Makes 1 quart
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 small onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped Chile pepper, hot or mild
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey (if not available use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
1/4 cup filtered 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.
**Ketchup provides us with an excellent example of a condiment that was formerly fermented and therefore health promoting, but whose benefits were lost with large scale canning methods and a reliance on sugar rather than lactic acid as a preservative. The word "ketchup" derives form the Chinese Amoy dialect ke-tsiap or pickled fish-brine or sauce, the universal condiment of the antcient world.