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Jerry’s Tomato Salsa

I have a little gardening secret to share. This spring, I resurrected an ancient tradition that I’ve often read about, often pondered, and often wanted to try. For a long time I have heard that the Native Americans would bury a fish underneath their crops to feed the plant. The fish decays and provides lots of nutrients for the growing crops.

As it happens, in my early days of eating GAPS, fermented fish was on my menu. And this is how I found myself with a jar of rotten fish in the refrigerator at planting time. I suppose that technically the fish was rotten from the day I started eating it, but after a few weeks it was a little overly-rotten and I decided that I should put it to good use by burying it beneath my tomato plants. This has obviously been a brilliant move. I have never had taller, healthier, or more productive plants.

So with the tomatoes rolling out of the garden, there was only one thing to do: make salsa.

I have a lot of salsa recipes, but I never get tired of trying new ones. This one is delicious and I love that it uses both tomatoes and tomatillos.

I had to do some Googling to discover what an Italian pepper was, but once I found it I realized that I had it growing out in the garden! I’ve tried Italian pepper plants for several years and they never do very well (I guess the climate in the Rocky Mountains is a little different from the climate in Italy). But I did have one pepper on the vine that was ripe and I was pleased to put it to good use. If you can’t find an Italian pepper, you can use a sweet bell pepper and dice it very, very fine.

I used this salsa to dress up our favorite beans and rice, and then we ate the leftovers all week long. This makes a big batch, so if you’re not feeding a crowd and you don’t want leftovers, cut it in half.


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Jerry’s Tomato Salsa

Makes 3-4 cups.

Source: The Art of Real Food by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny

Course: Condiments

Cuisine: Mexican

Main Ingredient: Tomato



  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1-3 jalapeno peppers seeds removed
  • 4-6 tomatillos husks removed
  • 6 meaty tomatoes diced
  • 1 yellow onion finely diced
  • 12 green Italian pepper
  • 2 Tbs cilantro coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 14 cup lime juice
  • 12 tsp salt


  1. In a food processor, finely chop garlic and jalapeno peppers. Add tomatillos and chop again. Place mixture in a large bowl, and combine with remaining ingredients. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.
  2. For mild salsa, use 1 jalapeno pepper; for a hotter salsa, use up to 6 jalapeno peppers.

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