Habanero Salsa (fermented)


a spicy, fermented Habanero Salsa by myheartbeets.com

I’m fairly risk-averse. I’d never go sky-diving or bungee jumping. The most adventurous thing I’ve done is white water rafting (something I actually really enjoy) and even then, I’m always ridiculously nervous before I go. But when it comes to food, I’m a different person. I am daring. I’m glad for it too, because otherwise, I would have never come up with this habanero salsa. It’s one of the best salsa’s I’ve had – made with fresh ingredients and a unique blend of spices.

I’ve also gone a step further and have fermented this salsa, which means it’ll last for months in my fridge. By fermenting, I just mean I left it on my counter for 2 days, then stuck it in the fridge. Doing this allows good bacteria (lactic acid bacteria – aka – probiotics) to thrive. Eating fermented foods can help improve digestive health and gut health. It’s also a traditional method of food preservation. By fermenting the salsa, I’ve increased its shelf life, which means I can eat this homemade salsa when tomatoes are no longer in season (you can read this to learn more about lacto-fermentation). If you don’t want to ferment yours, that’s absolutely okay – this habanero salsa also tastes awesome when eaten immediately too.

To spice this salsa, I used the usual suspects as well as one unusual suspect. The usuals: cumin, fine sea salt (you must use good quality salt if fermenting), and freshly ground black pepper. The unusual: smoked paprika. Smoked paprika gives this salsa extra oomph. It’s good, so don’t leave it out!

And finally, for heat – I add one habanero. I use the seeds (I know, I’m living on the edge…) and it makes for a perfectly spicy salsa – the kind of heat that will keep you from finishing the jar in one sitting. You can remove the seeds if you want, or use an entirely different hot pepper altogether (jalapeño, serrano, etc) but I have to tell you, habanero peppers have a flavor all their own and I just love the flavor that a habanero gives this salsa.

If you’re a fan of habaneros, make my habanero chili after you try this salsa.

Habanero Salsa (fermented)

a spicy, fermented Habanero Salsa by myheartbeets.com

Habanero Salsa (fermented)

5 from 1 review
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  • 8-10 to matoes roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 habanero minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt add more if needed, do not add less if fermenting
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns


  • Add the tomatoes to a food processor and chop until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  • Next, add the onion, cilantro, habanero, garlic and lime juice to your food processor. Blend to desired consistency and pour this into the bowl with the tomatoes.
  • Add the spices to the bowl and combine well.
  • Transfer the salsa mixture into two 1-quart mason jars and close the lid tightly.
  • If fermenting, leave this salsa on the counter for 2-3 days, then transfer the jar to the fridge where it will last for a few months. If not fermenting, eat this salsa within a week.


If you do not have a food processor, you can use your blender or chop by hand. If chopping by hand, make sure your salsa has enough liquid to cover the vegetables if you decide to ferment.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist or a doctor, so I can’t give you any expert health or medical advice. I’m just a food blogger who likes to eat. The information on my blog should not be construed as professional medical advice.  You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. If you have any health concerns, contact your physician or another health care professional.

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Mac says

    so you just put the mixture in the jar and it ferments in two days? No cooking or weighting down the salsa, no followers?

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