Fermenting Peppers For Hot Sauce

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Fermented Hot Sauce Method

How To Ferment And Make Your Own Hot Sauce, Easily

1. Clean and destem your choice of fresh hot pepper or hot pepper medley. Prepare any other ingrdients: garlic, onion, fruit, herbs, etc.2. Grind everything together in a food processor or blender. Add a bits of water as necessary to get a fully purred slurry to a nice slushy consistency.3. Stir in salt for a 3% brine, so thats about 1-3 tablespoons per a quart of slurry.4. Ferment with lid on or off according to preference. I like to do the lid on and burp it every few days to keep the weird films from developing on the surface. Without a lid make sure to stir it up every few days.5. Ferment to your preference, maybe 1 week, maybe a few months. Pack it away in the fridge to store when or cap it at room temperature with a snug twist sealing lid.

Whats The Best Way To Preserve Homemade Hot Sauce Can It Freeze It

If youd like to preserve your hot sauce for longer storage, you can either freeze it or process it in a waterbath canner . A caveat here: the beneficial bacteria created in the fermented version will be killed off by the high heat from the canning process. Itll still be delicious, it just wont add any probiotics into your diet.

Can I Ferment Frozen Peppers

Whether youre trying to save your frozen peppers from freezer burn or have an abundance in your freezer, fermenting is a wonderful way to make use of your peppers. Before fermenting frozen peppers, you should let them thaw out completely.

You can let them sit at room temperature for an hour or two, or you can put them in a bath of lukewarm water for around 30 minutes until the flesh is soft and is at room temperature. After thawing, you should let the peppers sit on a towel or a cooling rack to let the extra water drain off.

You should not microwave or heat frozen peppers before fermentation, though, since peppers that thaw too quickly may become mushy, and their skin may harden, making them no fun to eat.

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Consider Some Support Players

Some fermented hot sauces include supplemental ingredients in the initial fermentation step. You can add virtually any ingredient, from sweet fruits like berries and melons to vegetables and aromatics such as carrots, beets, garlic, and onions. Often, these additions are intended to balance the flavor and heat of the sauce. Heres a quick rundown:

Fruits or Vegetables

Fruits or vegetables are useful for tempering aggressive heat, lending sweetness or vegetal flavors. Carrots, citrus, or berries are great examples. These ingredients are teeming with surface lactic acid bacteria, and are rich in natural sugar, which drives fermentation furter.


Ingredients like garlic or spices can bring more complexity to your hot sauce. Fresh garlic also helps fermentation, because its rich in surface lactic acid bacteria. Cumin, cinnamon, or coriander are great choices too: Their harsh, raw flavor melds over time as fermentation progresses.

For those concerned about garlic and botulism, lets be clear: well be using airlocks to ferment the hot sauces. This means that theres oxygen involved that will gradually be replaced by carbon dioxide. High concentrations of carbon dioxide are inhibitory to Clostridium botulinum paired with the low pH produced by LAB fermentation, theres no reason to worry about contamination and food safety.

Pre-Fermented Products

How To Make Fermented Hot Sauce:

Sweet &  Spicy Pepper Fermented Hot Sauce

Step one: Fill a 2-quart jar with any type of fresh hot chili, onions, garlic and thinly sliced carrot. You can use bell peppers to temper the hot chilis if you want a milder version. Just stick with the same color palette so your fermented hot sauce stays colorful and vibrant.

In this recipe, I used Padrone Peppers, a Spanish variety that had turned red, which I found at our farmers market. But feel free to use any kind you want or a blend. Youll need about 1 pound in total.

Step two: Make a saltwater brine, using 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, per cup of warm water.

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How To Avoid Freezer Burn

Freezer burn can be avoiding by wrapping the peppers tight and not allowing air to enter. This can be difficult to do if you are just wrapping the peppers in tin foil and placing them in a bag. Vacuum sealing is a great way to reduce the air inside a bag to freeze hot peppers for a long time.

Proper vacuum sealed frozen hot pepperscan last 4 to 5 times longer than peppers that are not vacuum sealed. A fully functioning vacuum sealer can be purchased for under $100.00 and can have multiple uses in the kitchen. Heres the FoodSaver FM 2000 from Walmart or the KOIOS 80 kpa at this link to Amazon.

What’s The Best Way To Preserve Homemade Hot Sauce Can It Freeze It

If you’d like to preserve your hot sauce for longer storage, you can either freeze it or process it in a waterbath canner . A caveat here: the beneficial bacteria created in the fermented version will be killed off by the high heat from the canning process. It’ll still be delicious, it just won’t add any probiotics into your diet.

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What Should Fermented Peppers Taste Like

Fermented peppers taste sour, vinegary, salty, and spicy. Some people compare the taste of fermented peppers to wine, beer, kimchi, or sauerkraut. Peppers have a unique, tangy flavor that they bring to fermentation, and its hard to find anything that tastes like them.

If you use a starter to ferment your peppers, the starter can add a different flavor to your peppers. Usually, peppers fermented with yeast have a bit more of an alcoholic, beer-like taste. Dairy-fermented peppers that use yogurt whey or dairy probiotics generally taste sweeter and have a bitter aftertaste.

If you want your home-fermented peppers to have the best taste, you may want to buy a vegetable culture starter like Caldwells Starter Culture for Fresh Vegetables. Vegetable fermentation starters are excellent for producing fermented peppers since they dont add an aftertaste to the finished product.

Using a marketed vegetable starter can also help you reduce the chances of infection, so if youre interested in making a lot of fermented peppers and keeping them healthy, a vegetable starter is the way to go.

Fermented Hot Sauce Tips

How to Make Fermented Hot Sauce & Pickled Peppers | The Fermentation Adventure
  • Wash your fermenting vessel/jar and weight really well with hot water before use to minimize germs as much as you can. We often boil a kettle of water and pour in the jar to sanitize before making ferments.
  • If youre worried about your sauce being too spicy, you can add a sweet bell pepper to the mix to tone down the heat. I also add a chopped carrot to my sauce! Customize it to your liking.
  • Wear gloves while chopping the hot peppers. Unless youre too lazy like me, and you dont mind feeling a tingling sensation on your skin for the next couple of days .
  • Since you will likely have some spicy salty brine left over, use it! Its great in homemade salad dressings and marinades. We marinated some chicken pieces in the leftover brine and grilled them, then topped with more hot sauce. Divine!

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Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe

  • 8 cups hot peppers, such as red or green Jalapeno, Serrano, Habonero, or Cayenne peppers
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 quart cool, un-chlorinated water
  • Optional: 1/4 yellow onion, or up to 6 garlic cloves
  • Optional: Apple Cider Vinegar, at the time of blending

Oh, beware. Beware not the fiery bite of the fermented pepper no, beware the compulsion that may seize you, once youve tasted this sauce, to gather peppers by the crate, ferment them by the gallon, blend them and shake them over every meal you eat for the next 11 months. Thats what has happened to many of us here As you can imagine, there are many ways to personalize a recipe as simple as this. Feel free to tinker with it, as you are moved to do.Here is the most basic recipe for fermented Hot sauce. Some ideas for variations include: Adding a quarter of an onion to the batch, or replacing a few jalapenos with a bell pepper, to temper the fiery heat, while keeping the fermented tang. Of course, you can use peppers other than jalapenos, too, but the thinnest peppers may require the addition of another pepper to the mix, in order to have enough sugars for the bacteria to digest.

Makes 1 quart of finished hot sauce, but it can be scaled up infinitely.

What Can You Do With Fermented Peppers

The best part about making your own fermented peppers is that you can use both the peppers and the brine to add extra tang and spice to your food. The brine is sour, vinegary, and tangy, making it a great seasoning for soups, stews, marinades, sauces, and salad dressings. Really, you can add the brine to almost anything to give your food a peppery, delicious flavor.

The most popular use for fermented peppers is in homemade hot sauce. If you want to make hot sauce from your fermented peppers, all you have to do is let them ferment and then blend them or process them in a food processor. Fermented pepper hot sauce is incredibly delicious if you add garlic, cilantro, onions, or lime juice to your fermentation mix. So, if you want to design and make your own hot sauce, nothing is stopping you now.

Fermented peppers are also excellent in all kinds of dishes. They make a great snack, especially when paired with cheese and crackers. You can add fermented peppers to tacos, burritos, meatloaf, marinades, salads, vegetable mixes, stir-fries, ramen, soups, stews, salsa, noodles, rice, and so much more.

You can also use the juice from fermented peppers as a starter to ferment more peppers. Since you can re-use the fermented brine to make more peppers, once you have started fermenting peppers, its very simple to make more.

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Why Do You Ferment Hot Sauce Is Fermented Hot Sauce Better

Lets talk fermented vs. unfermented hot sauce. As far as health benefits, fermented sauce is so much better for you than the vinegar-y heat processed kind.

This is because all the beneficial bacteria and heat-sensitive vitamin C are killed during the canning process with all the vinegar and boiling at high temps.

In contrast, fermenting the peppers actually enhances their vitamin content AND increases all the gut-friendly probiotics. Double win!

The lactic acid present during the fermentation process safely and naturally preserves the food, keeping bad bacteria from forming.

A lot of people also love the complex flavor of fermented hot sauce. It really has a rich, incredible taste. Whereas store-bought hot sauce is extremely vinegar-y , fermented hot sauce really allows the taste of the peppers to shine through.

This post is sponsored by Pure Flavor. All opinions are 100% my own.

How To Avoid A Pellicle

Killer Hot Sauce  I like to play with my food.

For this recipe, I used about 3.4% total salt concentration. Im usually able to avoid pellicle growth completely by increasing the salt concentration of the pepper fermentation. Peppers can be fermented with up to a 10% total salt concentration, but I think thats too high. Ive tried a few peppers fermented at 6% and I never had pellicle growth with a total salt concentration of 6%. The yeasts simply do not tolerate such high salt concentrations.

This, of course, is a much saltier pepper ferment. However, the peppers come out more sour and this is perfect for hot sauce! I like to blend the higher salt fermented peppers with fresh onion, a few different types of fresh peppers, and apple cider vinegar for a perfect hot sauce!

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How To Make Fermented Hot Sauce

This fermented hot sauce will use 4 basic ingredients: Peppers , garlic, kosher salt, and water. You may add sugar or other flavorings to your liking.

  • Prepare The Peppers.

    Wash and dry your hot peppers. Cut off the tops and slice the peppers lengthwise. Remove seeds . You can also slice the peppers into smaller pieces, but it is not necessary. Always wear gloves when handling spicy peppers!

  • Sterilize The Jars.

    If you are using a brand new jar, it should be pre-sterilized. However, if you are using an older jar you should boil the jars in a large pot for 10 minutes to ensure the jars are clean. Remove jars from boiling water and allow to full dry on a drying rack.

  • Fill The Jars.

    Add the garlic and peppers to the jars. For this recipe, we are filling our jar with peppers to about 24 oz before adding liquid. Tip: Always put the smaller items first, as they have a tendency to float.

  • Add Salt to Dry Peppers.

    For a normal-sized ball jar , use 1 tbsp of kosher or sea salt. Shake the salt and peppers briefly to coat, and then allow to sit for 3-4 hours. This will bring moisture out of the peppers and help initiate the fermentation process.

  • Cover With Water.

    It is important that the peppers and garlic are all submerged in water. If any parts peak above the surface, you may encounter mold. To keep peppers submerged, use a long pepper to tuck underneath either side of the lip of the jar. Or, use fermentation weights .

  • Salt Ratio For Fermentation:

    Having the right proportion of salt to water is important. Not enough salt may allow unhealthy bacteria to grow. Too much salt will kill all the bacteria and the chilies wont ferment. If you need to add more water to the jar, then add salt accordingly.

    Use 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt per 1 cup of water.

    Here I used 5 cups of water, so I added 1 1/4 teaspoon salt x 5 cups water = roughly 6 1/4 teaspoons of fine ground sea salt. Heating the water slightly helps the salt dissolve.

    Step Three: Combine! Pour the saltwater brine over the chilies and push them down so they are completely submerged under the brine.

    Step Four: Weigh down the chilies. You can use a fermentation weight, like this version that I really like, that will fit perfectly into a mason jar, to keep everything submerged.

    Or in a pinch, a zip lock bag filled with water can be used as a weight, just place this over top.

    The water in the bag will be work as the fermentation weight here.

    Here you can see Im working on a mild green hot sauce which is in the fermenting phase still.

    Step Five: Place a lid on top-leaving it loose. You want the fermentation gasses to be able to escape while keeping creatures out. A couple of layers of cheesecloth also works here.

    Step Six: Place the jar in a bowl or pan to catch any liquid that may spill over, and place it in a cool dark place, like a basement. If you dont have a basement, or dark cool place, a lower cupboard in the kitchen is an option.

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    Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce Recipe

    I used to be a total hot sauce hater. I didn’t get why people would douse their food in something so spicy that you couldn’t taste anything else!

    My tune was changed a few years back when I was gifted a more mild hot sauce that was bursting with layered flavor. It tasted vinegary. It tasted sweet. And of course, it tasted spicy. Suddenly, I was a total hot sauce convert!

    Now, we rarely have a meal where there isn’t a hot sauce bottle on the table . In fact, we love hot sauce so much, I’ve taken to making my own! This started off as a fun project to use up a bounty of peppers from a garden, and turned into a homemade hot sauce delicious enough to package up and give for gifts!

    Raw Fermented Hot Pepper Sauce

    Making Fermented Pepper HOT Sauce!

    We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. This post may contain special links through which we earn a small commission if you make a purchase .

    Tangy, spicy and full of gut-friendly probiotics, this raw lacto-fermented hot pepper sauce will kick your favorite foods up a notch . Try it on eggs, roasted veggies, tacos, grilled meats, and more!

    Once upon a time, I had a recipe for something called hot pepper salad.

    Why was it called hot pepper salad? I don’t know! Salads are typically cold and made with fresh veggies This was a chunky canned concoction.

    In addition to its confusing moniker, it had 3 cups of white sugar and Accent seasoning .

    Despite all of this, I loved it! But then I learned about Real Food, and couldn’t justify eating it anymore until I made my own!

    Out with the old, in with the new!

    In this case, new being tangy, spicy, fermented goodness! And if you have a hard time waiting for your veggies to ferment , good news: it takes just a couple days!

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    How To Make Different Types Of Hot Sauce Flavors

    You can make your sauce as mild or hot as you like. Here are some pepper combination ideas. One of Andreys patients gave him naga viper and scorpion peppers, so thats how we came across those pictured above! I think you will need a farmer friend who is a hot pepper enthusiast to get your hands of some of those crazy peppers.

    Extra mild:

    • 1/3 paprika, 1/3 cherry bombs and 1/3 ancho


    • 1/3 jalapeno, 1/3 cherry bomb and 1/3 thai chili
    • other peppers to use: poblano, serrano, chipotle


    • 1/4 jalapeno and 3/4 habanero
    • 1/4 poblano and 3/4 cayenne


    • all habanero with 3-4 extremely hot peppers like naga viper, scorpion, ghost, or Carolina Reaper

    they just sound scary, yikes!

    There you have it DIY hot pepper sauce that is going to blow any store bought sauce out of the park! I particularly like the fermented sauce because it does not rely on vinegar as a preservative. I dont know about you, but I dont like overly vinegary-flavored hot sauces. So this recipe eliminates that flavor and replaces it with some good funk instead. Its good. Trust me.

    P.S. This sauce would be an excellent homemade gift. How cool!

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