Fermented Garden Salsa

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 Stonger ($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. Chop onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, and tomatoes and combine in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, salt, and cayenne and mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon. 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. Transfer salsa to 2 quart-size jars or 1 half-gallon jar with lids. Use a fermentation weight (ceramic or glass disks used for fermenting can be purchased) to weigh vegetables down. Cover tightly with a lid and place in a warm spot to ferment for 1 to 2 weeks, burping jars twice daily for the first week.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 ingredients from the garden when they are at their peak gives this salsa its flavor. 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: 
Per serving: 28 Calories, 1 g Protein, 6 g Carbohydrates, 1 g Fiber, 277 mg Sodium, ★★★★★ Vitamin C, Vitamin K