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Old 03-14-2013, 05:29 PM   #1
wbyrd01's Avatar
Jul 2012
Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 146
Liked 17 Times on 12 Posts

Here's one I thought you all would like, considering we're all fermenting fools!!!

Most of this is taken from this thread on thehotpepper.com (just giving credit where it's due!) http://thehotpepper.com/topic/23146-...g-peppers-101/.

In fermenting peppers we use microaerophilic bacteria called Lactobacillus. The Lactobacillus eats the sugars in the mash then poops Lactic Acid and farts CO2. The Lactic Acid which is produced lowers the PH of the mash making it an acidic environment in which other bacteria such as botuline toxin, which would contribute to ruining the mash, cannot exist. As such the use of acids like as vinegar and lime or lemon juice are not needed but may be used in a sauce for the flavor.

A couple of things in common to all methods are that once the lid is on and the fermentation is going gas (CO2) is given off. Some people like to attach an Airlock to the lid so that the gas can escape while others just place the lid on loosely. Either way the idea is to prevent Oxygen from getting in and maintain the CO2. This helps to prevent any bad bacteria from getting in. The fermentation jar cannot be stuffed full of peppers or you will have pepper juice everywhere. The peppers will rise and fall within the liquid they are fermenting in initially so some space, say 1 to 1 inches needs to be left in the top of the fermentation jar to allow for the pepper to rise. Some like to add weights to hold the peppers down. Some of the cheese cloth with glass beads will work very well for this.

This is the method I use for fermenting peppers:

Whey Starter. Whey is the liquid that is seen in a tub of yogurt when it is allowed to sit for a while. I just dump a large container of yogurt in a food strainer lined with cheese cloth and put some type of vessel to collect the liquid under it. The whey is then added to the pepper mash and helps to kick start the fermentation process. Less salt is needed in these mashes as there is no delay waiting for the Lactobacillus to be collected and a good fermentation can be seen within a couple of hours.

Mash as used here is a generic term. While a true mash has been ground into small bits you can also have a successful fermentation just chopping the ingredients into small pieces, smaller than 1 inch square. This is handy for those who don't have Kitchen Food Processors or other means of easily reducing the ingredients to small bits. If you are using chopped ingredients it would be good to plan on a longer fermentation time to allow the bacteria to work on the bigger pieces say, extending it another 2 weeks

Peppers are naturally low in sugars and as fermentation works from the sugars can be hard to start. Many like to ferment just the pepper in their mash while others like to add the other ingredients. I typically mash all of the ingredients of a sauce recipe so that there are more sugars for the bacteria to work on. Most all recipes will include Carrots, Onion, and Garlic. With these added there will be ample sugars for a good fermentation.

Setting up the Fermentation jar. Using the above ingredients, shredded the carrots and ran all of the peppers with the seeds and ribs if you want the added heat, onion and garlic, through a Food Processor then put it all into a glass jar big enough to hold it all. Add the Starter and gave it a stir. Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt into 2 cups warm water and poured it over the top till all veggies are under water. A word here about salt. Pickling salt is the salt of choice here as it is just salt. Other salts such as kosher salt include an anti-caking ingredient and may have Iodide. While these will not harm the fermentation or the consumer they may change the look of the final product.

Fermentation time. I would typically not run a fermentation for less than 30 days. Mine usually go for 45 to 90 days. Now, that said there are some that will let them go for years. Tabasco is reputed to ferment their peppers for a 3 year period. The time you decede to go with is totally up to you.

Fermentation is complete.
This is the point where cleanliness becomes your best friend. Everything that touches your sauce now needs to be sanitized. This is easily accomplished using unscented bleach and water. Using the big pot you plan to boil the sauce in fill it with hot water and a couple of tablespoons of bleach. Allow everything that will touch the sauce to soak for 15 minutes then place them into an area you have designated as your clean zone. Next comes your bottles, caps and reducers. These can be run through your dishwasher with the heated dry turned on. When done place them into the clean zone.

It is now time to make some sauce. Pour all of the contents from the fermentation jar into a big pot and bring it to a boil for 30 minutes. Very carefully then run them through a Blender in batches until is smooth then back into the pot. Bring it to a boil again adding some water if it is too thick for another 20 minutes. Then run the entire batch through the blender again. Now you should have a very smooth sauce. Return the sauce to the pot and heat to 195 degrees F for 15 minutes then carefully funnel into the bottles. Add a reducer and a cap and place it upside down for another 15 minutes to allow the caps to sterilize.

The last batch I made I used Fresno peppers which kind of look like a jalapeno but they are bright red and (in my opinion) much tastier. When I can't wait any longer on the fermenting peppers I follow the instructions above on making the sauce but I'll add vinegar until I get it to the consistency I want. I really like vinegar based sauces, if you don't you can skip this step.


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