Fermented Tomatoes

These fermented tomatoes are really easy to make and most of the time needed is fermenting time. Besides no rare gadgets nor ingredients are needed. The fermented tomatoes are ideal to eat spread over a toast or a slice of fresh homemade bread. For this recipe we chose our favorite sourdough bread. Skip to the recipe.

Fermented food is a stable of the eastern European cuisine, where my great-grandparents came from. This recipe was handed down to me by my father. It is a family recipe that is passed on from one generation to the next, though I must admit that I think I’m the only one in my generation that knows it.

The fermented tomatoes are really tasty and the flavor gets better with time, it never lasts really long at home. But if you can contain yourself of eating them and keep them for at least 6 months, I assure you that the flavor gets unique.

If someone is afraid about raw garlic and the possibility of botulism, you can sautee it and it won’t affect the end result terribly.

Something that is important is being aware of the formation of mold, in which case you have to throw everything away. And always remember to sterilize the jar appropriately.

Yeast can be formed on top, it is white and sometimes some white liquid is also formed. You can remove the yeast and it is still good to eat, in the worst case scenario it may add a bitter taste. This might happen when they are not with oil, if this happens, remove the yeast and cover them with oil and let them continue fermenting this way.

I hope you try this family recipe and let me your commentaries!

Fermented Tomatoes

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serves: 1.1 lb
prep.: 1 hour1h
rest: 8 hours8h
fermentation: 4 + 15 days4d + 15d
total: 20 days20d

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of tomatoes (any type will do)
  • up to 2 tbsp of coarse salt
  • 1 cup of sunflower oil
  • dry parsley
  • dry oregano
  • chili flakes
  • one head of garlic
  • 10 bay leaves
Fermented Tomatoes

Preparation

Step 1 Remove the tomato peel. Cut them in quarters and remove the core and the seeds. You can keep this and do a tomato sauce. Cut the tomato flesh in half-an-inch to one-inch chunks.
Step 2 Weight the tomato flesh chunks. The ratio is 1 tablespoon of salt for every pound of tomato flesh. For example if the tomato flesh chunks weight 2 pounds you need to add 2 tablespoons of salt. Knead it so it mixes really well.
Step 3 Place the tomatoes in a cheese cloth or other piece of fabric (a well washed pillow case can work as well) and hang them overnight so they drain as much liquid as possible. Do not press them.
Step 4 The next day, put the tomatoes on a bowl and add the parsley, oregano and other spices you might like.
Step 5 In a previously sterilized jar, place one half-inch layer of tomatoes, on top of it add a layer of garlic cloves in slices. Cover the garlic with another tomato layer and on top of it place bay leaves. Continue alternating layers until you are finish with the tomatoes. You should finish with a tomato layer on top. The jar shouldn’t be completely full, the should be at least one inch from the lid.
Step 6 Cover the jar with gauze or muslin or a thin fabric and place inclined 45 degrees in a warm place. It is advisable to place the jar on a tray or pan so you can remove the liquid as it falls. Let it rest during 4 days.
Step 7 After the fermentation time has passed, cover the tomatoes with sunflower oil at least 1 cm over them. Cover them with another gauze and let them keep on fermenting for 15 days.
Step 8 Put them in the refrigerator until consumption.
Fermented Tomatoes with homemade bread

Notes:

  • They last a long time, up to one year. The more it ages, the better it tastes. If raw garlic is a concern to you, you can sautee it before using it.
  • It is important that it is sunflower oil because olive oil solidifies in the refrigerator and it gets difficult to eat.
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