Fermented Green Chile Recipe

Keep this recipe on hand for preserving peppers—green chiles, poblanos, and jalapeños—and for quickly assembling a pot of chili.

From "Fiery Ferments"
August/September 2017

  • The Fermented Green Chile Base is mild and uses the three most common peppers in Southwestern cooking.
    Photo by Kirsten K. Shockey.
  • "Fiery Ferments," from Storey Publishing, features a wide variety of pepper ferments that feature a variety of peppers.
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing/Lara Ferroni.

Yield: 2 to 2-1/2 quarts

This recipe for preserving peppers uses the three most common chiles in Southwestern cooking, and it’s wonderfully convenient to have on hand whenever you make chili; the flavorful chile peppers, vegetables, and spices are already prepared and ready to add to the pot. The batch size seems large, but you’ll use at least 1 to 2 cups per meal. For about 45 minutes of work, you’ll have 6 to 8 future pots of chili.

We wanted this recipe to be perfect for a family meal — a hint of heat to add some excitement to the dish, but not so much that children or non-heat-lovers would feel smoked out. For more heat, feel free to increase the jalapeños and reduce the green chiles and poblano peppers. Yield: 2 to 2-1⁄2 quarts. Heat index: Mild.

Fermented Green Chile Base


• 8 poblano chiles, stemmed and seeded
• 8 green chiles, stemmed and seeded
• 8 jalapeños, stemmed and seeded
• 8 large cloves garlic
• 2 large onions, roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp whole coriander seed, roasted and crushed
• 2 tbsp whole cumin seed, roasted and crushed
• 1 generous tbsp salt


1. Combine the poblanos, green chiles, jalapeños, garlic, onions, coriander seed, and cumin seed in a food processor and process until roughly chopped, or dice everything by hand. Sprinkle in the salt.

2. Pack the mash into jars, pressing out any air pockets as you go. Leave about 1 inch of headspace. You should see some brine above the pepper pulp. Screw the lids down tightly.

3. Set the jars aside to ferment, out of direct sunlight, for 10 to 14 days or as long as 3 months. For the first week or two, check daily to make sure the mash is submerged. (Tiny air pockets in the ground pulp will make it float on top of the brine. Just “burp” out the carbon dioxide as needed, momentarily loosening the lid and gently shaking the jar when you see separation.) Start tasting the ferment on Day 10. It’ll be ready when it has an acidic, vinegar-like quality.

4. Store this ferment in the refrigerator, where it will keep for 12 months.

Find recipes and more about preserving peppers in Fermented Salsas for Preserving Peppers.

Kirsten K. Shockey and co-author Christopher Shockey live on a 40-acre homestead in Oregon, where they’ve created over 40 varieties of cultured vegetables and krauts and have focused their efforts on teaching the art of fermentation. The recipes in this article are excerpted from Fiery Ferments, available in our online store, and are used with permission of Storey Publishing.

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