Fermented Garden Salsa

Fresh Flavors and Tangy Enzymes
A tortilla chip dipped in a jar of fermented garden salsa
Prep Time: 
1 to 2 weeks fermentation time
Number of Servings: 
Makes 2 quarts (Serves 16)
Recipe Source: 
Traditionally Fermented Foods by Shannon Stronger ($21.95, Page Street Publishing, 2017)


  • 1 large red or yellow onion, or a large bunch of green onions
  • 3 small bell peppers, trimmed and cored
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 12 cup cilantro leaves, packed
  • 2 12 lb Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp sea salt
  • 14 to 12 tsp cayenne powder


  1. Prepare Salsa:
    1. Chop onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, and tomatoes and combine in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Add lemon juice, salt, and cayenne and mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon.
    3. Taste salsa for heat and salt.
      • Add more cayenne or salt if salsa tastes bland.
      • It should taste just a little bit salty; the flavor will mellow through the fermentation period.
  2. Prepare to ferment:
    1. Transfer salsa to 2 quart-size jars or 1 half-gallon jar with lids.
    2. Use a fermentation weight (ceramic or glass disks used for fermenting can be purchased) to weigh vegetables down.
    3. Cover tightly with a lid.
  3. Fermentation:
    1. Place in a warm spot to ferment for 1 to 2 weeks.
    2. Burp jars twice daily for the first week. To do so:
      1. Carefully and quickly open jar, listen for release of gas.
      2. Close jar back up with just a bit of the gases still remaining inside.

    During this period, pieces of the vegetables will release a fair amount of juice and separate a bit.

    You can give salsa a quick stir and add more weights to further submerge vegetables.

  1. Once salsa is tangy, bubbly, and well-fermented, transfer to cold storage (root cellar, basement, or unheated room), or use within 2 to 4 weeks.


  • For those who love the fresh flavors of pico de gallo, this is your salsa, combining fresh garden ingredients at their peak.
  • Fermenting this salsa lends gives it an undeniable punch. It is tangy, refreshing, and highly enzymatic.
  • Feel free to use whatever produce you might have on hand for this one. Just don’t skimp on the onions, cilantro, and garlic!
  • Storage time is 2 to 6 weeks at room temperature, or 2 to 6 months refrigerated.
Nutrition Info: 
28 Calories, 1 g Protein, 6 g Carbohydrates, 1 g Fiber, 277 mg Sodium, ★★★★★ Vitamin C, Vitamin K


Shannon Stronger

Shannon Stonger is the founder of Nourishing Days and a writer for Cultures for Health. She holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry. Shannon and her family have lived on an off-grid homestead since 2011. She lives in Santa Anna, Texas.