This Herbalist's Fermented Cranberry Salsa Is Gut-Healing & Tasty
Cranberries are a classic example of how food serves as medicine. We've all heard cranberry juice suggested for bladder complaints, such as urinary tract infections. But, my friends, store-bought cranberry juice often just isn't the best answer because of the added sugar. If you are up for drinking a few shots of tart cranberry juice to relieve urinary tract discomfort, more power to you. But this spicy, tangy, fruity salsa is a perfect treat. It also brings even more medicinal benefits, including ginger, which is traditionally used by herbalists for pelvic complaints. The yogurt whey is optional; some fermentation purists argue that it is unnecessary, but I personally like the results.
Serve this salsa with corn chips or over grilled chicken, pork or even labneh—a cheese made from strained yogurt—or with cream cheese.
Fermented Cranberry Salsa
Makes 1 generous pint (about 500 g)
- 1 (12-oz. [340-g]) package fresh cranberries
- 1 to 3 jalapeños, minced
- 2 tbsp. (12 g) finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp. (28 ml) fresh lime juice
- Zest of 1 lime
- ¼ cup (60 ml) whey drained from organic yogurt (optional—see my herbalist tips below)
- ½ cup (170 g) raw honey
- 100% cranberry juice or distilled water, as needed to cover
- ¼ cup (12 g) sliced scallions
- ¼ cup (4 g) fresh cilantro leaves, minced
- Sea salt, to taste
- In a food processor, pulse the cranberries until they are well minced. Transfer the cranberries to a medium-size bowl.
- Add the jalapeños, ginger, lime juice and zest, whey, if using, and honey. Mix thoroughly.
- Pack the mixture firmly into a quart-size (940-ml) glass jar. After a few hours, the juice should cover the mixture; if there is not enough juice, add cranberry juice to cover. Cover the jar with several layers of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band or with an airlock lid.
- Ferment the salsa at room temperature for 7 to 10 days, tasting after about 5 days for preference. When you are satisfied with the fermentation, mix in the scallions, cilantro, and sea salt to taste.
- Serve immediately or store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- I like to add the scallions and cilantro just before serving to add freshness to the fermented salsa.
- To gather the whey used in this recipe, drain plain, unflavored yogurt in a fine-mesh sieve lined with muslin or cheesecloth, over a bowl. The whey collected in the bowl is an excellent source of lactic acid bacteria, which promote fermentation. The thickened yogurt can be used as Greek yogurt or drained further for a cream-cheese-like consistency. This process can take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the desired consistency.
Recipe excerpted from The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen by Devon Young. Reprinted with permission from Page Street Publishing Co., 2019.
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