Fermented tomato salsa

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Joey O'Hare's fermented tomato salsa recipe is an ingenious way of getting through a tomato glut. The fermented tang adds immense depth of flavour, perfect for dolloping on curries, nestling into toasties or simply for snacking mopped up with some crusty sourdough.

First published in 2017

Now I agree a fresh tomato salsa is absolutely delicious! Summer perfection! So why bother to ferment one..? I’ve made this ferment twice. The first occasion was late last summer, when buckets of firm green tomatoes at the market were being sold for next-to-nothing as it was too late in the season from them to ripen fully. And second was after a recent food shoot, where enormous amounts of tomatoes were at risk of going to waste… So this recipe came about through the time-old need to preserve a glut. If you can try this one with green tomatoes definitely do – it’s sensational.

It works as any chutney, salsa or relish. It’s amazing with cheese toasties, as a bruschetta topping, or simply mopped up with fresh sourdough, olive oil and dukkah. It’s equally good dolloped on curries and tagines. It’s best at room temperature rather than cold from the fridge.




Ferment paste



  • Kilner jar


Here we are working with the ‘dry-salt’ method of fermentation, and so will be using a ratio of 2% salt: we’ve got 1kg tomatoes in all, so that’s 20g sea salt. Disinfect the Kilner jar, and wash your board, knife and hands well
Blend together all the ingredients for the ferment paste until smooth. Mix the ferment paste with the chopped tomatoes and diced shallot. Tip into a Kilner jar and pack down well
Leave to ferment at room temperature for anywhere between 4–7 days. I find this salsa starts to ferment more quickly, and tends to continue fermenting in the fridge, although of course very slowly. More hardy ferments, such as sauerkraut, will take longer to get going, and become completely dormant once cold, I find
Burp the jar each morning and night, to prevent too pressure building up inside. Check the tomatoes after as little as 2 days. See how they are faring and pop in the fridge when you’re happy. The will last in the fridge for up to 2 months
First published in 2017

Joey has worked as a chef for ten years, both in London restaurants and in private homes across the UK and abroad. Joey’s latest project, Food with Time, explores ideas of sustainability within the food and farming industries, as well as the importance of a seasonal, veg-centric diet for both the environment and the individual.

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