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Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Posted by tracydr 9b (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 2, 10 at 11:45

I've been considering fermenting some hot peppers for sauce. I read on one of the Hot Pepper forum threads that they were adding kefir/yogurt starter or sourdough hooch. Is this really necessary?
I have a recipe from "The Joy of Pickling" which contains only peppers and salt. Wondering what your experiences have been with this method and if adding the starter would be a good or bad idea.
Nothing against the Hot Pepper guys but some of their recipes and ideas are a little off the wall and I worry about safety.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Fermentation creates lactic acid. It's why properly done, fermentation is as safe as using vinegar, which is acetic acid.

Kefir/yogurt/buttermilk or sourdough already contain lactic acid and are "boosts" to the fermentation process; they are perfectly safe in-and-of-themselves.

That doesn't always mean the final product is safe as that depends upon sanitation, the fermentation process itself, the level of salt, whether there's any formation of mold, etc.

Carol


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Thanks Carol. I'll give it a try.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

The biggest advantage to using kefir and/or such is that you get a real kick-start to the fermentation process. And it greatly shortens the time needed for fermenting over all. The theory being that the faster you can get the lactic acid built up, the sooner the foods are protected from bacteria and molds, and the safer the fermentation process is over-all.

As Carol said, safety is affected by several factors but less time sitting around waiting for lactic acid to form sure is one of them.

Dave


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

With the yogurt starter do I need to mix in water or just sprinkle on peppers with salt?


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Hooch is a bit different (or whey) as it is fully liquid.

Assuming you're fermenting peppers in a salt brine, then you can whisk the yogurt directly into the brine and immerse the peppers.

If it's a fermentation that calls only for peppers and salt, I'd personally wait until the peppers have exuded liquid (24 hours or so) then press them down (with a sterilized non-reactive spoon) to extract some liquid, whisk the yogurt or kefir or whatever with that and pour it over the peppers.

The other option (which comes from an old Dutch red sauerkraut recipe I have) is to layer the peppers and salt, sprinkling each layer with dollops of yogurt or buttermilk.

I like any source of lactic acid to be integrated into the mixture, but really as long as it's in the crock or container, you will derive the benefit.

Carol


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Thanks Carol. I have the powdered yogurt starter so I'll just wait until the peppers are juicy and sprinkle on in there.
My sourdough starter is kept very firm so it never gets hoochy, although I guess I could always make a very liquid starter.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Just whirred up a pound of hot peppers and 6 garlic cloves in the processor with salt. Went ahead and added the yogurt starter as it was already juicy.
Trying to make the chopped pepper and garlic mash from "The Joy of Pickling" with the addition of the yogurt starter.
That is one potent quart of pepper mash!
My idea is to strain and add vinegar to taste when it's done. Probably won't can it as I think the keeping capacity in the fridge will be pretty long like this. Wish me luck!


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

You could do what the old-timers did and put a slice of rye bread on top. I'm sure a slice of sourdough would work also.

(Not my personal recommendation but it would work and is fascinating as a window into traditional methods.)

Carol


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

If this doesn't work I'll try the sourdough or rye (I make a killer 100% rye) next time.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

The reason that some recipes call for the addition of either kefir or yogurt starter is that the peppers are roasted prior to fermentation, the heat kills the natural yeasts and bacteria on the fruit.

If you're not roasting them, then it isn't necessary to add anything other than salt / brine.

But it doesn't hurt, and I really like the effect that either kefir or yogurt starter gives to the resulting sauce.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

It looks like they're bubbling already! Is that even possible with the yogurt starter? Room temp is 78-79 degrees. I have no place cooler to put it.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

This stuff is going crazy with bubbles! I'm so excited as I tried pickles last summer and they spoiled.
Garlic and peppers, they smell fantastic and will be bloody hot.
Will probably cut with some vinegar before processing.
How long do you think I should ferment for at 79 degrees? How do I know it's done?


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

When it tastes the way you want. By that point activity should have stopped or be minimal.

Carol


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I may have to get Joe to taste it. Without dilution this stuff is like "Ultimate Insanity" heat-wise!


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

A few years ago I fermented a combination of hot peppers and had plenty of advice from this forum. On gentleman, (old Mac died and so don't have his name or the exact recipe) said that he always added some quava juice at the end to add depth, which I did. I am using up the last bottle and it was sooooooo good. I will have to do this again this summer IF I get enough peppers.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Tasted the juice today. It already has a lovely pickled flavor! Will be interesting to compare to the green faux tobasco sauce that I made yesterday. So far both are good but I think I like the complexity of taste better in the fermented version.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Guava juice would be really good with habaneros. I would love it but hubby is a plain ol tobacco sauce guy. Since he eats most of it I need to make what he'll like.
He found habanero gold too strange except with grilled fish. I can't get him to eat chutney either but I'll keep trying.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I added a bit of vinegar today to stop fermentation. The peppers are bloody hot but absolutely delicious, much more complex tasting than the simple pepper and vinegar sauce that I made. They have a bit of garlic in them too. I used a recipe from The Joy of Pickling.
The heat comes from the large quantity of habaneros that I used. Yummy!


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Well, I have about 40 jalapenos in all stages of ripeness on my bush, and I need to pick them today. I have sourdough starter in the fridge, but isn't the "hootch" pure alcohol? Will it ferment still?

I am going to blend these up with some garlic, and see what shakes! Thanks for the great idea!

I usually use my peppers for three things. 1, guacamole, 2, jalapeno wine, and 3, bug and critter repellent.

Did you blend the seeds in there also?

This is going to be FUN!
Suzi


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Garlic does not ferment. Garlic can be a cause of spoilage. To protect yourself you should add vinegar if you use garlic and you should eat the product sooner. My advice is to stop using garlic. You can add the garlic at the time you eat the product. Garlic does not even preserve well in 100% vinegar for very long.

Really the safest way to make hot sauce is to simply add plenty of vinegar and grind it all up. Do not add any water to dilute the vinegar. The salt does not contribute to preservation. It will be just as good without any salt.

Salt is useful if you make it with only salt and peppers or cabbage. It will draw out moisture which will then ferment. But the resulting mash will be very salty and require a lot of vinegar to cut the salt.

The professional way to make hot sauce is to grind up the peppers with vinegar in a blender or food processor and voila. you have instant hot mash. Actually the pros grind it up more finely. They grind up even the seeds and skins. The pros then add spices and lots of vinegar and maybe water. They measure and control the pH. They heat the mix to pasturize it and bottle it up immediately.

Mash is usually considered too hot. Vinegar is cheap. To maximize profits plenty of vinegar is added to the mash before bottling up the hot sauce. They might add anywhere from 1 part to 10 or more parts vinegar to each part mash. This is very profitable. Selling flavored vinegar as hot sauce.

vinegar is $2 a gallon. As hot sauce it is about $128/gallon. That is a huge markup and incentive to add all the vinegar they can.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

The ball blue book has a recipe for pickled garlic, so I can't see that the garlic would adversely affect the pepper sauce. The pickled garlic I made came out great and didn't spoil or anything.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Well, I hope everyone who contributed to this thread is alive today with their garlic studded fermented sauce!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I threw mine together yesterday, chopped it in the blender, stuck it in a bowl with some sour dough starter. Put a half inch of salt on the top of it (like tobasco sauce is made), covered it all with plastic wrap, and I'll check it when I think about it.. I will spoon the salt off when the time comes to squeeze out the mash (paint straining bag), and add some really good vinegar.

We have a vineyard, and we make a lot of wine (even jalapeno wine), and often, you can "hear" the ferment. Yeast loves sugar, so I guess the carbs in the peppers feed the yeast.

We let our wine ferment dry, and the alcohol eliminates the need for vinegar. Some folks turn wine into vinegar, but I could not bear to watch good wine become vinegar, and I understand, bad wine makes bad vinegar....

I suppose the peppers don't ferment to the point of alcohol levels, which must be why vinegar is added prior to bottling? Interesting the cost of vinegar vs hot sauce. Good aged vinegar is a lot more expensive!

I do not fear the use of garlic in a ferment. I cured a bunch of olives with herbs and garlic and citrus slices and they are delish, and nobody died yet. It's been 2 years now!

I hope to hear everybody's updates on their sauces. Mine will be green since my jalapenos are mostly green. It will be HOT for sure!


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I keep meaning to second the idea of adding fruit juice to hot pepper sauce - our favorite is mango, and if we can find it, we'll add a can or two of the pure frozen concentrate. It adds a whole layer of flavor, and gets into the concept of chutneys - fruit and hot. Add it after the pepper fermentation.

Re adding vinegar to 'cut' the sauce, we'll add the best quality white wine vinegar we can find - yet another layer of flavor. Although the price of a bottle of, say, Spectrum Natural Organic white wine is getting up there.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I like the idea of adding fruit juice too! Next year, I may add figs, since we grow them and they are free.

I just drifted past my fermenting peppers (one day in), and the salt has crusted, and is bumping up which tells me, interesting stuff is happening below. I did lift the plastic to take a whiff! Yumm!! It smells divine!


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I have no experience fermenting peppers (though I might try it this season) but I do ferment traditional dill pickles and I can't imagine them without several heads of garlic. With all that salt it's a fairly unfriendly environment for microbes. While the garlic itself might not ferment, it sure adds a delectable element to the flavor.

Carol


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I used a recipe from The Joy of Pickling for a fermented garlic peppper mash. It is not meant for canning which is fine as my family will have this quart + gone in no-time.
I cut it with some vinegar because it was so hot. Still has an excellent flavor.
My canning recipe was no garlic, not fermented, peppers, vinegar and salt as Carol suggested. I can't remember where i got my actual recipe last summer but do know it wss an approved recipe.
Both sauces sre delicious, just different. I like the fermented better and my husband does too, although he wants it w/o garlic next time.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Day 3. The gasses have cracked the salt crust, and it looks like a mountain range is forming in a nice line across the desert of salt. It's FERMENTING! YAY!!
Suzi


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Wow, how much salt did you put on there?


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I covered it with about 1/4"-1/2" of sea salt. I have a lot of salt left over from my Olive curing days. The salt is falling off the huge mountain range, turning to liquid at the edges of the bowl, but some is still white. I plan to scrape most of it off before I add vinegar and then I'll adjust if it needs more salt. It's pretty hot here, so the ferment is going just fine. Now I need to figure out which vinegar to use for it. Apple Cider? Red Wine? Not cheap stuff, not that!!


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Hi all, first post.

desertdance, when tobasco uses the salt they are putting it on to of a oak barrel that has a lid on it. IIRC this alows fermenting gasses to escape without letting and bacteria in. While your method allows for fermentation, I believe you will end up with an extremely salty end product. Im not an expert, I saw a special about it on the history channel.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Interesting method. Would certainly cut down on enzyme activity but don't they come out awfully salty? Mine just had a small amount of salt to draw out the juices. I used a recipe fro "the joy of pickling".
Since I cook so much from scratch it seems like everything tastes salty to us. I'm going to start canning butter beans because the canned version store bought are so salty. Same with canned tomatoes, will be buying fresh and canning since my tomatoes haven't done well this year.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

gagger, you could be right. I plan to spoon as much of the salt that I can off. It's mostly very crusty and easy to see! I have tasted the liquid at the edges, and it's YES! VERY SALTY! Underneath, there is no salt, so I'm hoping it will equal out. I will definitely update this thread when it happens, but it sure is fun to watch the ferment. I'm thinking 2 or 3 weeks, and then hit it with vinegar and bottle.

If it is too salty, lucky me, I've got a bunch of frozen jalapenos in the freezer, so I may have to ferment those without salt, and add them to the salty batch. I could probably kick up the ferment with a little sugar and some wine yeast.

Tobasco ferments in oak for 3 years! I don't think I could do that! Waaay too long. I even have an oak barrel, but that is for wine!

Most of the joy of doing this is anticipating the flavors that happen, and sharing it with family and friends, with them knowing they can't BUY this stuff! They have to come for a visit to get a taste!! My family likes heat! We are California natives, and have lived close to Mexico forever, so we do like it Spicy HOT!!

tracydr, So you added vinegar after 10 days, right? Good luck with your canning! I prefer freezing, fermenting, brining, stuff like that. I fear the lid of the pressure cooker flying off and hitting me! LOL!! Nice to see you post, so i know the garlic in your ferment did not kill you!

The sour dough starter gave me a lot of comfort with fermenting. half flour/half water, the bubbles come, and over the years, it just gets better! I don't have a dog or a cat or a fish. Just my Yeasties! And I only have to feed them now and then!
Suzi


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I used an approved fermenting recipe which included garlic. Added vinegar to taste at 10 days. It had a lot of habs and cayennes so it was very hot!
Good luck with yours. Maybe try adding mango juice at the end.
I wouldn't ferment without any salt, enzyme activity would be too high and might cause spoiling.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

You'd really have to work at it to get a pressure cooker lid to fly off. In fact, I can't even imagine how it would happen. Even if you ran the cooker dry, the worst that would happen is the pressure plug would blow and perhaps you'd risk cracking the kettle.

I guess you could plug the vent, overheat the contents and then wait for it to spew, but the lid still wouldn't blow off.

That falls pretty close to urban myth.

Carol


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Well, today I scraped every bit of salt crust off, and stirred. It is bubbling like mad, BUT, as you told me, it's saltier than everything. So, what I have is HOT salt!! It's a new concept. LOL

I am going to spin another dose of jalapenos in there, and let it ferment more. There is enough salt to kill an elephant!!

Suzi


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Hot Salt

My daughter in law just tasted it yesterday. I told her it's called "Hot salt." She loved it, so we are going to do a tasting with different vinegars to determine the best recipe and leave it salty and hot. Added to a recipe, it would provide heat, and there would be no need for salt. It's delish! The garlic, carrots, tomatoes all add layers of flavors!

Next time, less salt, for sure!
Suzi


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Sounds delicious, Suzy. I used white vinegar in mine, just a bit for liquid. I went ahead and canned mine since I had about 4 half pints. Given the potency that will last a little while.
I'm finding it delicious to put on eggs or in mac and cheese.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I want to start a small (mom pop) hot sauce business. I am looking for only vinegar,salt, and peppers blend. What is the minimum % of vinegar by weight can I add to make the sauce safe and good shelf life after opening. The peppers I will use have a very distinct taste and are very hot.I want to produce the hottest sauce possible with little dilution to maintain heat and flavor. Also cooking, pasturize, or canning? Any suggestions?


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

I'm thinking about experimenting with my datils (pic on other post). It would have to be a small batch. Am willing to hit the health food store for kefir starter. I like the idea of adding some juice at the end. I'm obsessed with passion fruit now since I got five off my new vine this year.


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

Well, just wanted to post that I'm still eating my fermented hot sauce from last year. It seemed to have gotten much milder and more complex with aging. It also hasn't killed me! I also have several jars of the vinegar preserved sauce left, but we much prefer the fermented sauce. I will be fermenting a lot more vegetables from my fall/ winter garden when it cools off. My peppers were killed by a freeze this spring but it looks like I'll have plenty once it cools off. Looking forward to another batch!


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RE: Fermenting hot peppers for sauce-

  • Posted by Opee 11 (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 21, 12 at 12:29

I began fermenting Habanero peppers 8 days ago. I used a food processor with salt (about 1 tbsp per pound. I have several jars working and one / one gallon crock. I opened the crock which only has a small plate over the top and noticed white and black mold. I took the layer of mold off, it was a solid skin covering the entire top about 1/8 thick. The layer of mold smelled odd; however, after I removed it, everything smelled as it should. Is this ok?
I only used habanero peppers and salt so my fermentation started slow and the juice was below the peppers. Now the juice is above the peppers and slow fermentation is observed.


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