Cherry tomatoes have a way of of expanding, doubling, tripling and even taking over sections of your garden. I only eat tomatoes in the fall, fresh off the vine, but honestly there’s only so many one can eat at a time. So it’s important to find ways to preserve these bounties.
Fermentation is hands down my favorite way to preserve food, though it’s not the only reason I ferment. Fermenting is actually one of the best ways to strengthen and populate the good bacteria in our guts.
See, our microbiome is the brain of the body and houses two-thirds of our immune system. The stronger we keep that area, the healthier our bodies will be.
I know the idea of fermenting can be scary- leaving food on counter for days, weeks or months while it grows good bacteria. The key is to keep the food under the salt-water brine, this is creating an anaerobic environment where bad bugs can’t grow. I went through my own set of nerves during my first trials with it. And I’ve had a number of ferments go south as well. Use your eyes and nose, if you see mold or it is smells ‘off’, just toss it.
I’ve been serving these tomatoes at parties the last few weeks and at least one person at each party asked for the recipe for my little effervescent tomatoes.
It really is quite easy, you just need to try it.
Fermented Cherry Tomato Bombs
3 cups firm cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced or chopped onions
2 sliced or chopped garlic cloves
3 tbls salt (I prefer this celtic salt for my ferments)
4 cups water
Add-ins: fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, coriander seeds, peppercorns, hot peppers.
->Make the brine by slightly warming and stirring the water and salt over low heat, just enough to dissolve the salt.
->Use a pin or sharp pairing knife to make a tiny poke in each tomato. This allows the brine to get inside.
->Place any seeds at the bottom of a quart-sized jar, then layer in the tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs.
->Pour the brine over the tomatoes, making sure to cover them completely.
->Use a fermentation weight to keep the tomatoes under the brine, and cover the jar with a cheese cloth or light towel with a rubber band to help it stay in place. Or top off the jar with a ziplock bag partially filled with water (this will serve as a weight to hold down the tomatoes).
->Put in a cool and dark corner to ferment for about a week, maybe two.
Taste them along the way. When the tomatoes are ready, they will burst with a champagne like effervescence when you bite into them.
->Add a lid to the jar and store in the refrigerator.
*The key to fermenting is to create an anaerobic environment, so keep food under the brine.
*If mold develops, it’s best to throw it out, sterilize the jar and start over.
*Use firm tomatoes, even under ripe tomatoes are perfect for this recipe.
*Don’t use iodized table salt. Pink Himalayan or sea salt are other great options.