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Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Posted by david52 z5CO (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 24, 06 at 21:44

On another forum I mentioned using Kefir starter to ferment roasted Hatch chili and make some seriously good hot sauce, and they thought I should mention it here where the True Believers congregate. The idea came a few years ago from a poster from Germany who thought everyone else was crazy to let the fermenting bacteria, like when making sauerkraut, just sort of randomly pick themselves out of the air in your kitchen, when one could introduce something that would guarantee good, if not spectacular, results. This is sorta what they do with wine and beer, and it made sense. So I tried it.

I buy a box, which is 2.2 bushels, of hot, roasted chili. It's put in a bag, I let it sweat and cool for a couple of hours, and collect the juice that inevitably drips through the plastic. When its cool enough to handle, I open the bag up, pull off the stems, and start layering the flattened, roasted chili's in a crock, an inch layer followed with a healthy sprinkle of salt. The object here is two tablespoons of salt to 5 lbs of chili, but a bit more or less isn't going to change much.

I get Kefir starter off the internet, or through a local health food shoppe. I get the powdered stuff. Kefir is a bacteria that will convert milk into a thick, drinkable curd, picture Gengis Khan and his horde snorking the stuff out of those leather canteens as they pillage villages looking for some decent chili. These days, Yoga practitioners sip the stuff with raspberries to bump their calcium, and I use it to ferment vegetables.

Anyway, I take the warm chili juice and whisk in a box of kefir starter, and pour it into the chili-salt crock, stir it up with a steel spoon, and then set a doubled, plastic bag full of water on top to seal it off. I set the crock in a cool (70 - 80F) spot, and I come back in 6 weeks. I run it through a food mill to mush it all up, and cut it with white wine vinegar so it pours a bit easier.

Its best like that. This is the 3rd year in a row I've done this, and its awesome. You'd have to try it to appreciate it, the smell alone will let you know that its very good stuff. It doesn't disappoint. Not surprisingly, it also corresponds when they slaughter hogs, so its pretty easy to make some awesome green chili pork for the freezer.

I will try, if I can, to use powdered yogurt starter in another batch this summer, and see if it works as well. I should also think that smaller quantities would do as well.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Hey, when it works...it works!


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Thanks for the instructions David. That sounds really good.

This is what I was going to propose in the botulinism discussion. Fermenting the pepper mash with bacteria used for making sour milk or yogurt should make the mash acidic enough to prevent botuline toxin to form.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

is there any documented cases of someone dying from pepper mash botulism?


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

That's right David. It is sorta what they (we, speaking as a home brewer) do with wine and beer, except that wine and beer are fermented by yeast and that is different in several ways. But your point is well taken that using a starter culture to get the process going strongly and quickly will help to ensure success. And, in the case of pepper mash, it's lactobacillus we want to encourage.

Using a kefir culture makes sense. Also you can probably get a good result from using kefir or yogurt from the grocery store. I sometimes use grocery store yogurt to start my own batch of yogurt.

Earlier today I found some useful info re chile pepper fermentation. I won't be able to organize and post it until after the weekend due to a busy schedule.

Note to legsbig: Hot sauce, in the style of Tabasco and similar has no risk of botulism because of its acidity. It needs no processing or refrigeration if the pH is low (acid) enough. Think of the bottles of hot sauce which sit unrefigerated on dining tables. More later.

Jim


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

jimster, what are some ingredients in hotsauces that will cause it to spoil? some say "refrigerate after opening"

I want to make sauces using just honey, habanero, vinegar, tequila, salt.

various other chinense but the very hot ones.

fatalii, scotch bonnet, etc


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

good stuff thanks all


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

"Kefir is a bacteria that will convert milk into a thick, drinkable curd"

Not exactly. There is also some type of yeast in Kefir and it may be the yeast that does the trick with peppers.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Great thread!

Still pondering some of the input. Did just enough googling info about yogurt & kefir starters to confuse my little pea-brain even more. The left turning vs right turning bacteria blows my mind. left/right

And having been blessed with both Crohn's and Ankylosing Spondylitis am even more interested. beneficial

Anyways, am expecting a 2 gal fermenting crock to be delivered next week and will give fermenting peppers a try.

david52,

Have you tried fermenting hot peppers? My first batch will be a mix of mostly habs with some manzanos and also some C. annuums (including not hot anaheim types).

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Dilbert, I'm far from an expert on Kefir; if there is yeast in there or not, I couldn't say. I'd thought it was one of a family of bacteria that was capable of converting lactose into alcohol. If you have any more detailed info, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

There is a whole gang of Kefir fans out there that swap 'grains', which are lumps of coagulated milk. I have had varied success with this, so I buy mine dried, commercially, in a box, when I do peppers and vegetables.

John, I've been fermenting hot peppers for about 20 years now, it is very similar to making sauerkraut and any recipe for that will give you the necessary proportions. The 'trick', if there is one, is to expel the air in the crock quickly, so that means chopping up the peppers, and the salt extracts some moisture to fill the gaps, and the lid keeps air away.

I get my best results by mixing in garlic, vinegar, and what not later, after the fermentation is complete, then trying to ferment stuff along with peppers.

Some day I will try to ferment mint and or tarragon and see if it works.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

legsbig, not to be mean but I think you've got it a bit backwards. It isn't that certain ingredients cause spoilage, its that some ingredients help prevent spoilage. Even if something canned would be able to stay on the shelf, once it is open things change--which is probably why the sauce says to refridgerate.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

I have been following the "fermenting" threads recently posted here,and I have been fermenting peppers for several years with salt only.
I am wondering however,with yeast fermenting ..how much yeast is needed?and ,can you ferment with yeast only and exclude the salt?

--Kevin


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

I have never tried fermenting vegetables, but have made beer and wine and I do also make sour rye bread. The sour dough would start fermenting by itself, because there is always bacteria in the air and working surfaces and utensils, but this will take longer and I do not know what the bacteria is. That is why I use a starter, which is just a bit of the old dough, which I keep in the refrigerator. Useally I do not bake during the hot months and it is amazing how the starter keeps in the refridgerator without spoiling. I guess because there is just some certain kind of bacteria or yeast in it, nothing else lives there.

The point that I am trying to make, is that the fermentation will propably start without added yeast of lactobacteria, but it will be faster and with a known bacteria if it is added.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

"If you have any more detailed info, I'd appreciate hearing about it."

It is something I read a long time ago, but a quick google search will confirm that Kefir contains special kinds of yeast in addition to lacto-bacteria.

For example, see

http://www.lifeway.net/health.php

BTW, I used to drink a lot of Lifeway Cherry Kefir. I swear, it gives me a buzz, but not the alcoholic kind.

"am wondering however,with yeast fermenting ..how much yeast is needed?and ,can you ferment with yeast only and exclude the salt? "

You can't just use any kind of yeast. For example, do NOT, under any circumstances, use yeast from a yeast infection!


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Wayright, I also just used just salt and what ever bacteria/yeast happened to be in the air when I filled the crock. I would say, over the years, that only about 5% of the batches were bad and had to be discarded.

When using Kefir as a starter, the difference is remarkable. It's completely different, and tastes very very good.

Thanks dilbert for the link. I'm not as fond of Lifeway as I once was, it seems they went 'corporate' and sub-contracted out the manufacturing process, so the product quality and taste varies considerably. Bigger fan of the Helios brand, but that too has not been as consistent as it could be. These days I make my own, but it seems to work better in the winter when the ambient house temperature is around 65-68F.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

why was my post deleted? i was asking fledge why he would preface that post with " not to be mean but...."

my hotsauce has vinegar,tequila, habaneros, salt, honey, chipotle.

wwat other tasty ingredients might i be tempted to put in there that could end up spoiling

i dont see what was backwards about my question nor why I would be offended by ir


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Wish now that I had ordered some kefir starter on the internet, but didn't as wasn't sure if wanted to use for my first trial batch. Oh well, there is a GNC and another mom/pop healthfood store about 20 min away. Sure hope I don't buy the wrong thing or the wrong form of it.

Hope to start by next wed or thurs and will be with frozen mostly very hot pods with a few fresh picked thrown in.

But what to add with? Am thinking carrots as they go with hot sauce and maybe some sliced onions & some Mex oregano. Or maybe for trial run should just use pods?

Any suggestions welcome.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

David,

Is the below the right stuff? It's like $14 for a single box what with low order fee and shipping. Or do you or someone else know of a better online source?

Will order as soon as hear back.

Thanks!

jt

Here is a link that might be useful: Kefir


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Get your kefir grains (starter) from the yahoo kefir-making group: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Kefir_making/join
Just ask for grains and someone will probably offer you some for the price of shipping.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> Get your kefir grains (starter) from...

Darn! Ordered two boxes yesterday and if it stores well should be a lifetime supply for me.

Thanks anyways!

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

John, I've tried the various grains from the Kefir crowd, and as well intentioned as they are, and however well it goes with milk, the powdered stuff you purchased is what I use and should give you the best results. I get mine from a different retail outlet, but its the same product, same price, and should give you what you're after.

I started my crock of peppers 35 days ago, and I took a look today. Touch of mold on top maybe a teaspoon in one corner, which I threw out. Absolutely wonderful aroma, and I know its going to be great. I also have a crock of green beans that is a week old, but nothing to report on that just yet.

I'll process and do stuff with all this in a few weeks, we've a frost coming this weekend, and I got a whole-lotta frost sensitive garden to get picked and put up safe.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

David,

Today is THE day here. Just checked UPS tracking and package should be here by early afternoon. Retrofitted airlocks from local home-brewer's supply to widemouth lids on quart canning jars and have other ideas to hopefully prevent mold from even starting.

Going to start with identical ingredients (peppers) in one jar using kefir and just salt in another so can compare. Still don't know if fermenting has to take place in darkness or not so will keep out the light except for an occasional peek.

Hopefully will have pictures before weekend is over.

Thanks for your help! (and suggestions always welcome)

JohnT


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

John, you want to use a sprinkle of salt even with the kefir, for flavor and to help extract moisture from the peppers. You might have better luck chopping the peppers up in a food processor or blender, or at least chopped finely to remove the central air cavity.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> You might have better luck chopping the peppers up in a food processor...

David,

Sliced them. All but 3 pods are various chinense. 2 Biker Billy and 1 Pasilla Bajio.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Ended up with 1 lb sliced pods. Will divide equally & put 1/2 lb in each of the quart jars. Been agonizing abt how much salt and have decided to go with 2 teaspoons coarse Kosher per jar. Will mash the pods to release as much juice as possible and add enough brine that the smashed pods are completely under liquid when weighted.

Will take photos when completed.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Beautiful, jt!

john


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Sliced pods in jars:

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Compacted, Kefir added to one, salted, brine added (not enough juice) and weight added:

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Salt, starter & glass weights. The glass beads were purchased at Hobby Lobby at 2 lbs for $1.98. Used abt 3/4 lb ea jar. Used tulle (nylon) for the bags to hold them. 77 square yard at Wally World.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Ended up adding 1 teaspoon salt and 4 liquid oz brine (boiled 15 gm salt/1 liter distilled water ratio) to each. And 1/2 teaspoon Kefir starter to one jar. If had to do over would have skipped the initial 1 teaspoon salt each and gone with the brine solution only. Still might not end up too salty as will be able to pour off the liquid when finished.

Airlocks and rubber stoppers were purchased at home-brewers shop and Dremel Tool used to retrofit stoppers to jar lids.

Hosting provided by FotoTime


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

ok here is a picture of a jar I started about 6 weeks ago ,,I make most of my mash pepper specific but these are just odd and ends peppers mostly chinense..just sliced once thru the cavity then added salt about 10% of each addded pepper.Ive been adding peppers regulary every few days as i harvest,I shake and open the jar every day or two .You can see the liquid is above the peppers ..this is just dry peppers and salt!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
--Kevin


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

hey there is no prob leavin seeds in when makin pepper mash?

question - when i slice open habaneros - there is often some strange tumor looking round thing in there. my girlfriend says its the "heart" and its okay.

i say it looks gross and removie it.

what say you?


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Im sure this will aquire some rebuttal, but " its another pepper" ... leave it in


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Looking good, John. When I was reading the amount of salt you were using, I was thinking that amount would make it too salty for my taste. But then, I thought a bit further, and realized that the hot pepper sauce result probably isn't going to be lapped up like a bowl of tomato soup. At least I hope.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> I was thinking that amount would make it too salty for my taste.

David,

I agree and it was a tough decision. I compromised between 3 recipes including yours. The good thing is that I don't have a lot invested in this experiment and if turns out badly no big loss.

Really curious how the Kefir lacto-bacteria compares to nature's own. Will it get things started more quickly? Am guessing so. Added something to trap gas to each & should be able to tell which is fermenting faster.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

First sign of mold and I'll be opening the jars and spraying with 5% acid vinegar. If that doesn't do the trick will break into my stash of 19% acid vinegar. When Googling mold control I discovered that grapefruit seed extract is one of the best and tasteless to boot. Haven't been able to find local source so going with the vinegar this time.

Darkness or not? Still don't know & am using a simple box to keep light out.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Im not sure how you guys are going to use your mash,but I add vinegar to the fermented juice at the very end.so the 10% salt is basically reduced to around 3%,,,not too salty at all!
--Kevin


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

can someone get to my questions please


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

legs...seeds = no problem......and the tumor...its fine too. its just another pepper growing inside itself...never found seeds in them just the seed wall


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> question - when i slice open habaneros - there is often some strange tumor looking round thing in there.

Mr legsbig,

Glad that you got an answer to your question and I've seen those little 'pods' inside ripe pods too. Someone sent me a box of orange habs last year where nearly all had one or more of them. And they too were hollow. Habs seem especially prone to strange goings on inside. I always slice them half in two before freezing so can sort out the nasty ones.

More than once have had entire batches that looked like this: mld

And occasionally this: sprt

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

I don't see any water in your airlock? Any particular reason why? It isn't really locking without the water.

Chris


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

yah i always get rid of those tumor things..i make my mash with no seeds/tumors


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> I don't see any water in your airlock? Any particular reason why? It isn't really locking without the water.

Huh??

Holy smokes!! They didn't come with instructions, the person that sold to me didn't mention & what you say makes sense as I wondered how the hay they could work & why the big chambers.

Thanks!!


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

There is a line on the outer chamber, about 2/3 of the way up, that shows the correct water level.

Chris


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Are those condoms?


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> Are those condoms?

Yes. Couldn't think of anything else to use. Water levels right on the mark. I'm not sure if 1/2 lb pods will produce enough gas to fill them up or not. Still no bubbles forming.

Thanks, all!!


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Update....

The Kefir jar is obviously producing gas & no visiable evidence with the other.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Unfortunately, there is a very small amt of mold forming in one corner of the Kefir jar. Expecting delivery of grapefruit seed extract on Wednesday so will wait until then to treat rather than using vinegar now.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

David52,

I started another small batch of pods fermenting with the Kafir starter a few days ago with a nice batch of mixed pods from Open Fields 2006.

Open Fields pods:

Instead of starting in the 69-70 basement temps I put the jar on top of fridge where temps are 6-8 higher. A thermometer probe under jar to record. What an incredible difference such a few degrees seems to have made! There was more gas produced in 6-8 hours than was produced in nearly 2 weeks at the cooler temps. Granted, I used less salt, more pods and more weight on top than before. Also added some alcohol on top as a mold deterrent. The vodka I used has a specific gravity of aprox .8 and will layer nicely on top of the pod liquid and distilled water. I expect no mold whatsoever.

jar on 9-29 (day 1):

Jar on 10-1:

You might notice how much the pods have been compressed since the first jar picture and how the color and level of the liquid has changed.

I moved the jar down to the cooler basement shortly after last picture was taken and the gas production has lessened dramatically. No plans to ever shake or stir the jar & don't know how long will wait until opening up and sampling.

jt


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Isn't this fun? I got my garlic bed ready today, tilled in compost and such, and broke up the 80 heads into individual cloves, and tomorrow will plant them, wash hands, and then take my fermented Hatch chili's and run them through the food mill. They smell sooooo good. I think this time around I'll fill small 1/2 pint jars and freeze them instead of canning them. See if that fizzy zip remains.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

David52,

So your Hatch chiles will have been in the crock just over 7 weeks I think? And probably long finished fermenting? Please let us know exactly how you finished them up before freezing. I might water bath a couple jars just for the (my) experience.

My Harsch fermenting crock experiment is now going well. When I opened it after 19 days there was mold on top which I removed easily as it all just naturally clumped together. Wiped down the insides with a 7% vinegar solution, sprayed a thin layer of vinegar on top of the mash and refilled the waterlock trough with fresh distilled water. After 7 days checked again and no mold whatsoever inside and the mash smelled peppery wonderful. There were a few cloudy areas in the waterlock trough. Even though no mold inside I sprayed the inside walls and mash surface with a solution of GSE (grapefruit seed extract) mixed at 25 drops per 8 oz water just to be sure. Also filled the waterlock with same mixture. Will open again in 2 weeks or so even though do not expect to see mold again.

David... I thank you for your inspiring me to finally get started fermenting. Jim in Italy (remember him?) planted the first seed I think.

Since the Kefir starter seems to work very well I now wonder about some of the other starters available from the same company.

Thanks again!

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Well, just finished it up. This is about 2 months fermentation, but it was ready a couple weeks ago, I just was too busy to do it. There was about 2+ gallons of fermented peppers, smelling wonderfully.

Anyway, I used a horizontal food mill, like the kind used to make baby food, and the screen with the smallest openings, and ran it all through. This effectively took out the seeds, skins, and some sort of fibrous stuff, and this yielded about 5 - 6 quarts of strained chili mash that, well, I dunno how to put this not to offend the sensitive readers here on the hot pepper forum, but sure looked a lot like 6 quarts of fresh cow pie. I filled 30 half pint jars, leaving enough room to freeze, and froze 24 of them, the other 6 in the fridge. It looks a whole lot more appetizing when its in little bitty jars.

What is it like? Well, the aroma ('nose', to us wine con-sirs) is roasted green chili mixed with a top quality white wine vinegar scent, fairly pungent, but no heat. When I taste it, the first sensation is green chili flavor, then the kefir bacteria high- fiveing each other as they dance on the tongue which is sort of a fizzy sensation, then mild acidity, then the heat. It is very, very good.

I didn't cut it with vinegar, it won't pour and needs to be spooned out of the jar. I'll freeze it and see if I can keep that fizzy sensation from the live culture when it thaws.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Update: 8 Oct 06

The 3 quart jar experiments:


1 from left (Kefir starter)

Middle jar (no starter)

3 (Kefir starter)

Observations: At 70 the Kefir starter jars very noticeably slowed down gas production and the no starter jar caught up within a couple weeks. As little as 3 hours at 76 and the Kefir jars started producing much more gas again. Not enough info for a conclusion, but am guessing Kefir works better at warmer temps than the no starter wild bacteria and the later prefers cooler temps.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Ok I think I'm getting this fermenting stuff a bit better after reading several discussions. Great pics BTW John!
Now, the only thing confusing me is how in the heck those "thing" on top of the jars work? If there is a lid and those things are just sitting on top of the lid then please explain how it fills up with gas??? I'm obviously slow LOL!
Is this a common practice?

Thanks,

Vera


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Vera,

My what an old thread! I've sure learned a ton since it was started. Advanced from condoms to balloons to brewer's air-locks to no longer needing a device to monitor gas production.

As the bacteria feeds it produces CO2. The amt of gas produced let me know how well the fermentation is progressing. Since I rely on a fast start rather than salt to prevent mold etc, I needed to monitor how my starters were working. The way I ferment is not the conventional way so there was little info to go on.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

jt has learned a lot and is teaching me. Seems to work well. Two batches of Kim Chee and two of kraut both turned out well. Have my first cukes working now. Vera -the jars are sealed-I was afraid of explosions but jt reassured me and so far so good. just salt for the kraut but kefir whey for the kim chee and cukes.

JohnF


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Thanks!

jt...I understood you were monitoring gas but how can you do that when the jar has a lid on it...does that make since what I'm asking?


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Vera,

Yes, your question makes sense.

I used to monitor with air-locks, balloons etc, but have done enough of the ferments now that I no longer need them to know that fermentation is going on. By 3 days there will be visible evidence (little bubbles) inside the capped jars that gas is being produced.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Vera did it take John a full one year plus one day to answer your last question? I hope he is quicker this time. haha.

little gas bubbles form on the water surface around the edge of the jar. You can also check by opening the lid and there should be a little pop noice from the gas coming out.

John F

when you make the kin chee and cukes. do you add water? I thought cucs need a brine of water and salt. I know nothing about kim chee except it is fermented veggies.

What do you mean by kefir whey. I have only heard about the dry kefir powder.

I pickled some cucs years ago. I filled the container with cucs. added salty water and a plate on top to hold it all down. then took them out in a week or two and bottled them in vinegar with spices.

from the wonders of the internet here is a kim chee recipe

http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/appetizers/pickles/kimchee.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Kim chee Recipe


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

I used the recipe for cabbage Kimchi in the book "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Katz ( adapted a bit for vegies from the garden like bok choy and using jt's method of sealed jar.).I won't type out the whole thing here but if you email me I can scan and send it. It's quite easy and my wife loves it.Only takes about a week of fermentation at room temp and then into fridge. You use water to make the brine for the initial soaking but that is drained off and a tiny bit added back to get the vegied covered. Kefir whey is the watery part of the Kefir that I have going on my counter. jt also use sour dough starter which I haven't tried.

My wife took some of ours in for a Korean woman she works with to taste--her verdict: too salty, too much ginger, and not enough chiles. But she says there are as many recipes as there are families so you can experiment until you find what you like.

JohnF


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Kraut and pickles

Forgot to say I use the whey in sauerkraut too- comes out really good-on my third batch and I have my first batch of fermented pickles just moved to the fridge--two more weeks 'till tasting time. jt got me started on this stuff and it's been fun. The biggest surprise is how into it my wife has become. Anybody have ideas for using sauerkraut? Don't want to heat it hot or it kills the good stuff.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Vera

John is using a wine making air lock or water lock. If you stop in at a wine making shop or do a google search you can see how it works. You put a little water into the chamber above and the gas is forced to bubble through the water. the water acts to seal things from going the other way.

the picture below shows how it works. this is another kind and easier to understand the first time. Johns is smaller but doing the same thing.

For the water lock to work you must have the container sealed so all gas goes through the water lock. remember the fermentation is producing more gas all the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: air lock or water lock


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> My wife took some of ours in for a Korean woman she works with to taste--her verdict: too salty, too much ginger, and not enough chiles.

John,

Don't you just love an honest appraisal? Seriously.

What I love about the starters is that you can do ferments with no salt at all if you so choose. You can always add salt, but it's hard to adjust to something that is too salty. And there will be a somewhat predictable outcome. Much more so than if trusting wild bacteria to do the fermenting and faster.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

jt

You have made a believer of me. Your system works for me and is so much simpler than weights and airlocks. . I thought the second batch of Kimchi was too salty too and also not hot enough--trying to please Mary's palate. The first two batches of kraut were good but I put less salt ( and some kefir whey) in the batch that's going now. Tasted it today and it was not very sour--does it take longer with less salt?

John


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> ...does it take longer with less salt?

John,

No, just the opposite. Ferments differ for some reason. I can make 4 jars exactly the same from the same batch and quite often one will go crazy and froth all over the place. Especially true with pepper mash.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

O.K., dumb question here. How does one know how much Kefir to put into the mash. Is there a mixing rate?


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> Is there a mixing rate?

Not that I know of. It just makes sense that the more starter the more bacteria will multiply per whatever volume of mash in a given amt of time. A tsp per pint works really well. Perhaps an 8th tsp would work just as or almost as well in the final result even though might take a few days longer?


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Thank you! - Mark


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

John, Do I understand that you no longer use the air locks? I was thinking of fermenting a pepper mash, then make sauce out of it.
John A


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

John,

No more air locks, water locks, balloons or condoms. I've done enough now that know by looking at the bubbles when a ferment is going well. Just another advantage of clear glass rather than using crocks.

jt


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help!!!!

This thread is a gold mine for newbies (like me).

I need your help. I remember my father making a pepper mash using Portuguese hot peppers. I am tryin to recreate this process. Quite simply you remove all seeds from the long red peppers, grind them, and let them sit until they bubble and the jar them up after they stop bubbling. Salt is also added into the mash at the beginning.

I screwed up and also added some vinegar and lemon juice and I have yet to see any signs of fermentation. I assume it is because of the vinegar and lemon juice.

So the question - is there a way to conteract the vinegar and lemon juice and kick start the fermentation???

I would greatly appreciate your help.

Regards,

Kolchak


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

There's been some talk in this thread about what is in kefir. The starter powders aren't nearly as good as the grains. They are a polysaccharide complex that is secreted by a community of bacteria and yeasts. These communities will bud off and start new communities and make new 'grains'. Anyway, there are many forms of beneficial bacteria and yeasts in them- they are much better for you than yogurt. And the grains themselves (the polysaccharides) are highly medicinal. Anyone that is interested in them should check out the link below- its THE source for kefir info.

Something I am trying this year is pureeing raw peppers throughout the season (as they are picked) and then storing the puree in the fridge in jugs with kefir grains. Slow ferments = better flavor. I'm now to the point of needing vinegar. But instead of adding it, I'm trying to brew my own. I just took my puree and added an equal amount of fresh apple cider without preservatives. Also a cup of honey. Its all in a covered bucket and stirred every day with a hand blender. Some new grains were added to this. I'm planning on adding an aquarium bubbler with a filter on the end to increase airflow. Better for fermenting and will *hopefully* increase evaporation so its a little thicker. I'll pasteurize and add salt when I get the acidity and consistency that I am looking for.

Not sure how long I have to wait for it to become vinegar tho, I mean after it becomes hard cider-pepper mash. Fingers crossed!

Kolchak, you could try adding something to raise your ph. Baking soda or bleach perhaps. (100% pure bleach, not the 'no drip' or scented stuff)

Here is a link that might be useful: Kefir Site


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

I would not add bleach. Are you sure it would be safe as a food. bleach kills everything. It is a super strong poison. chlorine bleach is anyway. I will bet the food and drug admin outlaws the use of bleach in food. Also I dont think it will raise the PH. I suspect it will lower the PH. But I am only guessing on this one.

http://osuextra.okstate.edu/pdfs/FAPC-116web.pdf

discusses bleach and food.

I get real nervous someone is going to kill themselves making hot sauce. Please learn to make the standard vinegar hot sauce

Here is a link that might be useful: How to make hot sauce the easy way


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Let me see if I have this right, bobcat. You are pureeing peppers throughout the summer and adding them to a container in the fridge as you get them? No salt barrier? No airlock? The grains are a good thing, but the gas they are producing is not protecting the surface the way I picture it. Have you seen any kahm yeast mold? It's just a matter of time if you haven't.

I don't even know where to start so will just wish you luck and hope you do more research on the subject.

Yesterday I ground for powder 3 5oz woozys of Manzano, carrot, apple, onion, garlic, raisin sauce that I started on 4/30 this year at 80 and put in 45 fridge on 4/7 until just a few days ago. Sourdough was used as a rapid starter and the bottles kept tightly capped throughout. 2.95-3.1 was the pH range when I opened them. Certainly no vinegar needed.

On a positive note... if you use proper home canning techniques and pressure process your sauce for 35 min at 15 lbs pressure in pint jars then the sauce would not be as risky.

Things change. The universities, extention services etc are learning more and more about food safely and the guidelines change. Bacteria are evolving. What worked for granny just might not work now. I recently heard some talk about listeria in refrigerator pickles. Something I need to find out abt soon. Many of us bought "The Joy of Pickling" and "The Vinegar Book" when they first came out. They might be outdated now. The Ball Blue Book hasn't been updated since '94 and I understand it is being revised.

Sorry that this post seems so negative and I perhaps shoud rewrite it. But I am just too lazy. Did not mean it to sound like a lecture.

Hot regards,
jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Its all cool. We're here to protect each other and exchange ideas for the greater good and all that, right? My response is a little long, but it covers both of the last comments, so pls read thru it.

I've been culturing milk (and other things) for some time now, using grains. No, I have had no kahm's. Its a yeast, btw, not a mold- which would be a fungi. Another reason why grains are better than powder is exactly because they are grains. That polysaccharide housing protects and stores the mother cultures. And they keep pushing out more and more good guys to protect your food. With powder, if your colony collapses or succumbs to bad guys, then its done. This is especially important when considering PH changes because grains have 'sleeper cells' that won't colonize the foods until the PH is right. So as one set dies off, your next line of defense begins anew.

Maybe that is why you are experiencing such growths. Your PH might be changing and rendering your cultures ineffective. Leaving your product wide open for colonization by what-have-you. And even kefir, if over cultured, can "flower" when strains start to reproduce. Hence, another reason to cold culture, as it slows everybody down a bit.

Did I mention that I started out blending the pepper mash with whey, not water? So between the whey and grains, the refrigerated mash is already colonized by the good guys. Very hard for bad guys to get a foot hold. Same theory applies to why people should eat kefir and yogurt, so we get colonized.... Anyhoo, I'm past the pureeing and cold culturing point. I'm on day three of the plan. My 100% non-mouldy mash is turning into spicy apple wine right now....

Per the bleach, you can use bleach to purify water in emergency situations. I'm providing one of many sites explaining this. You can google it, too. Basically, bleach will react with your food and break down into salt, water and gas in very little time. It is also used in root canal surgery to cleanse and sterilize tissue.

Bleach is VERY basic. PH 11. Will it affect the PH of the sauce? Of course, most certainly and by all means, yes. How much you would have to use to neutralize your formula.... I don't know. Also, I don't know what PH you would ultimately want to be at. I also don't know what it would do to flavor- although time should take care of 'bleach taste', there may be other oxidation issues.

It was an off the cuff suggestion. One might try baking soda first, as a better solution to the problem. Enough of it should get you in the PH 8 range- but your dealing with more sodium.

Here is a link that might be useful: bleach water


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

BC,

I'm not sure yet that Kahm isn't a mold, but since it's harmless and only imparts a bad taste we can move on.

And I am not afraid of bleach. We've had that discussion here before re using to remove capsaicin oil from hands.

As to the whey vs grains I'm not yet convinced that say a tsp of grains (might be just a grain or two) is better than a tsp of whey mixed in.

I'm going to be on the road for a few days, but looking forward to continuing this conversation later.

One question that I have that you might know answer to... When I feed my kefir cultures frozen milk they do not do as well and instead of having a somewhat clear liquid suspended in the middle of the culture the liquid forms on top such as with sourdough 'hooch'.

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

bobczt

very interesting reading. Glad to see bleach is not so dangerous as I thought. Backing soda is a good buffer used to modify ph.

However, I still favor the vinegar hot sauce. It is very fast to make. I can make it completely in one day. It is very safe to eat. The vinegar protects everything and the boiling kills off germs also. I think it tastes the same. It delivers the hot punch to my taste buds. Lastly, it has to be good since almost all commercial hot sauce is made this way.

Even Tabasco company takes the mash and adds more than an equal amount of vinegar to it. They do not want to say how much. But they admit to an equal amount early on and then more vinegar later.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

John, the bleach stuff was directed at Dan (thanks for bringing that stuff up, btw, cause the soda would surely be better).

The term 'mold' is thrown around as anything fuzzy growing on your food. But yeasts can do that too. Everything I've seen calls Kahm a yeast. Mold is, by definition, a fungi. However, there is a line somewhere between the Fungi Imperfecti and the yeasts. I dunno, maybe kahm is there somewhere.

Grains v Whey: This is how I understand it. Take a tablespoon of whey and you are going to have a certain number of living good guys in it. They will reproduce and do their thing. Thats all fine. But those good guys have some faults. First of all, once they sit in enough of their own wastes, they are going to rest or die. The colony will collapse due to unfavorable conditions (mostly being the Ph). At that point, 'secondary infections' by other creatures will take place- including some you don't want. Of course, this can happen before the colony collapses. Because that set group of living things can defend their land well against some things but not others. So a war is waging when you culture food. Good v. Bad.

Grains hold many more types of good guys and many of them stay at rest until the conditions are right (they have various good guys that like high Ph, neutral Ph, low Ph, aerobic, anaerobic and combinations thereof). And since there are so many types, most secondary infections are effectively held off.

What do you mean you feed them frozen milk? I have read that you are not supposed to freeze the grains, so maybe there are cultures (some in the whey you get?) that have a problem with the cold? Perhaps a colloidal issue? I dunno, but when I age my kefir, prior to seperating the whey, the whey and kurd will move around.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

John and everyone else.

I took some Jalapeno mash and added a large amount of Yogurt. It is a Greek Yogurt and it said it guarantees live culture at least up to the expiration date on the package. I did not read the expiration date but it was new from the store. It was a very plain yogurt. I put probably 2 ounces into a quart jar. it turned the red peppers pink. haha.

I also put a "normal" amount of salt in the jar. a good heaping tablespoon of salt. about 2 level tablespoons or a liquid ounce.

But I am not getting any bubbling action. It has been several days now. Although the room is cool.

Has anyone tried yogurt. Is this the "correct" culture. Will Yogurt work? Will it "spoil" the mash ??

Did I make a mistake?

what is a "correct" temperature for making yogurt? maybe I am keeping it too cool for the "action" to take place.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

John I have another interesting question.

If I save my tomato seeds I let them sit and ferment. I wonder if the fermentation is the same as we have here for making hot sauce. I was wondering if one can use the left over tomato juice after fermenting the seeds and put it into pepper mash as a starter for the mash.

I also wonder if you can go to the store and buy some naturally fermented sauerkraut and use the juice as a starter on the pepper mash.

part of the problem with this approach is that a natural fermentation starts with different organisms then it finishes off with. so the sauerkraut would have only the ending organisms. The early stuff would be long ago dead from the low PH.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Dan: I used kefir but I used the clear whey floating at the top of the container - likewise with my sourdough starter - I used the clear liquid floating at the top. I think the same holds true for yogurt - you want to use the whey - not the yogurt itself. The sourdough starter ferment started faster and lasted longer than the kefir - I haven't finished the sauce so I can't speak to which tastes better.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Dangould, I have never fermented peppers but I've made alot of yogurt. I think my machine incubates the milk + culture at about 110 F. If I scald the milk first, it must cool to 118 F or less(if I remember correctly- there's a mark on the thermometer I look for) before adding the starter. If it is above 118 F the culture gets killed off. I don't know how any of this would work with peppers.

On a somewhat(?) related tangent: Heating tomato seeds in 122F water for about 20 minutes kills most pathogens.

BTW, the red to pink color change is interesting. Pink hot sauce sounds quite unusual.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Well good news to report.

The Pink hot sauce with Yogurt is bubbling away just fine later today. I am sure it will keep going. Lots of bubbles in the bottle now. I guess it took a while to get going. I moved it last night from a cool kitchen cabinet to a warm room.

John this is a lot of trouble. The boil in vinegar is so easy and fast. But lets see how it tastes. probably kind of yogurty. haha. Next time I will take the "water" (aka whey) off the top of the yogurt and try that. That makes sense to me now. hehe.

BTW it is bubbling very nicely today. It is a good strong ferment for sure. The room was probably about 75 today. it was probably 65 the past couple of days. so the extra warmth seems to do the trick.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

I just thought of something - when I finish my sauce I'm planning on running it through a food mill, heating it up to a boiling for 5 minutes, add vinegar, adjust seasoning and can it. If Dan follows a similar process will the yogurt curdle? hmn, maybe not, since creme fraiche can be boiled without curdling and it's a similar product it might be fine.
Dan, do you really think it's a lot of trouble? I thought of it as a science experiment that you can eat. hours of entertainment.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

If I save my tomato seeds I let them sit and ferment. I wonder if the fermentation is the same as we have here for making hot sauce. I was wondering if one can use the left over tomato juice after fermenting the seeds and put it into pepper mash as a starter for the mash.

Dan,

I'm not saying that it wouldn't work, but not something I would try w/o a lot of searching for additional info. I think it might taste horrible. Having fermented tomato seeds for years can sure say that it smells terrible. Sourdough "hooch" I use quite a lot because it can be a day faster to get things started than Kefir whey, but I use only white flour because the even more active flours such as rye impart such a strong (one I don't like) taste to the mash. I think a fast start in a closed system that doesn't use a salt barrier is important, but I must repeat that I am not an expert at this.

Peppers take longer to get started than any other veggie I've fermented (other than garlic) and like warm temps in the 80s for the first few days. Adding mashed carrots, apples, canteloupe etc to the mash seems to speed things up too.

For the fastest possible pepper mash start I would

1. 80 temp
2. sourdough hooch for a starter
3. add ripe canteloupe mash

I do not have a USDA approved boiling water bath canning method for fermented pepper mash that wouldn't call for adding additional vinegar and adding more acid just seems stupid. Pints can be safely pressure processed for 35 min at 15 lbs pressure as is.

JMO

jt


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Yes it is a lot of trouble and it makes a real mess for me.

Yes Hours of entertainment cleaning up the mess. The stupid mash blew right out the top of the bottle all over the table messing up some things and down onto the rug on the floor. I hope it is not stained. This mash dries sticky and gooey.

Lamalu, My advice to everyone is go back to easy method. Put the peppers into a pot of vinegar boil it up. let it cool down. run through a blender or whatever. then bottle it up. simple. fast. easy. no mess. no fuss.

If you are going to boil it then why bother with the fermentation. May as well skip that messy step.

you can filter out the solids and seeds with a kitchen strainer.

If you do not want to boil it up then let it sit in a bottle of vinegar for a few months to soften up.

I have been trying to get some comparisons between the methods but so far no one really chimes in. Someone did agree that the fermentation was a bit messy and not easy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kendra's Easy Method of Hot Sauce


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Well, John, since most hot sauces contain vinegar I won't take offence to you calling the addition [and by default, me] stupid! Actually, I am too lazy to buy a ph meter so the vinegar ensures that I have an acid product and is safe to water bath.
Dan: I think that the fermentation is going to add a special flavor to the hot sauce. Soon I will have sauces made by a quick method and fermentation and will be able to compare. I'm going to boil as a prelude to canning to kill off whatever lurks, I don't expect the flavor to change all that much but I'll taste it in the interests of science top be sure.
You must have had some wicked ferment going! I left at least an inch of headspace in my jars and covered loosely and didn't have a problem with overflowing. I'm a little jealous...
I'm hoping to finish my sauce this week and will post my findings.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

> Well, John, since most hot sauces contain vinegar I won't take offence to you calling the addition [and by default, me] stupid!

Oh please, give me a break! It's the USDA!!!!!!!!!!!!

adis


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Fermentation does add a flavor but it only lasts a week or so. Then it goes away. It is like fresh half sour deli pickles. the deli makes them fresh every 2 weeks. Kim Chee can not maintain the flavor and has to be fresh fermented.

I fermented some green tomatoes last fall and they were good for about 2 weeks then they lost it.

I will bet that the hot sauce has a different taste but that it goes away. give it a month or so. It will be just like the vinegar one.

another thing is that you get used to the flavor. Lets say I dump some on my pizza every day. after a while it is simply hot sauce on my pizza to spice it up. the difference between A and B is not relevant if it exists. My taste buds will be just as happy with A as with B after a month.


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Fermentation slowing down

Well good news the fermentation is slowing down. Thus I do not have to relieve pressure so often. I did make a mistake I should mention for others. I used the plastic screw caps on the mason jars. These do not seal as well and the pressure was able to push the juice out of the jar.

I switched to a metal lid and metal screw band and it works fine that way.

My other mistake was putting too much into the jar. Best to leave a huge air space up above the mash for expansion. I filled them up high. This is a big mistake as the mash expands from having bubbles all through the mash.

I still say the boil in vinegar method is better.

The mash is still pink colored but more uniform in color. less of a white look from the yogurt. I believe it will be fine in the end. Although I would prefer a darker red color and using the whey or liquid on top would be preferred.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Well, I am super happy with my hot sauces. I'm up to version #4, 3 of them are based on the red hot sauce recipe from the Ball Blue Book, with adjustments, I added garlic, reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup plus 2 Tabs, used brown sugar instead of white and about 1 Tab of molasses. I varied the mix and amount of hot peppers, and roasted a portion for batches 1 and 2.
Hot Sauce #4 is the fermented pepper mash and I'm very happy with the result. I finished it as described in an earlier post and used 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 pepper ferment. I hope you are wrong about the flavor dissipating, Dan. I really like the way it came out. I could not discern any taste difference between the kefir whey ferment and sourdough hooch ferment.
I'm ready for winter, bring it, I've got about 32 1/2 pints of hot sauce stockpiled!


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Holy Hot Peppers. 32 half pints. You are set. What kind of peppers.

Try to keep the jars closed up and in the dark and cold as long as possible. a dark basement or inside a box in a cold spot in the basement maybe. Too many jars for a refrigerator. But you might put one or two in the refrig for comparisons.

I do not have the Ball Blue Book can you list he recipe.

cup = ounces liquid.
2 tablespoons = 1 ounce liquid.

therefore you used 3 ounces liquid of sugar. How big was the amount of peppers. was this 3 ounces in a quart jar ??? or 3 ounces of sugar to 100 pounds of peppers. haha.

I like your idea of "1/3 vinegar to 2/3 pepper ferment" it sounds good to me.

I dont think there is a difference in taste between different ferments. the question I always wonder about is if you skip the ferment and just do a vinegar boil will the taste be the same??? No one has reported on that.

I think it would be cool to start a thread on how you did your hot sauce this year and we can all respond and learn. It sounds like you are doing a good job but a thread would give more complete information to help everyone.

I put my last year hot sauce in a half gallon jug. I left it out in the light. It went flat tasting compared to new. It also lost its nice color and turned kind of brownish. I am pretty sure the color loss was from the light. I also believe the light will affect the flavor. But a warm room probably does the trick also.

I started a new batch of hot sauce yesterday. Kind of exciting but then who knows. I found a tree with some crab apples and picked some. then I boiled them in a pot with some apple juice. they got soft and I ran it through a food mill. I wanted apple juice but got apple sauce. I mixed in some mixed hot peppers ground up and now I hope it ferments. I added some from the older fermenting jar.

Anyway. I have to mention this because people were asking about a way to thicken up the hot sauce with some chemical. xanthan gum or something like that. Anyway the preliminary mash if it can be called that is thick like a thick apple sauce. kind of terrible in a way. Have to see if I get a thick fermented hot sauce.

crab apples apparently have a lot of pectin and cooking them might have affected the pectin. pectin thicken things up also. I did not add sugar to the brew so lets see how it goes. I did add salt. I have a quart jar going but I left a good amount of air space for expansion.

Right now I hope I did not ruin my hot sauce with the crab apple sauce. It tasted pretty good before fermenting. I kind of liked the taste. slthough it was a bit salty but that should go away as it ferments.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

I'll chime in. I do not believe a fermented pepper sauce loses it's flavor in a couple of weeks. Try telling most of the cayenne sauce makers that using mash does not make a difference.

I have been mashing for a couple of years. Right now I have 5 gallons of Super Cayenne and 10 gallons of Mesilla. The only thing I add is salt, at a rate of one cup per gallon. With this, the PH is always around 3.9-4.1. Then, once I blend the vinegar with the mash (as McIllhenny) the PH soars down to around 3.3-3.5. Then I strain. I have brought some strain up to 185 but the taste has a slight "medicine" taste. Without cooking, the strain tastes awesome. And, I have left a couple of test bottles out (never refridgerated) and tested them throughout the year and they have always maintained the same PH. And, I can still taste that unique flavor of the mashed pepper.

That's my 2 cents.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Zanker

So Glad to see you post here. I am glad to hear everything you have to say but I dont understand everything that you do say.

Can I ask you how you do 5 or 10 gallons. I assume you are not using quart jars.

How much vinegar do you add to the mash when done to drive down the PH as you mention.

so you say if after the ferment if we heat it up to 185 F that the taste will change.

I use half the salt but then I dont use Cayenne. Cayenne mash tends to use about twice the salt. I think it is because the salt is used to suck the moisture out of the pepper and the cayenne is a more dry pepper so it takes more salt. Just a guess on my part.

Do you add only salt and no kefir starter????

Mesilla Green maturing to red Cayenne Hybrid pepper. Grows to 11 inches long by 1.5 inches wide. Resistant to TMV, PVY and TEV. Thin walled. 2000-4000 SHU.

WOW that seems kind of mild. Cayenne is about 30,000 to 50,000 SHU Do you mix the two together. How is the Mesilla all by itself?

When you say you make 5 gallons how do you measure or ferment that. did you add a liquid to the fairly dry peppers to fill in the air gaps.

I hope you stay around here and share your expertise with everyone. I want to say thank you for sharing. we all can use your sharing.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Hi all, sorry I've taken so long to respond.
Red Hot Sauce (from Ball Blue Book)
2 qts chopped peeled cored tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded hot red peppers
1 qt vinegar divided
1 cup sugar
1 Tab salt
2 Tabs pickling spice
Combine tomatoes, peppers and 2 cups vinegar in large pot. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Press through sieve or food mill. Add sugar and salt. Tie spices in spice bag and add to mixture. Cook about 30 minutes or until thick. Stir frequently. Add remaining 2 cups vinegar. Cook until as thick as desired, about 30 minutes. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process 15 minutes in water bath. Yield: about 4 half pints.

My method: Cut up and dump tomatoes and peppers in pot with 2 cups vinegar(it makes no sense to me to peel tomatoes that are going through a food mill anyway and seeding peppers makes a wimpy sauce). Char some of the peppers if you want(I used a blend of thai, poblano and jalapeno for one batch roasting about 1/3 of the peppers, I've also made a version with just Habaneros, or the previous blend plus 1 or 2 Habaneros). Add some garlic. Cook until soft, then let it steep for 2 hours or overnight or when youi finally find the only store in town with 1/2 pint jars. Run through food mill. Add 1/4 plus 2 Tabs brown sugar, some molasses, the pickling spice and salt. Follow rest of recipe. Sometimes I add a dried hab and sometimes a dried chili to each jar. I also went for a Tabasco thickness and got more than 4 1/2 pints.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

This kind of recipe is confusing to me. I has 2 quarts of tomatoes and a quart of vinegar plus more and it winds up with only 2 quarts total. what is going on.

Anyway I also have canned tomatos basically this same process. I call it tomato juice. I took tomatoes and ran it through a food mill and bottled up the juice and pulp together as tomato juice. Do I use 2 quarts of my juice as the same thing ???

I also dont like to hang spices in a bag and boil and throw out the bag. I like to put spices in and leave them there.

However, I do like the recipe to me it is basically tomato juice with chiles and spices. only 1 tablespoon of salt in 2 quarts seems easy on the salt. My usual hot sauce uses 4 tablespoons or 2 ounces liquid in half gallon or 2 quarts.

I think there is a typo. You have

"Run through food mill. Add 1/4 plus 2 Tabs brown sugar,"

add 1/4 what ????

I would never seed my hot pappers either. That would remove too much good heat. the placenta. I did Annies Salsa and doubled the chiles and made them all habanero. Now that was salsa. Annie was using red bell peppers. haha.

I like this recipe because I have felt that combining my tomato juice with hot peppers should make a good hot sauce. I have not been figuring out how to do it however. The good thing about tomtoes is that they already have a low PH. maybe not real low but sort of low. the vinegar knocks it down real good. Also because the tomato juice is already low not so much vinegar is needed. And the tomatoes should give a smooth taste. I like this one.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

dangould,

I try to answer with what knowledge I have learned thus far....

Can I ask you how you do 5 or 10 gallons. I assume you are not using quart jars.

****I grind (fresh and washed)~100lbs of Mesilla red that I buy (or used to anyway), 50-60 lbs Super Cayenne that I grow. I use 5 gallon buckets, and once I strain the mash, I bottle it in sterilized woozy bottles and nip bottles. I buy my bottles from SKS bottles. Right now I plan to only bottle a hundred or so while the rest of the concoction ages (like Tabasco, so to speak. For me the wait is because I would get thrown out of the house by my wife if I bought $500 worth of bottles and gave them all away!!!

How much vinegar do you add to the mash when done to drive down the PH as you mention.

*****using 1:2 vinegar. That a lot vinegar purchase!!

so you say if after the ferment if we heat it up to 185 F that the taste will change.

****I am not sure yet if the flavor is that of the vinegar cooking or the mash. But it does have a medicine tast after maintaining 185 for 20 minutes. I asked a major mash supplier if I needed to pasturize their product like that and they said "NO", never needed. We'll see.

I use half the salt but then I dont use Cayenne. Cayenne mash tends to use about twice the salt. I think it is because the salt is used to suck the moisture out of the pepper and the cayenne is a more dry pepper so it takes more salt. Just a guess on my part.

****Yes, I think you are right. I bought some mash that has 15% salt, which would take a bit of dilution to be palatable.

Do you add only salt and no kefir starter????

****Just salt. I studied as much information as I could about McIllhenny's methods and stuck with that. Though I have been a lurker on the kefir thread, I have had great success with straight Kosher salt.

Mesilla Green maturing to red Cayenne Hybrid pepper. Grows to 11 inches long by 1.5 inches wide. Resistant to TMV, PVY and TEV. Thin walled. 2000-4000 SHU.

****Mesilla Red

WOW that seems kind of mild. Cayenne is about 30,000 to 50,000 SHU Do you mix the two together. How is the Mesilla all by itself?

****Too mild. that's where the Super Cayenne comes in. the people that ask me for this stuff dont want to be burned but also want a little bit of zip.

When you say you make 5 gallons how do you measure or ferment that. did you add a liquid to the fairly dry peppers to fill in the air gaps.

****I grind the peppers and dump them in a steril bucket until they are close to the top. Then mix the salt, pop the lid (with a beer-making type airlock) and seal. Every week I open it and give it a stir.

I hope you stay around here and share your expertise with everyone. I want to say thank you for sharing. we all can use your sharing.

****There are a lot of people with a ton more knowledge than myself for sure. I have had some success, however, definately do not claim to have all of the definitive answers. I have learned a ton from this the people on this site and continue to check for any bits of info that will help. Hope I answered your questions!

Zakker


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Dan: I meant 1/4 cup of brown sugar plus 2 Tabs brown sugar - took a little shortcut - sorry for the confusion.
If I were using ground spices I might not use a spice bag but the pickling spices are seeds and leaves and stuff so I toss them - I suppose you could grind the spices first so you didn't have to remove them. I've also thought about using other spices but laziness took over. The finished volume will vary depending on how thick you cook your sauce down - keep tasting it - if you use too much salt and cook it down thick I think it will be too salty.
I bet you could use tomato juice - I happen to have a ton of tomatoes this year so this recipe was ideal. There is another hot sauce recipe floating around Gardenweb called 'easy hot sauce' that is very similar that calls for canned tomato. I'll try to find the link and also my notes on my ferment to post tomorrow.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Here is the hot sauce recipe from Harvest forum that I mentioned above.

"Posted by readinglady z8 OR (My Page) on Tue, Jul 3, 07 at 10:58

Easy Hot Sauce

If jelly is not your canned food of choice, try an easy hot sauce recipe to spice things up. Easy Hot Sauce is great for stirring into vegetables or cheese dips and spicing up soups and chili.

You'll need:

8 cups (64 ounces) canned, diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cups seeded, chopped Serrano peppers
4 cups distilled white vinegar (5 percent)
2 teaspoons canning salt
2 tablespoons whole mixed pickling spices (optional)

This recipe yields four half-pint jars. Wear gloves when handling, cutting and seeding hot peppers or wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Start by washing half-pint canning jars; keep hot until they are filled. Prepare lids according to the manufacturer's directions.

Next place mixed pickling spices in a spice bag and tie ends firmly. Mix all ingredients in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are soft.

Press mixture through a food mill. Return the liquid to the pot, heat to boiling and boil for 15 minutes.

Fill hot sauce into clean, hot half-pint jars, leaving -inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes if 1,000-6,000 ft altitude; 20 minutes if over 6,000 ft). Allow hot sauce to cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours and check seals. You can remove screw bands after the food has cooled if the lids are sealed.

Carol"



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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

the 2 recipes are almost identical.

2 qts chopped peeled cored tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded hot red peppers
1 qt vinegar divided

is the same as

8 cups (64 ounces) canned, diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cups seeded, chopped Serrano peppers
4 cups distilled white vinegar (5 percent)

the rest is minor. But I like the recipe or both recipes.

but I still have a question for Zakker.

How do you grind up the peppers. blender or food processor or something else.

*****using 1:2 vinegar. That a lot vinegar purchase!!

I take it you mean 1 part mash to 2 parts vinegar. I suspect this is a common ratio that commercial people use.

I suspect some of the cayenne people use more vinegar to dilute the salt. but lousiana hot sauce is cayenne mash with vinegar and it is kind of salty. Might be able to figure the dilution from the final salt and a good guess on the starting salt.

Of course all mfg will rave about their process of making hot sauce. Tabasco sure does. But it seems to me that if you add 2 units of vinegar to the 1 unit of mash then why bother fermenting. You have so much vinegar that you may as well just use the pure vinegar method. Just putting the question to you to see what you might say. I really wonder if you can taste a difference.

I would say that any fermentation taste is gone from tabasco. It tastes like flavored vinegar to me. And aging the tabasco sure is a waste of time and energy. I can not imagine that doing it with say a couple of weeks aging would be just as good as the 3 years of aging they claim. and the oak barrel might be ok for wine but I doubt it does anything for hot sauce.

and what do you think of lamalu's 2 quick easy recipes. no fermentation. nice tomato taste.

John do you know if you can ferment the tomato juice. Can we mix tomato juice and hot peppers and ferment them. The problem I see is that the tomato juice is already pretty low acid so it might not ferment properly.

by the way pretty cool that you could purchase 100 pounds of hot peppers. I assume at a good price.

Bye the way I have never been a cayenne fan. To me they always seemed hot without much flavor. just blind heat. well at 50,000 SHU they are hot and I dont find much flavor. For example I like habanero at say 350,000 SHU with good flavor. for some reason they do not have that same heat that cayenne has.

However, It is interesting they have a new hybrid cayenne type with low heat. that has possibilities because the cayenne has nice high yield. so in a small garden maybe I can get more pepper for my hot sauce. then heat it up with other stuff.

but zakker you seem to talk about the flavor of cayenne. so i find that interesting. what do you think of other pepper flavors. or maybe you like to get the flavor from the food and add the heat using cayenne.

Bye the way ship 100 bottles to me pronto.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

dangould,

I am meaning 2 parts mash to 1 part vin. If it is too salty, I would go to 1:1. I do not ever want vinegar to control the taste of the pepper (just to dilute some salt and make it thinner). That's why I started experimenting. And, I totally agree with you on the Tabasco flavor, it is definately more "perfume" vineger than ferment pepper. The best commercial Cayenne sauce I have found is Trappey's Red Devil. Not regular trappeys, just the Red Devil.

As far as other peppers, I do blend my own "personal use only" concoction using Hab mash as an additive to what I currently make. That spikes the SHU level higher than what most of my friends want tho. Last year I even bought some capiscum oleoresin at 1,000,000 SHU and added the entire bottle to my "personal stock". That tainted the flavor big time.

Personnally, I prefer the Louisiana style sauce over the hot sauces that have added this and that. I am not much on fruit or any of that stuff in my hot sauce. Nor do I really care for the "just the burn" sauces (even tho I have a bunch in my collection). Pure hab flavor I do not favor. Not that it is bad, I am always up for doing spoonfuls of the stuff, but when it comes to putting hot sauce on my food, I stick with the Lou sauce. I do love the flavor of Cayenne, and when mixed with salt and vinegar, it goes well on EVERYTHING.

In the past, I tried all methods of making this stuff. The quick methods as some described above and also "juicing" the peppers. One year I actually ran 20lbs of peppers through a juice man jr. and blended with vinegar. What I got was hot pickle juice....Now, I grind all of my peppers in a food processer. It's a long process, but I have found that to be the answer for me.

My "staff" consists of my wife, 13,and 11 year old. They are my "official" taste and heat testers and they prefer a little burn with more pepper taste....they also let me know when my blends are not up to snuff!

100 bottles??? I might be able to hook you up soon! I have a guy who owns an actual smokehouse store that really ordered 200 bottles. However, I am hesistant as I am not doing this in a commercial kitchen and definately do not want something coming back to bite me in the end. I have given out more than 100 bottle though to people with a "deposit" precursor that if you want any more, I need the bottles back. I got all but 9 bottles back so far, of course it is in trade for some more.....


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Update on yogurt fermentation of hot pepper mash.

Well I am not eating the quart jar of red jalapeno that I had added a big spoon of yogurt. It fermented strong and now I am eating it. It tastes good and has a smooth overtone to. A smoothness that is missing in other hot sauce. The jalapeno taste is still the predominant flavor. It has a toned down color from the strong red. The white yogurt changed the color a bit.

I like it but will not add the white yogurt in the future. If I ever try this again I will use only the clear watery whey that floats on the top for a starter.

I fermented it in a quart mason jar and it overflowed a couple of times. Not a real lot but enough to make it a bit messy.

I have since made regular yogurt and read instructions on making yogurt. I suspect it is similar organisms but the yogurt has the fermentation stop early. About 10 hours of fermentation and then into the cooler to stop fermentation. They also ferment around 110 F for warmth and faster fermentation.

The kefir is fermented longer at a lower temperature but I suspect it is similar if not identical organisms. So using the whey on top of the yogurt is good. You can get more white watery whey by straining the yogurt in a strainer. the watery whey will strain out. well more will giving you more starter without the white yogurt itself.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Hasn't been any movement on this thread in about 3 years, and i don't see anywhere that it's locked, so i'll throw out a question or two.

Anyone have any info or links about what a safe method of bottling fermented sauce in woozies would be? If you have a sauce with a pH of 3.6, is it safe to just boil it at 185 degrees for 5 minutes, place in sterilized woozies, cap, and store on a shelf?

Whatever the "safe" pH level is, if you can reach that through fermentation produced lactic acid, is there any need for ruining the taste with vinegar? Can powdered lactic acid be used to lower the pH instead?

Well, that's it for now i guess. Interested to see who's still lurking in this forum.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Well it's a year later than the last post anyone fermenting peppers (making mash) to make hot sauce?


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

This thread has me pretty excited. I just made sauerkraut for the first time this season and it was a success!

My plan is to take 5 pounds of chiles, smoke them and then place them in my stone crock. Add 2 tablespoons of coarse kosher salt and the kiefer (not sure how much?? - any help here would be great.)
Weigh this down to keep it submerged, let the peppers ferment for about 2 months.
Blend with some vinegar and process in jars using a boiling water bath.
Is this the basic process? Any flaws in my plan? I have been wanting to do this for a few years, and I learned a lot by reading this thread....thanks to all who posted.


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

Well I can't wait any longer the weather is in the 70's in Wisconsin but not for long. I have one more mega harvest of habaneros and they will be done so... I chopped up yesterdays harvest seeds and all put it in a quart canning jar weighed it and added 6% by weight canning salt to the peppers as well as 2 TBS fresh kefir and topped it off with enough distilled water to just cover the peppers with liquid and wallah we'll see what ferements. No airlock but I'm hoping the kefir will cause enough co2 to expell anything bad. 24 hours latterlooks ok No spoilage...


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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

  • Posted by Opee 11 (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 22, 12 at 15:32

I began fermenting Habanero peppers 9 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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RE: Using lacto-bacteria to ferment peppers

This is the best thread! I just got to the pictures with the semi-inflated condoms and could not stop laughing!
Seriously, there are some great ideas here, and I will be using some of them in my next batch of hot sauce. Thanks, everyone.


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