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Sandy’s Food for Thought: Cooking on the Wild Side

By Sandy McCall

“This easy-to-make Wild Cultured Salsa beats anything you can buy in the store. It’s fresh, simple, and you get to decide how much heat you want. Of course it’s fermented, which means it brings all the health benefits that fermented/cultured foods have to offer. I have personally made and used this salsa for many years. I hope you will try it!”

Fermented vs. Cultured -- “In the world of food, "cultured" essentially means fermented—the chemical process of breaking a complicated substance down into simpler parts, usually with the help of bacteria, yeasts, or fungi . . . Fermented foods are far more common than we realize; for example, yogurt is the most commonly eaten fermented food in the U.S. Because certain methods of fermenting foods with certain types of bacteria result in the production of lactic acid, you might sometimes hear the term "lacto-fermentation" used to describe one particular type of food culturing.”

Wild Cultured Salsa


2 pounds tomatoes of choice (sometimes I use black tomatoes)

2 tablespoons tomato paste (best from tube)

5 scallions or 1 small onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/8-1/4 cup fresh cilantro to taste

1/2 lemon, juice only

1/2 lime, juice only

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 medium poblano pepper, seeded

1 medium jalapeño, seeded

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded

1 medium banana pepper, seeded

1 Tablespoon Celtic sea salt

1/2 cup whey OR contents of 1 vegetarian 100 billion probiotic capsule*

Fresh, organic vegetables are best

Optional: Pinche of chipotle or cayenne powder

*Using salt and whey (liquid from good organic yogurt) is a typical process for lacto-fermentation. Instead, I sometimes use the powder from a probiotic capsule


Place all vegetables, peppers, cilantro, lemon juice, lime juice, spices, yogurt whey OR the contents of probiotic capsule (not the capsule itself) into a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until you reach your desired salsa texture.

Taste for heat and salt. If you desire more spice, add pinches of ground chipotle or cayenne powders until you have the desired level of heat.

Put salsa into glass canning jars and tighten lids. Leave jars on counter in a warm place for 2-4 days.

You can test it periodically for your desired level of tanginess. Just be careful to use a clean utensil.

When the salsa flavor suits you, transfer the jars to the refrigerator. This salsa will keep for months in the refrigerator. I bet you will eat it sooner than that. Enjoy!


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