Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Lacto-Fermented Salsa (with Recipe!)

A few days back, Amy asked us to post our lacto-fermented salsa recipe. We use the basic outline of the recipe from Nourishing Traditions and tweak it a bit based on which fresh ingredients we have available at the time. Sometimes it has more bell peppers than other times, sometimes it has cilantro, sometimes not. We have found though, that a key to making it really yummy is to dice the veggies very small, so that you get a blending of all the flavors in each bite. The following recipe is for making one quart, but the process of skinning the tomatoes dirties a lot of dishes in our opinion, so we don't bother making less than a dozen quarts at a time. (More bang for the same amount of mess, you know.) The real key to deciding how much to make is how much refrigerator space you have, because that is where the salsa will live after fermenting, not in the pantry.

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (you want about three cups worth)

2 small onions, finely chopped

finely chopped bell peppers of any color to taste (we use roughly 1/4 of a pepper per quart)

6-8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced

1/4  bunch cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Tablespoon sea salt (Do not skimp here! This is the key to getting the bad bacteria to not grow while waiting for the lactic acid preservation to complete!)

4 Tablespoons whey (not powdered, use only the real stuff - you know, the watery stuff that is sometimes in yogurt) [Note: if you don't have this available, use an additional 1 Tablespoon of sea salt, for a total of 2 Tbsp. per quart]

filtered water

Optional: Finely chopped hot peppers to taste. We have used jalapenos, chilies, etc. Use what you have available, and go easy until you see how the peppers react to lacto-fermenting. Some seem to get spicier.

Here's what you do:

Peel the tomatoes. (Google instructions if you have never done it before.) Chop all the veggies, then mix all veggies into a large bowl along with the lemon juice. We then fill each jar with the veggie and lemon juice mixture, leaving a full 1.5 inch headspace above the tops of the veggies. Smush the veggies down lightly with something non-metal  (your fingers, a wooden spoon, a plastic spatula, etc.). On the top of the veggie mixture, add your sea salt, whey (remember: extra salt if you don't have this), and filtered water to bring the total volume up to 1 inch below the top of your jar. (Tip: Often you will not need to add any water; the volume will already be high enough.) Cover the jar tightly and shake until the sea salt is dissolved and thouhroughly incorporated into the jar contents. Set them on the counter, and leave at room temperature for about 48 hours. When the time is up, transfer jars to cold storage(i.e. your fridge). Try them after they are cool! The flavors will blend more, and mature after more time in cold storage, but this salsa is also delicious immediately!

Now, go get some Green Mountain Gringo chips (or make your own if you are ambitious) and dig in!

Also, I just came across this other recipe for Lacto-Fermented Salsa last week.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Twin Pictures Finally!

It seems I have chosen the most counter-intuitive moment to post pictures of the babies. I am swamped with preparations to get to our homeschool convention tomorrow: finishing my shopping lists, getting the house and meals ready for the sabbath, getting the big kids ready for an outing with Grandma while I am doing convention, and packing the equivalent of twelve suitcases worth of diapers and clothes changes into the diaper bag for the twins' doing convention. But, I know that coming home with billions of new school books and lessons to prepare will not leave me any extra time, and knowing that I can pack the diaper bag while the pictures upload means now is the time, intuitive or not.

My template does not like words and pictures intermingled, so I will list the captions here:

1) Sweetie, formerly known as 'Baby A'. Six teeth and a smidge of curly hair. 22 1/2 lbs of pure bulldog. We call her 'Truck', as she isn't concerned with obstacles - even if the obstacle is her sister.

2) Honey, formerly known as 'Baby B'. Two teeth with just a sprinkling of peach fuzz. 22 lbs and a good fake fusser. We call her the Drama Queen.

3) Sisterly affection.

4) Morning cuteness.

5) Camera Schmamera. Can you put that thing down and help me, please? (He really is much happier in real life than he ever looks in pictures.)

P.S. I forgot to tell you that the girls are 9 months old now!

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