30 Second Lacto-fermented Salsa


You may have made your own lacto-fermented salsa before. It's easy enough, but it does take some time to chop all the tomatoes and onions, etc.

I have just discovered a way to make real lacto-fermented salsa in just 30 seconds.

Don't believe me? It's true.

Last week, we had some friends over for fish tacos and they brought some jars of fresh salsa from the health food store. If you've ever bought salsa from the grocery store, you know that it goes bad in a day or two in the fridge — so you have to eat it up right away or toss it.

The morning after the dinner party, it dawned on me. Why not just add some starter culture to the store-bought salsas? If you can culture homemade salsa, you can certainly culture store-bought salsa.

This salsa is the perfect compliment to my homemade corn tortilla chips.

Why Lacto-fermented Salsa?

Unlike fresh salsa which you can only store in the fridge for a day or two, lacto-fermented salsa will keep for weeks or even months in the fridge. I've kept it in there for up to 6 months!

Of course, the best reason to culture your salsa is for the health benefits. Lacto-fermented salsa is loaded with enzymes and probiotics. Read my post about why you want to get more enzymes into your diet. Read my post about why fermented foods are so good for you.

Recipe Notes

OK, if you want to get technical, this is not really 30 Second Salsa because you do have to let it sit on the counter for a day or two.

It occurred to me that this would also work for all kinds of store-bought condiments — from ketchup to mayonnaise. We regularly buy our mayonnaise because I don't have time to make lacto-fermented mayonnaise from scratch. See my resources page for a brand of mayonnaise that contains no soybean or canola oil. Why not just open up the jar of mayo and add a little starter culture?

30 Second Lacto-fermented Salsa


Salsa, store-bought, ideally organic and fresh from the refrigerated section
Starter culture — where to buy starters or whey (how to make whey)


Mason jar — where to buy Mason Jar


1. Open the jar of salsa.
2. Pour into a mason jar.
3. Stir in the starter culture (previously mixed with water) or whey with a spoon. You need 1 TBS of liquid vegetable starter or whey — per cup of salsa.
4. Cover with a lid (on loosely) or a dishcloth, or a paper towel or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
5. Let ferment on the counter for 2-3 days.
6. Salsa will keep for weeks or months in fridge.

Photo credit: mswine on Flickr

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

50 thoughts on “30 Second Lacto-fermented Salsa

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 30 Second Lacto-fermented Salsa | CHEESESLAVE -- Topsy.com
  2. That is brilliant! But I do have a question. I tried to make my own once, but when I opened it, it was BAD. Too salty, and like the tomatoes had fermented with that “oh-you-don’t-want-to-eat-that” zing and taste. Please tell me it’s not supposed to taste like that? I mean, I know it’s lacto-fermented, but… or do I just need to get used to that taste?

    1. No, it is not supposed to taste like that. It should taste just like regular salsa.

      Which recipe did you follow? How long did you let it ferment? Did you use fresh tomatoes? How much salt did you add?

      Try adding less salt next time, and maybe don’t ferment it as long.

      1. Thank goodness. I did use fresh tomatoes, but I’m pretty sure I messed up on several of the steps (not enough whey, left it out on the counter too long). I just needed a little extra hand-holding to get up the nerve to try another batch! Thanks!

    2. I had the same problem with a batch I just made! Was terrific the first few days but now, about a week later, after being stored in a capped mason jar in the fridge, it is bubbly and hissy with that tongue zap.. What did I do wrong?

  3. Can you add some of the liquid as a “starter culture” from a previously fermented vegetable product, such as homemade sauerkraut?

    1. Hmm I guess you could try that — I’m not sure if it would taste weird to add pickle juice.

      When I don’t have any whey, I just strain my kefir and make whey — I always seem to have kefir around.

  4. I was just lamenting that none of our condiments are actually fermented which was really the whole point of them in the first place, i.e. to help us digest the meat and cheese and other stuff! These days condiments (and pickles and sauerkraut) just make it harder to digest unless you get the truly fermented kind (there are delicious lacto-fermented pickles at Erewhon).

    This is so simple, but that’s what most good ideas are like. 🙂 Ketchup and salsa will be the first experiments. Thanks!

  5. That is such a great idea. We often buy Garden Fresh Salsa (semi-local – it’s made in Michigan) when it is buy 1 get 1 free. But we can never eat it up in time and I always end up dumping some. Yay for no more wasted food!

    Question…I did try making fermented salsa once, and it tasted like cheese. I could tolerate it but I wouldn’t describe it as delicious. Any thoughts on that? Does the whey make it taste that way or did something go wrong?

  6. This post is just a little late for me as I just threw away half a jar of salsa. I buy it at the farmer’s market, so it is freshly canned and without preservatives. I don’t eat salsa that often so it just sits in my fridge and gets moldy. I have thought of putting it in smaller containers and freezing it. But I always seen to get busy and forget. Lacto-fermenting it seems to be a good solution. It will be better for me and I can keep it around for much longer. What a brilliant and easy idea. I get my whey from my raw milk yogert. Yummie!!

  7. 1) You’re a Genius! I bet this will work with all sorts of things (Ketchup, etc.)

    2) One quick note: Fresh salsas seem to be a good idea, but aren’t most salsas in a jar pasteurized (during canning process)? Also, many of them contain “natural flavors” and other chemicals. Obviously, read labels, but I wonder how the dead foods do with fermentation.

    Thanks for the great idea!!!

    1. @Alex

      Good point about the pasteurization. I am not sure — I think you can find some salsas that are not pasteurized. I’ll have to look and see the next time I go to the health food store.

      But even if it is pasteurized, it’s still better than eating it without fermenting it. You won’t get the enzymes but you will get the probiotics.

  8. I did this a couple weeks ago with organic ketchup. I mixed about 1.5 cups of the ketchup with 1 small can of tomato paste (so it is less sweet) and then about 1/4 cup of lactofermented pickle juice (I used Bubbies). You can’t taste the pickle juice at all– it just tastes really good!

  9. Costco has a 4 lb. 2 oz. jar of Kirkland ORGANIC salsa: Organic tomatoes, organic jalapeno peppers, organic onions, water, organic tomato paste, organic cilantro, sea salt, organic sugar, organic vinegar, organic cumin, organic garlic, organic cayenne pepper.

    When we haven’t made our own salsa, this is a great alternative and with your suggestion a big jar will not go bad before it’s used up. Thank You!!

  10. Wow, I feel like I’m in the twilight zone right now….just hopped over to your blog to find your recipe for lacto-fermented salsa, and as the main page was loading, I thought to myself, ‘I really should just use up that jar of salsa I bought out of desperation a couple months ago, but I really want some good probiotics, but at the same time, I really wish I could take a shortcut to get there’ and lo and behold, I find this handy little article! Definitely going to give it a try!

  11. I love this idea!
    And to add my thoughts to your discussion with the other Alex about what if it’s pasteurized–I don’t think this is a problem. It’s like making yogurt fromo pasteurized yogurt vs. “raw” yogurt. You won’t get a lot of the naturally-occurring enzymes from the vegetables, and you won’t get the naturally-occurring microbes, but the microbes you add will have very good odds of making a home for themselves, and they will make vitamins and enzymes in a predictable way.

  12. Proof positive that great minds think alike! I’ve been doing this for awhile now!

    As far as using previously-pasteurized goodies, I started making my LF salsas (the hard way, chopping, blending, etc.) using canned tomatoes when I was waiting for my tomatillos to come in (Oh my, tomatillo salsa! LF tomatillo salsa=even better!), and it works just fine. No, it doesn’t have the raw food microbes, but it livens up just with the addition of the whey, and the flavor is excellent either way.

  13. Uhh,….ok, so I tried this twice now, both times with fuzzy mold growing as a result–never had that problem with homemade LF salsa…I know that with other fermented goods, NT just says to skim it off, but, it’s just.so.fuzzy! I covered it with a towel…should I have put the lid back on instead? I vaguely remember doing that with the homeade stuff.

  14. Why loose lid or dish cloth? I usually do LF veggies with a tight lid, and have done one batch of LF Quicky Salsa with a tight lid, and it was super awesome… Just mixed up our second batch… Any reason in particular to keep the lid loose?

  15. I just bought a jar of organic Korean soy sauce. I know it’s bad, but I bought the best I could find with only a few ingredients. And I love good sushi. LOL Can I add whey and ferment it, too?

  16. Pingback: Lacto-fermented Ketchup « LifeInk Foodie
  17. Awesome idea! I LOVE fresh salsa- but it always spoils before we eat it all. I’m thinking about taking some liquid from my cultured veggies to use as the starter.

  18. why didnt I think of this? lol this is great, I looooove the salsa we carry at my co-op but I have to eat the whole thing so fast (not that that is a problem, because its good on everythinggg) but it’d be nice to be able to store some in the fridge for later use.

  19. Hi There,

    Love your website and so glad I found you through google.

    I am new to lacto-fermentation, and love the idea of the 30 second salsa. Is whey collected from store bought yogurt good for these kind of projects, or do I need to make yogurt from culture at home, and drain why out of it?


    1. Whey from store-bought yogurt is fine.

      For best results, get plain, unsweetened full fat yogurt, without any odd ingredients like non-fat milk powder. Also check the dates and get the youngest one you can, because younger yogurt will have a more powerful set of bacteria in it.

  20. One more question….

    Since I am brand new to lacto-fermentation.

    My question is, I have heard and need some guidance on whether it is advised to REFRAIN from making such lacto-fermented veggies when a woman is menstruating.

    Is this an old-folks tale or is there some scientific stuff behind it?

    Any guidance please?


  21. I make goat milk yogurt cheese (which tastes like chevre!) and use the whey for my fermented salsa (labor intensive version) and it is delicious! Thanks for this tip on using the whey to ferment fresh store bought salsa!

  22. So smart, I will try soon!

    I’d love to know where you can buy mayo without soy and canola oil, but couldn’t find it on your resources page. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts