More than Meets the Eye

I’m really not as stupid as I act.

Although I’m having a hard time believing this as I sit here this morning with a big “DOH!!!” thought bubble above my head.

I’ve been hot to trot at trying my hand with fermented foods. Often it seems like I am a primary host organism for what could best be described as a candida frat party. So what I need is fermentation! Probiotics! Food that is AAAALIIIIIIIIVE!

Fern and I trekked down to the Civic Center farmer’s market on Wednesday, where I was able to score THREE pounds of heirloom tomatoes for five bucks (Heirloom toms in the bay area go for $4-5 bucks a pound at the store). Stocking up on cilantro and bell peppers, I was then prepared to make…Lacto-Fermented Salsa!

The finished result in the article looks like this:

Image taken by Shannon at Nourishing Days. 

Doesn’t that look delish? But then…wait…why does mine look like THIS:

The lighting is an unforgiving yellow anyway but Jeff took one look at the jar and said, “I’m not eating that.”

It smells fantastic and a little taste is promising. But it has yet to start fermenting and this is where my brain hiccup comes in.

The method of fermentation she uses calls for whey. Now in my defense, she did not say what KIND of whey. Since I have never “lacto” fermented before, I didn’t quite get the concept and thought maybe the addition of a dairy product just acted as a neon-sign for friendly bacteria…”Eat at Joes!” Blink. Sizzle. Blink.

I’m a dork. The whey IS the bacteria. The idea is to use fresh, liquid whey, because it contains live cultures.

I used powdered. Which is why my salsa looks like something from a 1970s potluck. If I add a pineapple slice and a maraschino cherry I might be in business.

So while I fiddle with my….interesting…first attempt at lacto-fermentation, I thought I would share some other awesome How- To guides I have found recently, since it is canning season after all. Just keep your brain plugged in and don’t make assumptions or else you risk following in my stinky shoes. (What if I put a smelly sock in there? I bet THAT has bacteria!).

Mother Earth News online has a sweet little comprehensive How to Can Jam and Jellies the USDA Way. Have fun perusing their website…so much awesome information and if you need your daily dose of bittersweet interspecies snorgling, read this article. (Totally unrelated to food preservation, have you read THIS article about the mother cat who lead her rescuer to her kittens?  Awww…).

A recipe for raw and naturally fermented Salsa Verde.

Fermented Pickles, also from Nourishing Days.

I recently made Elderberry Syrup to ward off flu season. So yummy! (Thanks Heather for the recipe!)

I also made Apple Butter, basically following this recipe and method.

Rachel over at 6512 and growing posted this recipe for Roasted Green Chili Sauce. YUM.

Ok kids, have a great weekend. I’m gonna go try to redeem my suspicious looking salsa.

I’m also gonna try to look good while I’m doing it. This is not what I look like at the moment. This was last week when summer visited for two seconds. (Dress: Target. Boots: Berkeley Flea Market. Moose Antler Earrings: Braindrops. Cute Kid: My Womb.)











21 thoughts on “More than Meets the Eye

  1. love you. it seems to me that powdered whey should still supply you some lactobacillus… and if not, the good bacteria are on the veggies themselves, you can lacto ferment without whey, it’s just that you maybe run more of a risk of some other (stinky sock) bacteria becoming more dominant than the lactobacillus good guys. the salt is key, it creates the right environment for lactobacilli. anywhey…. i say don’t dump it until it has a few days at room temp first. all of that said, you had me lmao because my attempts at doing this stuff all look a bit more similar to your photos than the nourishing days photos…

    1. thanks mb! i’m glad you can relate and my stinky salsa doesn’t mean i’m hopeless! i’m giving it til the end of today, but i think its beyond hope and i’m already feeling very squeamish about trying it. 🙂

      1. they are deer! at least you didn’t think they were 1. coffee beans or 2. ghost bunnies…both of which i have heard over the years. 😉

  2. Darling!! Here is the easiest, fastest way to get the whey (no pun intended) you want: 1) get a quart of yogurt; 2) dump it into a colander (preferably wire and not the pasta kind) lined with clean cheesecloth. you can probably use other very loose fabric but cheap cheesecloth is best; 3) let sit overnight in the fridge.

    In the morning you will have yogurt cream cheese on top, and a yellowish clear whey on the bottom. This has lots of happy lactobacilli for you and can be frozen too.

    I am also happy to give you some of my starter…i use a ginger lacto-fermented starter which i take every morning to get my daily dose of ginger. just let me know so I can make a little more of it for you. and i can tell you how to do this yourself….text me or call me!

  3. you are so cute! i love that dress. did you do something to lighten you hair or was that the light? when i see you i think happy thoughts of SF because you are so very, very SF. good luck on your future endeavors with the salsa.

  4. Hi,

    I’ve come across your blog via Rachel at 6512 and growing. I’ve stopped and read for a while. I will definitely be back. You have a wonderful way with words.


  5. Love the pics. Great angle (see what I meant about pics from above??) 😉 Josh made salsa today with our home grown tomatoes and habaneros and I begged for him to make some for me san-habanerno, so he did. Mmmmmmm it’s going to be great. But not fermented like yours. I’d love to try that too.

    You are beautiful. Inside and out.

  6. Mary, Mary! Oh it’s good and crazy to come back to so many wondrous Terralectualism posts. I wonder if I will ever catch up…

    First of all, let me commiserate with you on the host-factor, because I’m in the same not so exclusive or awesome club. Eeugh. Hefty doses of yogurt and clean-living easily undone by a careless beer or a few squares of chocolate.

    Secondly, call me a dum-dum, but it has not occurred to me lacto ferment something like salsa. I’ve seen something like it in wild fermentation, but since even kimchee can be challenge for me, I didn’t pay it much attention. Dang! I keep telling you every time I come here I learn something new…

    I’m sorry your experiment was unfruitful, BUT I look forward to reading all about the new, improved recipe.

    And I gotta say: I LOVE IT, when you post pics of yourself. You’re so cute and have such awesome taste. I love clues into what kind of frocks you might like 😉

    1. princess milla! you are back! i read your newest late last night and haven’t had a chance to comment, but i have been missing you!

      so i’m REALLY glad to know i’m not the only one with the zombie yeast. and exactly…i love beer so so so much, but it acts like fertilizer in my body.

      and thanks re: the personal pics…i’m still overcoming the inner critic stuff that pops up, but it’s nice to not feel like i’m hiding. xoxo

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