Fermentation Gone Wild: Ketchup and Salsa

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s so-called salsa in a jar in the grocery store. GROSS. The useless sodium-laden, soggy, sugary mess inside is enough to make me run away screaming. I haven’t consumed the stuff in years for that very reason. For me, it’s homemade, restaurant-made, or nothing. And to be honest, I make a smashing raw tomato salsa that I was not interested in improving. Until I saw this recipe.

Going along with my pickling/fermentation vibe this summer, a fermented salsa sounded too interesting to slip by this tomato season. The recipe calls for Roma tomatoes but I got some nice heirlooms so I used those. I roasted up the tomatoes, garlic, onions and peppers (got some mystery hot peppers at the market that were delish). Since putting a piping hot anything into a plastic bag gives me the heebie-jeebies, I put the peppers into a half-pint mason jar and screwed on the lid to let them steam.

After peeling the roasted and steamed peppers with food-safe gloves (we will not repeat the jalapeno contact lens incident) I chopped everything up, mixed in all the other ingredients (I didn’t have a lime so I used lemon for the juice) and put it in one of my trusty quart jars to ferment on the counter for two days.

Ketchup (left) and salsa (right) fermenting away on the counter

I have to admit, I was skeptical. Could any type of salsa really beat my old standby? I was absolutely blown away by the intense flavor of this roasted fermented salsa. It is absolutely delicious (and seems to get hotter as it sits in the fridge, by the way) and I’ve put it on tacos, scrambled eggs and served with guacamole. It really is the bomb. I won’t say that I’ll never make mine again, but I can say with certainty that I’ll be making this again. Too bad canning it would kill the benefits of fermentation. I’m going to miss it this winter!

For my other fermentation project that I got going about the same time, I made some fermented ketchup. I was nervous about this one. Would test subject Bill reject it? Would he freak out? It wouldn’t be the first time.

I used the recipe from Nourishing Traditions for my ketchup. It was a very simple mixture of canned tomato paste, whey, sea salt, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, garlic and fish sauce. I used store-bought fish sauce; haven’t progressed to making my own yet. Yet. Anyway, you just mix everything up and it sits on the counter to ferment for two days. That’s it. So easy.

Home made ketchup and meatballs with a side of sauerkraut!

I was surprised at how much it did, yet didn’t taste like commercial ketchup. It had the sweet and tangy, yet not the…soupy, plastic-y taste I’m used to (if that makes any sense). It’s thicker than store-bought ketchup, which I assume you could thin out with filtered water if you chose to. I left it as it was and thoroughly enjoyed it on some meatballs. Now to make some real-food friendly French fries for this healthy ketchup…

Published by kitchenkungfu

Writer, Toastmaster and tireless champion for the benefits of a ketogenic diet!

5 thoughts on “Fermentation Gone Wild: Ketchup and Salsa

  1. I too have gotten to the point I absolutely hate store bought salsa! Every brand leaves something to be desired and even my favorite is yuck anymore. I miss the fresh stuff I could get all the time in New Mexico.

    But Joanna, let me tell you, you are a goddess and must move to live closer to me at all times. I’m just sayin’! I want a weekend where we just cook and drink wine and Test Subject is not allowed to drive! 😉

    Thanks for another great blog baby!

  2. My sister in law gave me some of her home canned salsa when I was in Iowa. It wasn’t bad and I got her recipe. I think with a few tweaks I can make it my own and have some decent salsa this winter. I’m scheming to do it this weekend.

  3. I have eaten LF salsa from the fridge for months. Easily 4 months, maybe longer. It just seems to get better as it ages. Maybe I am breaking some traditional food law but I haven’t had any trouble. I love the idea of roasting the tomatoes; we’re almost out of the homemade stuff I canned 2 years ago so I need to get on some LF again. I will definitely be trying this out. Thanks!

  4. I recently made two batches of the NT LF salsa and it’s so yummy! I’m not a fan of cilantro, and when I taste tested it fresh, I didn’t like that, but it’s delicious once it’s fermented. One thing that I found is that mojito limes are even better than regular limes. No seeds, and the flavor seems milder yet more intense at the same time. Delish!

    LF ketchup is my next experiment. I’m trying to use up the bottle of HFCS laden ketchup that I bought the week before discovering Real Food, but it’s taking way too long and I want more fermented goodness in my life!

  5. I love tomatoes – great blog! I too dislike store jar salsa. Once you’ve had fresh you can’t go back. Now when I need salsa I either make it myself or buy fresh pico de gallo. I checked out the recipe you mentioned in the blog & it sounds interesting… ~ Lori ~

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