You ask, I deliver. Here you go, Matt! From Nourishing Traditions:
Makes 1 qt
-4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
-2 small onions, chopped
-3/4 c. chopped chile, jalapeno, or milder pepper (seeded)
-6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or pressed
-1 bunch cilantro
-1 tsp. dried oregano (or a good T or two of fresh)
-juice of 1-2 lemons
-1 T. sea salt
-4 T. whey or 1 extra T salt
-1/4 c. filtered water
For small scale recipes like this, it’s not really that big of a deal to just peel the tomatoes with a paring knife. If you do a search on how to peel tomatoes you’ll see a lot of advice about boiling water, and dipping the tomatoes first in the boiling water, then in the cold water. It’s true; the skins practically peel themselves off when you do this. I’d only bother with making that many pans dirty if I was making 10 qts of salsa, not one. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.
Anyway, mix all ingredients and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Press down lightly until the juice rises up; if there is not enough liquid to cover the vegetables then add a little water. The top of the vegetables/liquid should be about an inch below the top of the jar. Cover and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to the fridge.
A note about timing: that “2 days” is a very subjective figure. It depends on a number of factors. If you use the whey, this process goes very quickly. If you don’t, it takes a little longer. The temperature of your kitchen is also a factor. This took 2 days in our kitchen, but we used whey.
How do you know when it’s done? Taste it every single day. Twice a day if it’s really warm in your kitchen. Open it up, press the vegetables down, and give them a taste. When it tastes really good, it’s done. As you can see, there is pretty much no way to get this wrong.
If you use the no whey-extra salt method you’ll know it’s done when it starts to taste less salty.
I don’t know that I’d let this one go too long… probably better slightly fermented than sour-kraut-level fermented.
Variations: endless. You could leave out any of the spices if you don’t like them. You could use lime juice instead of lemon. You could use 2 giant tomatoes instead of 4 medium. I doubled the recipe and used up 4 giant brandywine tomatoes.
UPDATE, 10/12/2009: We had a recent batch of salsa that we let ferment until it was practically exploding on top of our fridge. I think it took about 3 days, but that was in August when it was relatively warm here. Anyway, it tastes good, but it is very bubbly. Like champagne salsa. Kinda weird (still edible). If you want to avoid this, transfer to your fridge before the “exploding with bubbles” stage. There’s a lot of variation in this process, and with practice you get better and better at it. Give yourself the permission to experiment and fail, and you can’t go wrong.