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Making Fermented Hot Sauce at Home

| 5/14/2020 11:16:00 AM

 Jars of Fermented Hot Sauce

As the last jars of fermented hot sauce from the last season come to an end I feel compelled to share the successes and failures in the hopes that readers that have not already, will do some experimenting of their own. First off I am certainly not a fermentation expert. There are many good books out there, and internet resources, on fermentation. I found the idea of fermentation compelling because of the health benefits, and also daunting because there is so much to know. The process I am sharing with you is very simple and safe; but, of course you must apply your good common sense when it comes to food. 

This process began last year with the growing season. We chose a variety of hot peppers that turn red upon ripening. We did try a batch of green peppers as well with little success. We are an organic farm so our produce is free of chemicals and pesticides. You will want to harvest the peppers when they are at their ripest point; but, are also free from rot. I like to choose peppers that are free of blemishes and bites. If your water system is chlorinated you will want to seek out some non chlorinated water to rinse the peppers in. It is not necessary to scrub the peppers as some natural yeasts on the fruits assist the fermentation process. 

Place your peppers in a sterile jar so that they are two inches below the rim. You can choose to put the peppers in whole, cut the tops only, or you can slice them in half. If you leave a way for the water to get to the inside of the pepper they will ferment faster. Then fill the jar with non chlorinated water. Chlorine interferes with the beneficial bacteria that aids lacto fermentation. I use spring water; but, if you use spring water make sure it has been tested to be safe. The next items you add can be very minimal or more extensive depending on how confident you are in the conditions of your ingredients. I typically add a teaspoon of salt per quart of peppers and water and nothing else. You can also add a teaspoon of sugar and vinegar if you choose. Adding sugar and vinegar will aid the speed of the fermentation; but, are not necessary. 

Small Jar Used as a Weight

As you put all of this together you will notice the peppers float to the top exposing themselves to air. It is very important for the peppers to stay submerged, so you will need to weigh them down. Some people use river rocks; however, there is a risk of contaminating your batch if you use the wrong type of rock. Glass weights are also used with a large amount of success; however, they tend to be rather expensive if you are using very many. As I am not a geologist and also not wealthy, I use small glass jars that will fit in the top of my fermentation jars. They are all jars that are used for canning so are easy to get and very reusable. You can lightly set the small jars on top and they will weigh down the peppers.

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