My pepper mash is about 5 months old. Just red habaneros in a mason jar, diced very finely, minced, with salt. smells good and ph was like 4.1 a while back.
is this stuff still good? no visible mold.
also - should i boil this before using it to make a sauce?
I think the mash would be fine. Sounds like what a did with many jars this year. I did not boil any of mine and just added some vinegar and limejuice and garlic. Mixed these ingredients up in different combos. I may favorite I think was fatalli/red savina mash with a some vinegar and a little limejuice and little garlic.
Take another pH reading. Just curious... do you store it in the refrigerator?
No, i store it in a dark cupboard at approx 70 degrees.
i ate some tonight, but i microwaved it before i ate it.
I hope i am ok.
check the ph if it is 4.1 or lower you are ok but i would store it in the frig. all i do is par boil my peppers for 3min, put in blender with little salt, garlic a good red wine vinegar blend till it a sauce. I do this every year 35 of them still alive.
let it burn
i'm incredibly pissed off right now. so much work down the toilet. I had like 6 full jars of beautiful red habanero mash that are around 4.5 and 4.7.
How can i make it better next time?
what is the safest way to make a pepper mash? This time i would shake the jars. Is this bad? Should i just throw the peppers in there and leave a layer of salt completely covering the top and never disturb it? The reason i shook them, is one time there was some mold on one, and someone said to shake it and the mold would go away, which it did.
God im pissed. so much work down the toilet. (dicing them, deseeding, cleaning, many months of waiting...
How about next time i dice up the peppers, and mix them with vinegar and tequila. then put a layer of salt on top of the peppers, and simply never touch them. Would this work? Shouldnt the vinegar and tequila help prevent them from going bad? SO PISSED RIGHT NOW.
sorry i had to vent. help!
Sorry for your loss-truly a traumatic event after so much work! Here's a method that has given me 100% success:
1)clean and halve or quarter chiles, packing them not-too-tightly in qt mason jars.
2)cover with vinegar with at least 5% acidity; use a bendable spatula or thinner k-bob stick to 'stir out' any air bubbles; leave 1&1/2 to 2" 'headroom' at the top.
3)put on new, sterile lids; waterbath for at least 15 minutes.
4)WAIT! at least a couple months, a year's better. The sharpness of the vinegar mellows over time and the peppers improve in flavor as well (imho)
5)drain pepper solids, put into blender/food processer. Add just enough of the saved vinegar to make the consistency that you like.
Using this method, every batch has been good, I got great color retention, and wound up with a secondary 'product', the chile-infused vinegar. (try it on cole slaw or in your favorite pickles)
I have not tried the lactic acid fermentation process, the-ol-mcilhenny-salt-on-chiles-in-a-barrel method, etc. so I can't help you with that. But if you don't mind vinegar (you don't seem to), then canning the pods this way should do the trick.
Thank you so much for posting that recipe! I've been interested in making mash this year, but wasn't sure how to go about it. Thank you!
Legsbig, couldn't you add vinegar and/or limejuice to your mash to get the ph down or are they spoiled (not real sure how the all ph stuff works)?
I wouldn't add vinegar to the peppers when making the mash, I don't think they would ferment would they? I think you definently want to shake them every so often and open the jar to release air pressure. I have not been making mash that long but I just cut them up and add salt in jar. You know they are fermenting when you open the jar and you release the air pressure. I do not claim to know much about mashing, I got my knowledge from someone here on this site. Works for me, been making some great sauces with the mash.
Let me clarify things before they get too confusing!
When I can chiles in vinegar, it is to safely preserve them for later use. I am not intending to ferment them in any way. Once canned, the chile pepper solids can be drained and pureed, thus becoming a 'mash'. This is a quick, salt-free way to have a 'pure mash' to add to your favorite recipes.
Lactic acid fermentation (using salt or lactic acid 'starter') is an ancient method of safely preserving low-acid foods for storage. Saurkraut and kimchee are great examples of this. Hobby Farmer definitely has this method down, first time I ever actually liked kimchee!
Many commercial chile mashes are made by partially fermenting then adding vinegar and sometimes more salt to the mash. This stuff is usually very salty and used as a smaller ingredient rather than main ingredient in commercial sauce recipes. McIlhenny puts the chiles in oak barrels and covers the tops with so many inches of rock salt and lets the whole thing ferment. Their website shows the whole process.
So, as I stated before, I have no experience with lactic acid fermentation, YET. Canning chiles in vinegar is just an alternative I suggested to avoid spoilage of a sometimes precious commodity. So sorry for any confusion!
P.S. I have small amts. of my "vinegar mash" for trade from time to time. e-mail anytime....
>> Many commercial chile mashes are made by partially fermenting then adding vinegar and sometimes more salt to the mash. This stuff is usually very salty
Sounds right. Ferment for a while, add vinegar and then go ahead and hot pack water bath or pressure process the mash anyways for safety. And remember that mfgrs have to meet USDA standards.
The goal for me is to ferment the pods with or without salt and have them ready to bottle w/o adding vinegar or having to pressure processes them. A 185Â° hot pack into sterilized equipment may be necessary though. So far for peppers and garlic it is necessary, but not for long I don't think. A major breakthrough is being tested as we speak. Wish me luck.
The whole process as I understand is as follows
1.Process Pepper and mix i gallon to a 1/4 cup Salt
2.Leave it in white oak barrel(Or plastic Barrel) with a small opening.Cover the Opening with salt so that air does not go in.Leave barrel 80% full.(As far as I understand the lid is water tight except for the opening and the opening is covered with salt,Is this correct?)
3.Leave it for months at 70 degrees in dark cellar (I dont know if light would really have any effect).
4.The barrel is not shaken or stirred (Is this correct or Do I need to stir it)for the entire period of fermentation.say six month.Keep Barrel clean.
5.The Salt would have come up to the top forming some kind of a layer.Break and remove this and The liquid below would be the real mash(Is this correct)
5.Test for PH.Does anybody know how much ideal Ph should be?What instrument should I use to measure PH?
6.Mix the mash 1:3 with vinegar and Put in a barrel again for one two months.
Lime and Garlic can be added to this as a flavour.AnyIdea of how much lime and garlic should be added to produce quality product? or its my discretion?
Out comes Lousiana style Hot sauce.Is this method correct.Please do advice me before I end up wasting all my money and peppers.Thanks in advance.I did my research and No manufactors use any kind of alcohol at all.Please be free to advice me any relavant missing links in the process.Regards.I would like to mass produce stuff at some point in the next few years.So all help from experts is welcome.
I do have it down now. Am getting pH 3.6 results in 4-5 days using a wild sourdough starter and also successful with kefir grains and whey as starters.
No vinegar needed.
Just finished a hot pepper (rocotos), onion, carrot, salt and garlic mash that was wonderful. Dehydrated and made powder out of it.
Does my method need refining? Yes. Very satisfactory the way it is though. I'm fermenting at 75Â° until the brew stops bubbling in my closed system.
I have to chuckle picturing legsbig hauling home a 50 gal white oak barrel in his Lexus and trying to fill it up with pepper mash.
You just registered today. How did you come by this forum? Do you belong to any other hot pepper aficionado forums?
O.K. I'm new to this, but here is my situation.
I have a few pepper plants that are producing abundantly. I thought that I might try to make some hot sauce because I can't eat them fast enough. My Sorrano is three years old and is giving me nearly two hundred peppers a month right now. It will slow down when the temps start getting above 110 F, but for now I'm overwhelmed. These aren't you're ordinary Sorranos either. They are HOT. I don't know if it's the heat here or the soil. They put store bought Sorranos to shame.
I took a batch of red ripe ones, cleaned, de-stemmed them and processed them in a food processor. I ground them into a puree. I put them in a Ball canning jar and boiled them for twenty minutes. Then I covered them with a layer of sea salt(a lot of salt) and put them in the cupboard to ferment at about 75 F. The jar is not sealed tight to allow for escaping gas. Three days later my salt layer had settled into the peppers and a nearly clear liquid started to rise to the surface. Then I started reading all of these posts on the net and they put the fear of Botulism in me. I went and bought a PH tester along with the calibration solutions. A Checker 1 by Hanna. After six days my PH is between 4.5 and 4.6. There is no sign of mold and they still smell like peppers.
Is it common for peppers to start out with a higher PH and drop over time? I'm I at extreme risk or should I continue? Is another boil after fermentation going to kill any toxins?
Lemonrock - I made several batches of sauce last fall, including a couple with salt cure similar to yours. I did find that the pH continued to drop as the mash brewed. The problem I had was that the mash is still unacceptably salty after 7 months. I added some vinegar but that did't help the salty taste much. I may give up on this batch pretty soon.
One of these days if people are not careful messing around with fermenting pepper mash there will be a fatality or two from botulism.
This isn't a joke, you had better do the homework and find out how to do this stuff safely or just not do it.
Next you'll tell me that I can't have my burger medium rare, my eggs sunny-side up, my Caesar salad dressing with a raw egg, or Thanksgiving stuffing from inside the bird.
I won't argue that having a foodborne illness sucks bad, but these guys are already measuring the pH and its the acid that kills botulism, and the salt that kills listeria. Seems to me they've already done their homework, but thanks for concern.
Jan writes: > This isn't a joke, you had better do the homework and find out how to do this stuff safely or just not do it.
I couldn't agree more. Boiling for 20 min is not going to kill botulism spores. It takes like 350Â° temps for 30-35 min to do the job. (pressure processing) I've had a lot of fun messing around with fermenting for the last couple years or so, but still don't have fermenting pepper mash down to where I would actually share some with someone else w/o concern. I've been dehydrating the ferments and making into powders for sharing. (darn good powders!)
For my last trial I added vinegar at the start for one bottle so the pH was safe to start with, another I added a high proof cheap vodka, another a vodka/vinegar combination and the last just kefir curds to inoculate. I'm hoping to come up with a method that I'm satisfied with and try to interest a grad student at one of the local universities to do the testing as a research project.
It's the salt that I have issue with too. I want a method that uses much less salt and still is safe.
Regarding the "do you're homework" comment.
I've been doing a lot of reading on Botulism but I still have some questions. If I'm understanding the process correctly, it is not the Botulism spores that make you ill. It is a toxin that they produce (I'm guessing as some sort of bi-product).
If pressure processing were to kill the spores, would it also eliminate the toxin? One of the food safety sites that I visited said tainted food must be de-toxified before disposal using a similar high heat process. In the case of pepper mash, if it were de-toxified and that had not otherwise fouled the flavor would it be safe to use?
Botulinum toxin is VERY sensitive to heat. Just boiling for 10 minutes will detoxify all the botulinum toxin, but will NOT kill the spores (which require temps above boiling). And, yes, it is the toxin that generally kills people; though infants can develop botulism from ingesting spores alone (this is a problem with raw honey given to infants).
DON'T DO THIS, but, theoretically, you could take a botulism-infected food product, and simply boil it to destroy toxin, and make it safe for consumption by all but infants. The spores won't hurt you; you probably consume botulism spores all the time if you are any kind of serious gardener!
Acidity and salinity won't kill spores either; we use acid and salt to prevent spores from becoming vegetative (which means they start to grow, multiply, and produce toxin). But, acidified/brined foods may still harbor living spores, but the environment simply won't allow the spores to become vegetative.
shelbyguy you can do anything you like, you can eat your burgers "Tare Tare" if you like them that way.
Heck you can even ingest them in supository form if you care to, it's a free country :)
It's the uninitated/inexperienced pepper sauce newbee that lurk these boards that see this half baked stuff about fermentation that worry me.
They need to know some of the inherent dangers of canning food improperly.
I respect and appreciate the knowledge people have on this forum and the warnings. I have never made hot sauce yet, but I sure know to be VERY careful if / when I start.
jt - Your comment about dehydrating the mash caught my eye. Would that eliminate any of the salt from my salty mash? Would it remove the botulism danger?
Removes the botulism toxins danger, but still retains the salt. The only easy way I know of to reduce salt is to use less of it to start with.
When I dehydrate mash I add distilled water and run through a blender to liquefy. Then a very thin layer on top of saran wrap on dehydrator shelf. Set at 125-130Â°. In 2 days you should be able to remove the plastic wrap & turn the now mostly crisp sheets of mash over to finish the job.
If you filtered out liquid before putting in the dehydrator it should get rid of lots of the salt.
Another fix for too salty or too sour mash is to simply add something bland to it such as unsalted rice cakes or bread crumbs before dehydrating. This is also very helpful when trying to dehydrate things like garlic or tamarind beans for powder.
jt - Thanks for the advice. I'm going to try it. Does the saran wrap withstand the heat of the dehydrator OK?
> I'm going to try it. Does the saran wrap withstand the heat of the dehydrator OK?
Yes, it does. Please note the temps at which I dehydrate capsicums though. 130Â° helps retain color and minimizes the loss of capsaicin heat. The melting point of capsaicin is somewhere in the 150s (I forget exactly), but it starts to 'boil off' at some degrees lower. Stand over a pot of cooking chiles and you will know what I'm talking abt. LOL! Those little air-borne particulates are lost forever.
Saran Wrap to me is rather special. It is one of the few plastic wraps that is not so much differentially permeable. Air and gasses can leak through other plastic wraps and is why I've used SW to wrap things for the freezer etc for so long. On the other hand, food service wraps such as those sold at Sam's have their place too. They are wider so can stretch across large trays and they are somewhat a 'shrink' wrap. The tightening of this type wrap when exposed to heat has the benefit of letting the dehydrating mash loosen up so air gets underneath the edges somewhat. Hard for me to explain, but easily seen if you try both wraps side by side.
JT - I used your method to dehydrate the mash and it worked pretty well. Pouring off the liquid and washing the mash with distilled water helped the saltiness a little, but it's definitely still there.
Thanks - John A