Lacto-Fermented Garlicky Salsa

by lydia on September 15, 2012

I’ve been enjoying lacto-fermented salsa for several years now. This year I’ve started making my salsa in a Pickl-It with great results. I love love love garlic and this salsa is loaded with it. If you don’t like garlic as much as I do, surely you can use less. Every time I make a batch of this it disappears within a day! The best part is that it takes little time to wait to enjoy!

Lacto-Fermented Garlicky Salsa
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 1 liter
  • 4½ cups (1 quart + ½ pint) mini heirloom, in a variety of colors, OR cherry tomatoes
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Handful of herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley; coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons, OR 3 limes, OR 1 lemon and 1 lime (add the zest as well if you like)
  • 5 grams of salt
  1. In a bowl mix all ingredient together.
  2. Then place in a 1 liter Pickl-It jar. Tamping down the ingredients with a wooden mallet or spoon. Leave at least an inch of headspace.
  3. Close the lid, place the airlock in filled with water to the fill line.
  4. Place in a cupboard or on the counter covering the jar with a cloth to block out light for 24 hours to 2 days max. (I tend to go with the shorter amount of time and if it's really warm, maybe even less.)
  5. Remove airlock, place the stopper in the jar or switch to a Fido lid for storage in the fridge.

If you are new to learning anaerobic fermentation – you may want to check out this ebook; ‘Lisa’s Counter Culture: Pickles and other Well-Bred Foods‘. I’ve got a copy and refer to it a lot. There are loads of great recipes, tips and I am finding it helpful as I try to revamp my old recipes to make sure I am getting the proportions and salt measurements right! As far as I know, there are no other cookbooks for anaerobic lacto-fermentation out there yet! Pick up a copy today – you will love it! I know I do!

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Nichole September 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

Could I use a mason jar? I haven’t been able to purchase pickl-it jars yet.

lydia September 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm


Using a mason jar doesn’t not properly ferment your salsa. I’d wait to get a Pickl-It if you really want the health benefits from a true anaerobic lacto-ferment. My suggestion is to invest in a small bundle/trio and look for Fido jars – then you can sway out the lids and don’t have to spend a lot on the Pickl-It jars with the lids. You will have 3 lids to work with that way and add variety by purchasing different sized Fido jars.

Natalie July 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

So lacto-fermented in this recipe does not mean fermented using whey, right? I only see salt brine as the medium for fermentation.

I recently purchased Pickle-It jars, and I want to make fermented salsa, however, I am wondering if there is any coaching you can give me if I want to change it up a bit. I picked some fresh cactus from the side of a country road in Texas recently, and I would love to make a fermented version of roasted cactus salsa (still using the other standard salsa ingredients as well). Would this change the salt brine ratios? Would it be safest to use a starter culture if I am going to be roasting the cactus?

lydia July 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

No, lacto-fermented has nothing to do with dairy whatsoever.

I’m pretty sure cactus may turn to alcohol if you try to ferment. I would not try it personally. If you want to make cactus salsa, just make it and don’t ferment it.

Tina June 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Lydia, Do you think I could triple this recipe and make it in a 3L so that I could use all of the fresh tomatoes when they come in season? I’m assuming it would last for a good amount of time in the fridge?

lydia June 27, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Actually it doesn’t last as long as other types of ferments -so be sure you can use it in a month or so or pay attention that is well under the brine and switch it to a smaller vessel once it gets close to half full so the air in the jar doesn’t cause issues.

Tina June 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Good to know. Thanks so much!

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