Antioxidant-Rich Pickl-It Tomato Salsa

Image Tomato Salsa

One of my most memorable presents was an Instamatic -  my first camera - given to me on my 10th birthday.  

Good news! I loved the camera!

Bad news! I photographed everything and everyone!

My parents wisely created a budget, setting a limit - one roll of black and white  film per week.  Black and white?! 

I felt blind during the first few rolls of film, as if I was photographing the inside of a cave.  

Gradually, my "vision" returned and I saw my once-brilliant colored-sunsets and fluorescent-flowers in a new way, appreciating the beauty of their lines, shading, shadows, angles, shapes and texture printed on black and white prints, portraying their beauty in a way that color never would have.

To change a popular idiom: "The design is in the details." 

I now view the design of real food - local-food, grown in mineral and bacteria-rich soil - in the same way.

Grocery-store displays with their brilliant-color, perfect-skin, blemish-free produce, no longer distract, persuade or lure me.

Instead, I've rolled my focus to what really matters.  I buy predominantly local-produce grown in mineral-rich soil by farmers who understand that they are first, and foremost, farming microbes.  Their crops, whatever they may be, erupt from those microbes.  In return, I'm provided with molecular-level nutrients hidden in the cells of brilliantly-hued tomatoes, carrots, red-bell peppers, that sustain my life and that of my precious family.

To date, food chemists have identified over 8,000 polyphenol compounds in fruits and vegetables, responsible for sensory characteristics such as flavor, aroma, and astringency, in addition to color. 

Flavonoids are the largest family of polyphenolic compounds; that is why the words "polyphenols" and "flavonoids" sometimes may be used interchangeably. All flavonoids are polyphenols; polyphenols are not necessarily flavonoids.

Plants produce flavonoids as a protection against parasites, oxidative injury and harsh climatic conditions. Flavonoids are further divided in several subclasses: anthocyanins, flavanols, flavanones, flavonols, flavones and isoflavones.  Polyphenols vs. Flavonoids

Tomato salsa is a great example of how deceptively-simple foods are loaded with powerful, beneficial flavonoids (polyphenols), credited with the ability to stop tumors (described as "chemopreventive activities against carcinogenesis and mutagenesis"), reduce inflammation, and serve as strong antioxidants, slowing down aging.  

Anaerobic-fermentation increases polyphenolic antioxidant capabilities.

The key word is "anaerobic".  If wishes were fishes, you won't achieve anaerobic-conditions with a mason jar, no matter how tight you crank down on the lid.

And "open-crock" ferments"?  There's nothing traditional about allowing waves of oxygen into your fermenting foods, unless you are creating vinegar.

"Several microbial species, including probiotic lactic acid bacteria, have the ability to irreversibly bind a large variety of polyphenols (flavonoids) and anthocyanidins found in many colored fruits and vegetables and to enhance their total oxidant-scavenging capacities (TOSC).

 The possibility is considered that clinically, microbial cells in the oral cavity and in the gastro intestinal tract, complexed with antioxidant polyphenols from nutrients and with cationic ligands, might increase the protection of mammalian cells against damage induced by excessive generation of reactive oxygen species during infections and inflammation."  PubMed

Lactic acid bacteria need protection from oxygen, in order to grow, thrive, and "bind a large variety of polyphenols and anthrocyanidins".   If oxygen is allowed into the anaerobic ferment? Lactic acid bacteria are neutralized, and along with them, a large number of oxygen-labile nutrients  - Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K,  tocopherol or Vitamin E, and selenium - die.

The Pickl-It is extremely efficient at creating an anaerobic-environment which protects and preserves a wide-range of oxygen-labile nutrients.  

I pray you never look at salsa, the same way again.  

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Image Tomato SalsaAntioxidant-Rich Pickl-It Tomato Salsa

  • 4-cups diced tomato
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1-1/2 cups minced onion (yellow, white, or spring onions; or any combination)
  • 2-4 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 5-grams salt
  • 1/4-tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4-tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2-finely minced, seeded jalapeno
  • zest of 1/2-lime or lemon 
  • juice of 1/2-lime or lemon
  • 1/8-teaspoon Caldwell Starter Culture*
  1. Prepare all ingredients, adding to a medium-sized bowl. 
  2. Lightly toss together then spoon them into a 1-Liter Pickl-It.
  3. There's no need to hold ingredients under the brine with a Dunk'R
  4. Lock Pickl-It lid. Add 1-1/2 tablespoon water into airlock; snap on plastic airlock lid. 
  5. Place on kitchen counter (wrap towel around sides, to block UV-light). 
  6. Ferment at room temperature for a minimum of 18-hours, up to 2-days.
  7. Devour.  


* Caldwell Starter Culture - If you're uncertain as to the origins of your food, how it was raised, what type of soil was used, if it was exposed to synthetic herbicides and pesticides, sprayed with fungicides, etc., you would be wise to use the one and only broad-spectrum Caldwell Starter Culture, created from anaerobic, lacto-fermented, organic vegetables.   Caldwell adds necessary lactic acid bacteria that may be missing from your food.  All other starter cultures are the same narrow-spectrum used by the food-processing industry.  Only Caldwell contains a full-range of lactic acid bacteria.

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To Learn More Graphic





History of Salsa

Grapeseed Polyphenols May Prevent Alzheimers

Definition of Flavonoid

Polyphenols vs. Flavonoids

Polyphenol Biochemistry

Plant Phenolics: Extraction, Analysis and Their Antioxidant and Anticancer Properties - Open Source Abstract: Abstract: Phenolics are broadly distributed in the plant kingdom and are the most abundant secondary metabolites of plants. Plant polyphenols have drawn increasing attention due to their potent antioxidant properties and their marked effects in the prevention of various oxidative stress associated diseases such as cancer. In the last few years, the identification and development of phenolic compounds or extracts from different plants has become a major area of health- and medical-related research. This review provides an updated and comprehensive overview on phenolic extraction, purification, analysis and quantification as well as their antioxidant properties. Furthermore, the anticancer effects of phenolics in-vitro and in-vivo animal models are viewed, including recent human intervention studies. Finally, possible mechanisms of action involving antioxidant and pro-oxidant activity as well as interference with cellular functions are discussed.