks so easy, I think I'm going to give it a try this weekend anyway. It could become a fave!

    1. Mine is so far tasting quite different. Not as 'zesty' as a normal salsa and with that sour note from the ferment. But it still has great fresh flavours. I can see this being an addition rather than a replacement. Hope your batch turned out well.

    2. I thought I'd pop back to let you know how mine went, and it's delicious! I had no capsicum to hand or coriander leaf so just went with the chilli and seeds. I also left it fermenting for about 5 days, I think, and it fizzed like mad, but is very calm now in the fridge. So far, I've been drizzling it over avocado but I'm sure there'll be plenty of other things for which I'll reach for it!

  3. Wow Laura I like the sound of the fermented salsa very much. I am definitely giving this one a go.

    1. Nice one Jane, I look forward to hearing how it turns out. I've got mexican on the menu this week to give mine its debut.

  4. Hi Laura, I'm so happy to read about a new way of processing some of our tomato glut. The cellar is full of all the usuals, but this is something that looks so easy and I'll give it a try tomorrow. At the end of the season when the remaining tomatoes on the vines won't ripen, and it's time to pull the plants out to make space for the winter veges, I always ferment the green tomatoes using a recipe given to me by an Italian friend. Red tomatoes and the other bits and pieces added will be so good. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'll be interested to see how you go Sally. It was definitely an easy way to preserve. And my few test tastes from the jar have been very enjoyable.
      I made a batch of green tomato chutney with some gifted ones from a friend but I think I will add green tomato ferment to the 'recipes to try list' for next year. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Hi Laura, congratulations on your blog. Your passion for good, simple food really shines through. Your preserves look so fresh and delicious!

    1. Thanks Kelly, that's such a lovely comment. Yes my passion probably borders on obsession at times but it serves me well - we've all got to eat right?

  6. Ooh, goody, I am going to try this - I haven't seen this kind of ferment before.. thanks:)


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