Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lacto-Fermented Costa Rican Chilero

It has been a while since I’ve shared any new lacto-fermented recipes, but I’ve got a delicious one for you today!

I came across this chilero mixture at the San Ramon Feria from the organic stand a few months ago and we were hooked on that stuff. Of course, they pickled the chilero with white vinegar, so Jon urged me to make some chilero and lacto-ferment it to see if it would come out just as good or better.

Amazingly, on the first try, the lacto-fermented chilero came out better than the chilero we bought from the feria. Why shouldn’t it? Raw, living food shouts with pure goodness and makes our guts scream for more! LOL!

The spicy, sweet flavor was so addicting that we ate up the chilero in one meal! Yeah, it was that good! We were having baked potatoes and the chilero was the “cherry on top”… everybody loved it… even my girls were begging for more! I had to literally take the jar away to save what little was left so I could show you guys… which explains the pictures. LOL!

Costa Rican Chilero

  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 meduim yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cayenne or jalapeƱo peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp whey (don’t have it? add 1 tbsp sea salt)
  • filtered water
Combine carrots, onion, peppers, garlic and scoop into a quart jar. Gently push down.

Mix together sea salt and whey. Pour into the jar.

Add enough water to cover the veggies. Make sure there’s at least one inch between the veggies and the top of the jar.

Cover tightly with either an airlock or regular sealed lid.

Keep at room temperature and out of light for 3 days before opening.

Store it in a cool place and out of light (pantry, basement or fridge).

Like all ferments... the longer you leave it, the better the flavors will become. If you are a little scared to start fermenting your food... read How You Can Benefit From Lacto-Fermented Foods! This Chilero is super EASY and a great start on your road to exploring lacto-fermenting. Enjoy and have a great day!


UPDATE: I know I missed the Lacto-fermented Blog carnival by Sustainable Eats, but I figure it would be better late then never. I'll be entering all my LF recipes along with the one. Check out all the recipes that other bloggers have posted! There are some great stuff there.


  1. I have been meaning to experiment with fermented food for some time now. this recipe looks like a great place to start

  2. Sounds wonderful! Costa Rican anything would be wonderful, though. Pura Vida! :)

  3. This is great as I have all the ingredients. Thanks Mare.

  4. Yummy!
    I am pretty new site and I love what you are doing. What a momma you are!!!

  5. I can't wait to try this when the chiles are in season! Thanks so much for submitting this and your other LF recipes.


  6. Really outstanding blog! Recipes that even Costaricans doesnt prepare anymore...

    Lovely pictures too...keep up the good work!

    visit mine if you want:)

    Thanks and Regards!

  7. Hi! Just wanted to say I enjoy your blogs, recipes and your sharing your lovely family with us! I have to say I love this chillero recipe...made it 3 times now...delicious! But I had to share what happened the third time I made this. I was always careful about leaving the headspace in the top of the jar. But this time I kinda over stuffed it leaving about a half an inch. Sealed it tight covered it and checked it twice a day. Well, day 3 I checked it and noticed my lid was a little bulgy... I tried to open the jar but it was TIGHT. I went to work figuring I'd refrigerate it when I got home... well IT BURST! All that live action goin' on!! So I will never do that again! So friends, make room for the gas!!! I was able to save the contents... the bottom of the jar broke. Just put a little more whey and water in it and put it in the frig. Live and learn!!! :o)

  8. I think this is a fantastic recipe and I am going to try it. Have been making all kinds of fermented cucumber pickles, kraut and kimchi. Super fun stuff! I am a bit concerned that this recipe calls for putting a tight lid on the jar though for 2 reasons: Cutting off the oxygen source for the fermentation could create an environment which encourages anaerobic bacteria to grow (ie botulism). Also fermentation results in gasses which can turn a glass jar into a bomb. I would suggest possibly covering the jar with a nice dish towel while it sits at room temperature instead of putting a lid on it. This has the added benefit of cutting the light out. You might also find a way to weight the mixture down inside the jar to keep it under the brine. Hey I am off to put this recipe together thanks!

    1. Hello! I understand your concern, but I did the tight lid method for a long time and have never had a problem with explosions or bacteria. From what I've read and learned... letting in oxygen is a no-no and will actually allow mold to grow along with unfriendly bacteria.

      I now use the an airlock now with all my ferments and HIGHLY recommend it. The flavor is superb and consistent. Simply LOVE it!

      Hope you enjoy the Chilero... it is a favorite of ours!

    2. Fermentation produces acids, in this case lactic acids, which inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as botulism. Botulism only became a problem with the advent of canning several hundred years ago. If fermentation favored the bacteria responsible for botulism humans would have died out long ago. Anyone saying otherwise needs to review basic biology and history.


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