For fermented tomato salsa you first of all need aromatic tomatoes. Without ripe produce, this ferment will not taste good, which is why you should only prepare it in season. In Germany, fermented tomato salsa is a summer ferment. When shopping, give preference to regional varieties that are optimally adapted to the weather. This way you promote the diversity of varieties and can also enjoy the fullest flavor. You can find regional varieties at the farmer's market, the grocery market, and often even at the supermarket.
Fully ripe, regional tomatoes are the basis of this ferment
I am lucky to be able to grow my own tomatoes in my urban garden. One of my favorite varieties is the Vierländer Platte, a historical tomato variety that has been available since the end of the 19th century in the Vierlanden near Hamburg. It really doesn't get any more regional for me.
The flat, slightly ribbed fruits have a red-orange color, delicately melting pulp and are surrounded by a fragile skin. The taste is fruity with a fine acidity and the typical tomato taste.
Due to their thin skin, these tomatoes are not suitable for trade. In order to save them from extinction, I not only grow them myself, but also give seeds and early plants to other hobby gardeners every year.
The Vierländer Platte is a candidate for the ark of taste
The project "Ark of Taste" of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity protects regionally important foods, farm animal species, cultivated plants and traditional preparation methods worldwide from forgetting and disappearing. In the current food system, they are considered unprofitable or "out of fashion" due to their comparatively complex production or rearing.
Regional tomatoes are the most widely eaten vegetable in Germany, although the climate is certainly not ideal for growing tomatoes. The Vierländer Platte is a local variety in and around Hamburg that has become reasonably accustomed to the weather and has a fine acidic flavor. Unfortunately, the yields of Vierländer Platten are much lower than those of the less flavorful new varieties, so there is a danger that this old variety will disappear for good. Only what is eaten remains.
Source: Slow Food Deutschland
The Vierländer Platte must be consumed quickly when ripe because it can only be stored for a short time, this wonderful, regional connoisseur variety.
Because of the shorter shelf life, I prefer to eat them fresh - as a salad, raw food or antipasti. Or of course as a quick fermented tomato salsa! Because this delicious ferment tastes best after only a few days.
Fermented tomato salsa
- 1 0.5 liter glass with lid
- 4-6 tomatoes
- 1 red onion [medium size]
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 3-4 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 1-2 fresh red chilli [or 1 tbsp dried chili flakes]
- salt [2-3% of total weight]
- 6 leaves of basil
- 1 sprigs oregano
- Cut tomatoes and onions into small cubes.
- Finely chop garlic, spices and chili. Put the tomatoes and onions in a bowl. If you use chili powder, put it in now.
- Mix everything gently and weigh. Add 2-3% of the weight in salt and stir well again. Fill into the glass, do not close it too tightly and leave it at a summer room temperature of 20-25 °C. Open, stir and try daily.
- You may wonder why you should open the jar every day? Otherwise, it is always said that the glass must remain closed? Both is correct! In this ferment, the fermenting ingredients are small and there's not much liquid, so it's not under any brine and could therefore mold. That's why it needs to be stirred consistently. This breaks the surface and keeps everything coated.
- If the glass hisses when opened, bubbles rise or the salsa fizzes when stirring, these are signs of fermentation. When it is completed, your taste decides. I like salsa best on the 5th day, but try it yourself. You open it daily to stir anyway.You will taste that it is becoming more acidic every day. So if you are satisfied, put it in the refrigerator, where the fermentation is slowed down.
- I don't keep the salsa for more than 3 weeks. It also becomes more acidic in the refrigerator, so that it would not taste so good for me with prolonged storage.
What if the fermented tomato salsa is overfermented?
If you forget the salsa in the fridge and it is quite sour after more than three weeks, I recommend combining it with a fat burrito, with lots of cheese and sour cream. The flavors complement each other wonderfully and you don't have to waste any of your precious salsa. Plus, the lacto-fermented salsa helps you digest the fatty food.
Bruschetta recipe with fermented tomato salsa
For this recipe it tastes good if you prepare the salsa with basil (and possibly some fresh oregano). You can also add these herbs when preparing the bruschetta.
Ingredients for an appetizer for 2 people
- 6-8 small slices of ciabatta
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 6-8 tbsp fermented tomato salsa
- salt & pepper
Roast the slices of bread in the pan with half of the oil from both sides. Rub with the peeled garlic cloves, salt and sprinkle with the remaining oil. Add a tablespoon of fermented tomato salsa to the pieces of bread and season with freshly ground pepper.