Tomato Salsa

This tomato salsa is fresh, sweet-sour, and tastes best within 2 months. After that, it can become slightly too acidic and a bit slimy (but still edible). This is a great way to use unripe and semi-ripe tomatoes towards the end of the season. Do not use overly ripe tomatoes for this recipe, as they are sweeter and can result in a fermentation dominated by yeast, leading to excessive bubbliness. I use a starter culture here.


20 liters chopped green and semi-ripe tomatoes
2,8kg onion
500g garlic
3 stalks celery
2 handfuls of green shiso leaf*
a jar of fermented green chili (for flavor and starter culture)**
5 medium-spicy red chilies
5 st hot lemon yellow chili
250g salt (1 – 3%)

*Can be substituted with coriander, parsley, or basil. **Alternatively, a little brine from something lacto-fermented or a few lacto-fermented garlic cloves from another jar.

Here’s how to make it:

Finely chop the tomatoes, onions, and herbs, and finely mince the garlic and chili. Mix all the ingredients together, place a weight or plate on top if using a fermentation vessel. Put on the lid and fill the airlock.
Let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 days, then move it to a cool place. It is ready to be jarred after a week in the cold, but it’s good to eat from day 1. I find that this tomato salsa is best within 2 months.

Eat it as a dip, in a burrito, as a sallad or on roasted bread as a cool bruschetta.

Home kitchen version

400 g semi-ripe to green tomatoes
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 celery stalk
a bit of shiso
1 chili
lite brine from something fermented.
1 heaped tsp salt

Lacto-ferment directly in a jar with a screw or airtight lid, and release the pressure a few times during the first few days, if its too carbonated for your liking, give it a stir every now and then to release more gas.

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