Condiments and Sauces/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Fermented Tomato Salsa

08/05/2024

Get ready for the taste explosion that is fermented tomato salsa. We eat this on everything, and once you start, we guarantee you won’t stop. A beginner friendly ferment that’s ready in 2 days!

A small blue patterned bowl filled with bright red tomato salsa.

Why We Love This

Fermented tomato salsa is our favourite recipe over summer. It’s just so simple to prep with minimal hands-on time, and quite quick (for a ferment). It’s ready in two days in warm weather before throwing it in the fridge. Done!

We eat it like bruschetta and throw it on a piece of toast, pop it on our rice bowls, serve it as a side salad or topped on tacos or burritos. It’s super versatile!

Related: Magic Self-Saucing Salad / Quick Greek Salad

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A close up showing the bubbles formed once the salsa is fermented.

Fermented tomato salsa – the answer to your tomato glut

This is one condiment that packs an absolute flavour punch. It’s moorish in the way that you want any excuse to be able to eat it again, and again, and again!

The best part is being able to use up all your tomatoes if you grow them, or take advantage of cheap tomatoes if they’re in season! Because it’s a ferment, you don’t have to worry about trying to use the tomatoes as fresh produce, but instead be able to use it when you need.

A lot of salsas ferment with the herbs (such as coriander) in it, but we love to add it in fresh after. That way, the base flavours are a little more neutral to use in a broader amount of dishes. Also, if you don’t like coriander, it’s a win-win for you!

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Tomatoes – We love using cherry tomatoes as they’re quicker to chop and pack a punchier flavour. Find vine ripened or home grown if you can. Sub with any tomato if you need to use them up! PS. The fresher the tomatoes, the better for this. Save your older tomatoes for homemade pasta sauce.
  • Onion – White onion is our go to in this recipe, but red onion or shallot will work just as well.
  • Garlic – If you can make sure you use fresh garlic – here’s where most of the flavour comes in. It just melts wonderfully with the tomato, so if you’re a garlic fan, you’re going to enjoy this – a lot!
  • Lime – Here comes the zing! Sub with lemon or vinegar if you need, but the lime really gives it the fresh flavour you’re looking for.
  • Chilli Powder – We love using Korean gochugaru for our chilli powder. It’s all about that touch of heat, so feel free to sub with chilli flakes, regular chilli powder or even experiment with chipotle or smoked paprika.
  • Salt – You want non-iodised salt for fermenting – this is important. Iodised salt impedes the growth of good bacteria, so we use a coarse sea salt in ours.
Ingredients laid out to make fermented tomato salsa.

Let’s make fermented salsa – step-by-step!

Jump to Recipe

  1. Pop your diced cherry tomatoesoniongarliclime juicesea salt and Korean gochugaru / chilli powder into a large bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Spoon into a large glass jar, then push down with your hand or spoon to make sure everything is under liquid as best as possible.
  3. Place the lid on tight and pop on your benchtop for 2 days / 48 hours. You should start to see bubbles after a day, depending on the weather (warmer = quicker). You can burp the jar at the halfway mark by opening the lid and closing it tight again to release any pressure (there shouldn’t be much though).
  4. Once bubbly (around 48 hours, weather depending), get it in the fridge and enjoy for up to a month or two!

Quick Tips

  • Submerge! – For a successful salsa, keep everything submerged. Really push down on the tomatoes to get that liquid covering everything. This stops spoilage and bad bacteria growth during the ferment stage. If you’re still unsure, you can use ferment weights or a folded cabbage leaf on top (like in our red cabbage sauerkraut) to prevent mould growth.
  • Sterilise – No need for fancy equipment in this ferment. We use old peach or olive jars that have gone through the dishwasher. A clean jar is a huge key to ferment success!
  • Food Processer – To cut even more prep time – use a food processer to chop everything. Pulse lightly for a chunky salsa, or really blend it if you want it smoother.
  • Extra Flavours – Here’s some ideas for optional extras:
    1 capsicum / bell pepper, chopped
    ¼ cup coriander / cilantro, chopped
    1 tbsp chipotle adobo
    Sub ¼ of the tomatoes for green unripe tomatoes for extra tang

Storage

Keep on the bench while fermenting, then in the fridge with the lid on tight for up to 1-2 months. At any signs of spoilage, toss immediately.

FAQs & Troubleshooting

Why do you seal the jar in this ferment?

This is a quick ferment (around 2 days), so unlike other ferments which may use cheesecloths so it can “breathe”, we don’t want oxygen getting in this one.

So once salsa is in the jar – keep that lid shut. We only undo it slightly to “burp” the jar after one day, then screw it back up. The lid is also kept on tight in the fridge.

All the ways we enjoy fermented salsa

  • Straight out the jar! We like to scoop it into little bowls and serve as a mini side salad with dinner.
  • Top it on sour cream and guacamole then dip those corn chips in!
  • Stuff it into tacos, burritos or anything that calls for salsa. We pop it in our mini Mexican cob loaf dips!
  • Serve as a cheat’s bruschetta. Great on crusty toasted bread for a quick lunch.
  • Add it as a pizza topping.
A large jar half filled with fermented tomato salsa.
Tomato salsa in a bowl garnished with coriander.

Fermented Tomato Salsa

Get ready for the taste explosion that is fermented tomato salsa. We eat this on everything, and once you start, we guarantee you won’t stop. A beginner friendly ferment that’s ready in 2 days!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Fermenting Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 15 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American, Australian
Servings: 1 Jar
Calories: 161kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • 1 Large glass jar min. 750 g / 1.65 lb, clean and sterilised

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pop your 500 g cherry tomatoes, 1 onion, 3 tsp garlic, 2 tbsp lime juice, ¾ tbsp sea salt and 1 tsp Korean hot pepper flakes / gochugaru into a large bowl and toss to combine.
  • Spoon into a large glass jar, then push down with your hand or spoon to make sure everything is under liquid as best as possible.
  • Place the lid on tight and pop on your benchtop for 2 days / 48 hours. You should start to see bubbles after a day, depending on the weather (warmer = quicker).
    You can burp the jar at the halfway mark by opening the lid and closing it tight again to release any pressure (there shouldn’t be much though).
  • Once bubbly (around 48 hours, weather depending), get it in the fridge and enjoy for up to a month or two!

Video

YouTube video

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Fermented Tomato Salsa
Amount per Serving
Calories
161
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.2
g
1
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.4
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.1
g
Sodium
 
5327
mg
232
%
Potassium
 
1362
mg
39
%
Carbohydrates
 
37
g
12
%
Fiber
 
6
g
25
%
Sugar
 
18
g
20
%
Protein
 
7
g
14
%
Vitamin A
 
3056
IU
61
%
Vitamin C
 
134
mg
162
%
Calcium
 
111
mg
11
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Fermented Tomato Salsa
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2 Comments

  • Reply
    LucretiaBorgia
    08/05/2024 at 4:31 pm

    5 stars
    With summer behind us, just wondering if you could sub canned tomatoes for fresh or have they been too processed to work…

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      08/05/2024 at 4:59 pm

      Hello! You’ll want fresh for this, as you’re right – anything cooked or processed and the ferment won’t be able to grow the right bacteria. Keep an eye out – we’ve seen some good prices on end of season truss tomatoes, beautifully red at our local market from all this extra sunshine and lack of rain recently – you might be lucky in your area too!

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