Bottles tomatoes

Here’s a fantastic recipe from Molly Bryson, Bee Sustainable’s fermentation expert and Unlock the Cosmos Within workshop facilitator.

My practice in fermentation began four years ago, around the same time I started worm composting, keeping bees and rabbits, experimenting wherever I could. Fermenting appealed to my permaculture sensibilities – it’s safe, requires few tools, little energy and gives us probiotic power food; what better way to preserve the garden glut? With my conviction (and no shortage of zeal) I experimented with figs, bush tomatoes, squash, seaweed, and many other foods, all of which that take on a new life when our microbiological comrades get involved.
These days I use ferments to save my most valuable resource: time. Garden tomatoes can be explosively flavoursome. The cherry tomatoes I used for this recipe were self seeded from the compost pile (how resilient)!

Culturing tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family  can be tricky – they’re ripen quickly and more prone to mould growth than other vegetables. The trick is to ward off that sleazy mould with a bit of kale – a seasonal brassica and natural host to abundant lactic acid bacteria.
I made this fermented salsa to mature while I ran around town with no time to cook. Five days later the flavour is gorgeous, with  wine-like complexity.

Ingredients:

  • 800g ripe garden tomatoesMollys cherry tomatoes 2
  • 1 fresh chilli
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 handful coriander
  • 3-4 fresh kale leaves
  • 16 g non-iodised salt (minimum 2 percent of total weight of tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp leftover vegan lacto-ferment culture*
        (*liquid from any ferment that hosts lactic acid bacteria such as sauerkraut, ginger bug etc).

Method:Molly chopping tomatoes
Keep kale leaves aside for finishing.

Sterilise and air dry a 1 litre jar. Chop all ingredient to desired size.

In a clean glass bowl, toss all ingredients together with salt and add veg culture if available.

Move the salsa to sterilised glass jar. Use kale leaves to push down the salsa, leaving a layer of liquid protecting the vegetables. Firmly fasten lid and leave in a dark, dry place for 2-3 days. After this time, open the jar and notice if some

Molly stirring tomatoes

pressure is released. You can remove the kale leaves if signs of fermentation are present (CO2 production, slightly funky and acidic smell). Close the jar again and allow to ferment until desired flavour is achieved and a noticeable, acidic flavour is present. Discard if mould develops.