Culture Club

Full Quiver's Lone Star probiotics

Culture Club
Photo by John Anderson

Full Quiver Farms Store

6238 FM 3396, Kemp
Tue.-Fri., 9am-5pm; Sat., 9am-noon; Sun.-Mon., closed

Naturally fermented foods, such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kosher dill pickles, have been experiencing a huge resurgence in popularity. Like live-culture yogurt, naturally fermented foods are teeming with probiotics, which are essential for a healthy immune system, as well as very beneficial to digestion. While all types of fermented vegetables have their fans, lacto-fermented salsa is arguably the easiest to incorporate into your diet.

Why? Because it just tastes like wonderful, fresh salsa. The slight acidity engendered by the fermentation process is so similar to the acidity of lime juice that it blends seamlessly with the traditional flavors.

Full Quiver Farms makes a lacto-fermented salsa from tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, garlic, and cilantro, which they sell at the Barton Creek Farmers Market for $5 a pint. The main ingredients are usually grown at Michael and Debbie Sams' farm in Kemp, Texas. "At certain times of year, we have to buy tomatoes and jalapeños from neighboring farms, you know, just to keep up with production," says Debbie, "But everything we put in the salsa is grown around here."

Whey, lemon juice, and sea salt are then added to the chopped vegetables to get the fermentation started properly, and to provide the right environment for the live cultures. After a couple of days of fermentation at room temperature, the salsa is refrigerated and sold. As an additional benefit, like all lacto-fermented vegetables, it stays unspoiled for weeks in the refrigerator.

The flavor is mild, slightly salty, with forward tomato and onion flavors, and a hint of cilantro in the background. It is a great example of a mainstay salsa, terrific with chips, on tacos, and with eggs. If you don't care for sauerkraut, and sour pickles aren't your thing, lacto-fermented salsa may be the probiotic boost you've been looking for.

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Debbie Sams, Austin artisan foods, fermented salsa, probiotics

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