Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Long Lasting Salsa and 12 Reasons to Eat Hot Peppers


The following salsa's longevity is due to its lacto-fermentation. Lacto-fermentation is a way of preserving food using friendly, pro-biotic bacteria that both extend its shelf life, produce enzymes, and increase the bio-availability of the food's nutrients hundreds of times. It is a traditional, time-honored, and healthful way of preserving foods.

LACTO-FERMENTED SALSA:

Makes 1 quart

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (use heirloom from the local Farmer's market whenever available)

2 small onions, finely chopped

3/4 c. chopped chile pepper, hot or mild

6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

juice of 2 lemons

1 T. sea salt

4 T. whey from homemade yogurt or an additional 1 T. sea salt

1/4 c. filtered or spring water

Mix all ingredients and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Press down lightly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer, adding more water if necessary to cover the vegetables. The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to cold storage. Enjoy!

Source:  Nourishing Traditions:  The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph. D.


Why Eat Salsa Anyway.... ?
 
If you're a lover of spicy foods, I have good news for you: The spice in your foods benefits your health in multiple ways!

Hot peppers containing capsaicin, such as chile peppers or cayenne peppers-

  • Are rich in a host of nutrients, including beta-carotene, eye-friendly cartenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and vitamin C.
  • Are rich in a host of minerals, including potassium, folic acid, and iron.
  •  Increase your levels of endorphins, boosting your mood.
  •  Help you feel more alert.
  • Enhance your circulation.
  • Have the ability to lower your body temperature by stimulating the cooling center of the hypothalamus in your brain. Peppers play a major part in helping tropical cultures get relief from high temperatures.
  • Aid digestion and stimulate the appetite
  • Do not actually irritate the stomach (as commonly believed), but prevent ulcers by killing bacteria and stimulating the lining of the stomach to secrete powerful protective juices.
  • Reduce the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and platelet aggregation, as well as increasing fibrinolystic activity (the ability to prevent the formation of blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism). In fact, people in cultures who eat large amounts of cayenne pepper have much lower rates of the aforementioned diseases.
  • Combat the common cold and sinus infections by stimulating the mucus membranes of the nose and sinuses.
  • Are excellent scavengers of free radicals.
Sources:
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, P.h.D., C.N.S. 
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, N.D.

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