Fermented hot pepper sauce

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Nagorg

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Does anyone have any feedback on preference of vinegar when using it? (Red Wine, Apple Cider, White Distilled etc..)

I do like a little vinegar with the brine and have tried White Distilled. I was thinking of trying Apple Cider next (The kind with the "mother" in it) but am curious to see what others have tried and found to be in their "liking".
 

hottpeper13

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I add my vinegar after the brine ferment is over to thin my sauce out a little. I use rice wine vinegar.
 

Nagorg

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I add my vinegar after the brine ferment is over to thin my sauce out a little. I use rice wine vinegar.
Yes, I'm adding vinegar after the ferment too. I'll first strain the peppers off the brine with a colander and collect the brine in a bowl.
I then add my peppers to a blender and and add a mix of brine and vinegar to thin it out as you mentioned.

Aside from finding the right ratio of brine to vinegar (for my taste of course), I'm looking for the flavor impact from the vinegar too. I do like a little twang in pepper sauce but the white vinegar seems a bit too "bright" if you know what I mean. Looking to bring that down a notch while keeping saltiness at bay.

I just picked up some red wine vinegar and will try that this weekend. I resisted the apple cider vinegar only because I dont want a "fruity" character as it's been mentioned. But I know the only way I'll know for myself is to try it.

So again, any other comments on experiences with different vinegar's? I'll post back with my thoughts about red wind vinegar later this weekend.,
 

sweetcell

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i've only had one experience with vinegar: i used only apple cider vinegar (no brine) to liquify my sauce #3 (mango, red jalapenos, habaneros). the mango didn't come through very strongly, but the vinegar did. in general i'm not a big vinegar person, so for my tastes it's a little too acidic. the missus loves vinegar and loves the vinegar character of that sauce (it's her favorite batch so far). i think i a 50/50 vinegar/brine mix would be preferable to my taste buds so i'll be trying that at some point. in general i prefer apple cider vinegar to white vinegar, so i don't see myself ever using the white stuff.

vinegar definitely stands out in a hot sauce, unlike brine. so in addition to taking your general vinegar preference into consideration, one might also ask themselves if the recipe needs or supports vinegar. if i'm making a hot sauce where i'm highlighting a fruit or some other non-pepper ingredient, i might not want vinegar to take center stage (this goes against conventional wisdom - lots of online sources suggest using ACV with fruit-based sauces to highlight fruitiness, so YMMV). on the other hand if i make a somewhat generic hot pepper sauce, i could see a little acidic zing adding something interesting.

my salsa verde is done fermenting. gonna give it a few more days then need to find an evening to package. if i use vinegar i suspect it will be a minimal amount since tomatillos are already acidic. i'll taste the resulting mush first and then decide if it needs any ACV.
 

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I believe that store bought salad dressing is one of the most evil products you can consume. I make a new vinaigrette dressing with each salad and my fav vinegar is seasoned rice wine in the red cap.
If red wine vinegar is your go to then absolutely use it. If ACV is your go to use that..........you get the idea.
 

mashpaddled

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I use vinegar when I have to as a corrective factor but I try to use as little as absolutely possible because as mentioned above it can stand out in a sauce. A small amount typically won't though. I've used all sorts of vinegar depending on the sauce. I like rice wine vinegar when a sauce could benefit from a touch of sweetness. Apple cider vinegar is usually my go-to. I would use distilled vinegar as a last resort because it stands out the most as the flavor and sharpness of acetic acid.
 

Nagorg

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So, I used the red wine vinegar. First off, I almost didn't because I thought my peppers had a natural twang after the ~1.5 months of fermentation. They were actually delicious; so delicious I want to make more to keep around for taco's and whatever else screams for jalapenos. But these were destined to become pepper sauce...

I first used a 1:1 ratio of brine to vinegar, 1/8 of a cup each at a time. I wound up with ~3/4 of a cup being added total but wasn't liking the brine flavor too much and thought the red wine vinegar was coming through too much. My sauce was still too thick so I wound up adding about ~1/2 cup or so of vegetable broth until I got to the desired viscosity. I used vegetable broth because my wife is vegan and I want her to like my pepper sauce too.

It wound up pretty tasty and I got 6 woozy bottles from this batch of Jalapeno and Serrano peppers, all from my garden. I do wonder if Malt vinegar would impart a "better" vinegar character for my taste. Maybe I'll try that in my next batch using Jalapeno, Serrano and Habanero; all from my garden! :) It keeps producing peppers!

1634510113968.png
 

Sunfire96

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So my ferment was going well, cloudy and pumping out CO2. Now after about a week, the liquid is clearing up and it seems like most of the bacteria has precipitated out to the bottom. Is it time to blend and make hot sauce? The recipe in the book I'm using recommends fermenting for up to 4 weeks but this has only been going for 1 week.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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So my ferment was going well, cloudy and pumping out CO2. Now after about a week, the liquid is clearing up and it seems like most of the bacteria has precipitated out to the bottom. Is it time to blend and make hot sauce? The recipe in the book I'm using recommends fermenting for up to 4 weeks but this has only been going for 1 week.
I would let it go for a few more weeks. In that short amount of time I can't imagine the lacto has consumed much of the sugars and is just getting started
 

sweetcell

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The recipe in the book I'm using recommends fermenting for up to 4 weeks but this has only been going for 1 week.
1 week seems a little short... i would hold out a while longer, at least another week if not two. there could be other processes going on that don't produce visible signs like CO2. certainly can't hurt to wait a bit.

the fermentation of my current batch was done in less than 2 weeks, at least the visible stuff. it's now at 3 weeks, mostly because i'm lazy and haven't found time to package it yet. but to make myself feel better, i tell myself that i'm giving the fermentation extra time so i can be certain everything is done :ghostly:
 

sweetcell

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finally packaged up my salsa. turned out less verde and more naranja, due to the tomatillos not having much color while the habaneros and red jalapenos having lots of color to share. the tomatillos contribute a lot of acidity and not much else, as far as i can tell. garlic came through nicely. definitely picante, possibly the spiciest batch i've ever made.

hotsauce#5salsanaranja.jpg
 

sweetcell

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had another brine-vs-vinegar thought while packaging the salsa: brine is quite spicy by the end of the fermentation, while vinegar isn't spicy at all. therefore, if your hot sauce isn't hot enough, you might want to stick with brine and get as much heat in there as possible. on the other hand, if you're looking to cut the heat a little then choosing vinegar over brine would be the way to go.
 

Sunfire96

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What do yall do to make your sauce shelf stable? Pasteurize, fill bottles hot, then flip upside down? Put ferment in fridge before processing to kill the lacto? Nothing and trust the pH?
 

sweetcell

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What do yall do to make your sauce shelf stable? Pasteurize, fill bottles hot, then flip upside down? Put ferment in fridge before processing to kill the lacto? Nothing and trust the pH?
personally, i heat the blended mush until it boils at the edges, mix thoroughly to ensure everything has reached pasteurization temps, let cool, fill, and store bottles in beer fridge. no need to fill bottles hot, IMO, hot sauces are pretty resilient thanks to their low pH and lack of fermentables (lacto and other bugs already consumed those in primary).

putting the fermentation in the fridge won't kill the lacto. it'll slow down and/or go dormant, but it's still alive and will kick back up as soon as you warm it up again.

EDIT: i soak my bottle in star san before filling, i guess that's one more way i'm making a small effort to keep my stuff clean :D
 
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hottpeper13

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Because the pH is below 4.6 you can give them a water bath for 30 min if packed hot or 60 min if room temp to make shelf stable.
 

sweetcell

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Blasphemy! :D
🌶🔥
lol. it happens. some folks can eat carolina reapers straight, others need to watch their ulcers... i'm somewhere in the middle. i wouldn't want my latest batch of salsa to be any hotter - i like to put a lot on my food to really get the taste of the sauce, if the scovilles are too high i don't taste anything else.

what is your favorite food to put hot sauces on? many mornings i make myself a breakfast burrito (scrambled eggs and cheese on a tortillas, with occasional avocado and/or leftovers mixed in) and i couldn't imagine eating one without some homemade heat.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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what is your favorite food to put hot sauces on?
Wings, pizza, eggs, burgers, gumbo, chili, nachos, tacos, burritos, rub it on a steak before I grill it, I use it to marinade various meats, use it to do a wet-rub if I'm smoking, rice, fish, sushi, sandwiches...Pretty much everything I consume is turned up. If I wasn't lactos-intolerant I'd probably put it on cereal lol.

Awesome looking salsa 'verde' by the way!
 

Miraculix

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Wings, pizza, eggs, burgers, gumbo, chili, nachos, tacos, burritos, rub it on a steak before I grill it, I use it to marinade various meats, use it to do a wet-rub if I'm smoking, rice, fish, sushi, sandwiches...Pretty much everything I consume is turned up. If I wasn't lactos-intolerant I'd probably put it on cereal lol.

Awesome looking salsa 'verde' by the way!
Maaaan am I hungry now.
 

BGBC

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So I found myself with an abundance of peppers this summer and decided to give a few sauces a try. So far, not bad, but on my most recent batch I was given a few poblanos after I had already started fermenting the peppers. Would I be able to roast these poblanos and add them at blending for some extra flavor? Or will having non-fermented peppers give this a drastically short shelf life/cause other issues?
I've used roasted peppers pre-ferment. I've added some ingredients post-fermentation for flavor purposes (ginger, garlic, etc), but not in significant quantities. If it was me, I would have added the add'l peppers to the fermentation, even if it was already a couple days along.

do folks here have thoughts or feeling about vinegar vs. brine when it comes to blending?
I usually end up adding 50/50 vinegar and brine at blending. All brine would be too salty/funky, but need more liquid to get the thickness correct.

for my sauces, i need to add some sort of liquid when i blend otherwise the sauce turns out way too thick. i wonder what other liquids could be used... beer? wine? spirits? acidic fruit juice? coffee?!?
In my latest batch, I cold-brewed coffee grounds in white vinegar and used that in the final product. Coffee doesn't really come through that strongly, but it's there in the background.
 

BGBC

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personally, i heat the blended mush until it boils at the edges, mix thoroughly to ensure everything has reached pasteurization temps, let cool, fill, and store bottles in beer fridge. no need to fill bottles hot, IMO, hot sauces are pretty resilient thanks to their low pH and lack of fermentables (lacto and other bugs already consumed those in primary).
If you're storing in the fridge anyway, why pasteurize? You lose any benefit from the 'live' cultures

what is your favorite food to put hot sauces on? many mornings i make myself a breakfast burrito (scrambled eggs and cheese on a tortillas, with occasional avocado and/or leftovers mixed in) and i couldn't imagine eating one without some homemade heat.
I've made so much hot sauce this year, it's going on everything. For eggs, we've been mixing it in with the eggs before cooking (and then adding some after if it still needs more heat).

My other favorite breakfast is savory oatmeal - instead of cinnamon, sugar, peanut butter, etc, add in your favorite combo of tahini, olive oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, shredded cheese, sauerkraut, etc
 

PCABrewing

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I just finishing putting my first batch of fermented hot sauce together about an hour before even thinking to look on here for tips! I'm excited, but thinking back on how (not) well my first beer turned out I'm cautiously optimistic.

Garlic, ginger, orange bell, a couple mini sweet reds, some carrot, a smoked/dried New Mexico chili, 2 delicious peaches, 6 or 8 habaneros and a scotch bonnet. 3% brine. I'm hoping for a sweet heat that is an appealing shade of brown lol.

I need to quickly figure out how to get an airlock attached to the lid of the mason jar though. I thought it would be as easy as drill a hole, insert grommet/gasket thing, stick airlock in. Come to find out (after everything was in the brine) my largest drill bit is too small :mad: that will be a project for tomorrow.


Anyway, @Yooper my wife and I just got back from a road trip up through the UP and loved it! We camped at Sleeping Bear Dunes a couple of nights, Spent another couple of days camping and kayaking around Pictured Rocks and made our way back home to Nebraska. I love it up there...I'm not a big fan of those Pasty things though lol
If you get back up there try camping at FJ Mclain near Houghton in the UP.
You can get a campsite almost on the beach and if it is a warm summer you might even be able to tolerate a dip in the big lake.
Water so clear you can see your toes when you are chest deep.

So back on topic, do you have to inoculate with Lactobacillus? Or just rely on nature?
I always have more hot peppers than I can eat and this might be a good alternative.
 

sweetcell

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All brine would be too salty/funky, but need more liquid to get the thickness correct.
to date the majority of my sauces have been brine-only and they've turned out great. not too funky nor salty, but that's just according to taste buds around here (which do skew heavily towards salt). like you, i've recently moved to a 50/50'ish mix and plan on sticking with that.

If you're storing in the fridge anyway, why pasteurize? You lose any benefit from the 'live' cultures
so this is probably a topic for another thread ("the debate thread"?), but: i don't buy into the live cultures/probiotics thing. lacto cannot survive your stomach acids, so by the time the probiotic gets to where it can be absorbed (small intestine) there is no difference between the recently-killed lacto from a probiotic and the long-dead lacto in my pasteurized sauce. since i don't care about having live lacto in my food, i'd rather have the benefit of stability that pasteurization brings. but this is just me, i fully realize many many people seek out live cultures for their (purported) benefits. i also acknowledge that i could be full of crap :yes:

love the savory oatmeal suggestion, thanks!
 

Genuine

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I'm glad I found this thread. I recently got into making my own hot sauces and currently doing my first fermented one. Previously I fire roasted half a pound of habanero's, along with a red pepper, half an onion and 4 garlic cloves. Once roasted, I threw those into the blender with 3 fingers of salt, sugar, half cup of white vinegar and half a cup of water. It was a great savory hot sauce with some decent kick. This time around I picked up the Ball fermentation jar kit and doing half pound of habanero's with a half pound of scotch bonnets, 4 cloves of garlic and a quarter of an onion. It's been in there for about 3 days now. I plan on using some of the brine and vinegar in the blender when it's ready.
 

sweetcell

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doing half pound of habanero's with a half pound of scotch bonnets, 4 cloves of garlic and a quarter of an onion.
:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

wow, your heat tolerance is clearly higher than mine! your recipe is essentially all hot peppers, and no carriers/fillers. both habaneros and bonnets are listed in the 100K to 350K SHU range... should put some hair on your chest.

my hot sauces are typically 40-50% hot peppers and the rest carrier/filler. other than garlic, my favorite non-pepper ingredient is pineapple. i'll be making ver.2 of my pineapple/habanero/garlic/ginger sauce for my next batch.
 

Genuine

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:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

wow, your heat tolerance is clearly higher than mine! your recipe is essentially all hot peppers, and no carriers/fillers. both habaneros and bonnets are listed in the 100K to 350K SHU range... should put some hair on your chest.

my hot sauces are typically 40-50% hot peppers and the rest carrier/filler. other than garlic, my favorite non-pepper ingredient is pineapple. i'll be making ver.2 of my pineapple/habanero/garlic/ginger sauce for my next batch.
Well, a big reason for it is from going through covid and losing my taste and smell. The only thing I could pick up was extreme saltiness/sweet or anything spicy. So when I couldn't taste anything else, hot sauce went on anything and everything. That evolved into watching Hot Ones at night and really peeked my curiosity. From there I ordered their Da Bomb Insanity sauce and that sauce is about at my limit. The sugar in the recipe helps out a ton because it starts out sweet, and then the heat shows up about 8 seconds later. When it's on a wing, the heat doesn't come through as much as you would think so it's very restrained in that aspect. Now, if you do a spoonful of it, then it's a different story LOL! So, it's a great savory sauce with a kick but nothing that I would find over bearing. I was hoping it would be hotter considering the amount of peppers I put into it. I've brought a batch into work and made wings for the guys to have them try and most everyone said the same. They considered it savory with a nice heat level, but nothing that's mind-blowingly hot.
 

sweetcell

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Da Bomb Insanity sauce and that sauce is about at my limit.
lol, like i said your tolerance is clearly higher than mine - and now we know why, COVID. have your senses of taste and smell come back to "normal", or did COVID permanently affect those?

RE: the Hot Ones gauntlet, i might be able to survive the first half, but those upper sauces look painful. if i was ever invited on Hot Ones (not that i ever would be), i would skip Da Bomb - it's pure extract and no one enjoys it. seems like just pain, the common reaction to it is "why? just, WHY?!?". i've got enough such questions bouncing around my head :D
 

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my hot sauces are typically 40-50% hot peppers and the rest carrier/filler. other than garlic, my favorite non-pepper ingredient is pineapple. i'll be making ver.2 of my pineapple/habanero/garlic/ginger sauce for my next batch.
Carrots for me. The spicy carrots also make for a great snack post-fermentation. I tried pineapple, mango, and peach with habanero this year and all came out nice.
 

Goat_Rock_Hal

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Greetings all,
I’m benefiting from a harvest of orange manzano peppers which I seed (de-seed? - black seeds btw), whack up in a food processor with some salt just until coarsely chopped, set up to ferment with the glass weight and rubber nipple arrangement and a splash of pickle juice in 1/2 gallon jars for a couple weeks, then blend with fire roasted orange bell peppers, roasted garlic, roasted carrots and some white vinegar. I strain the result through a two mesh strainer and end up with awesome tangy yellow hot sauce and a side product of yellow mash suitable for all sorts if things. Though I refrigerate these, I understand the live cultures help prevent spoilage.
8501739C-126F-404A-A8DB-83DD2706E815.jpeg
 

Genuine

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lol, like i said your tolerance is clearly higher than mine - and now we know why, COVID. have your senses of taste and smell come back to "normal", or did COVID permanently affect those?

RE: the Hot Ones gauntlet, i might be able to survive the first half, but those upper sauces look painful. if i was ever invited on Hot Ones (not that i ever would be), i would skip Da Bomb - it's pure extract and no one enjoys it. seems like just pain, the common reaction to it is "why? just, WHY?!?". i've got enough such questions bouncing around my head :D
I'd say I'm about 99% back to my normal smell and taste. There's been recent times when I've had my favorite foods and they taste like I remember them so that's great. Da Bomb isn't a sauce that I'd put any anything on a daily basis however it's fun to have friends try when they come over for wings.
 

Nagorg

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This is the hottest sauce we have in the fridge. But its honestly too much! Like you said @Genuine, fun to break out when friends come over.

1636084751682.png
 

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I have been wondering if I could make fermented hot sauce without using the brine which is a bit too salty for me. At the same time, I don't want to use only vinegar to blend with the fermented peppers. Any other suggestions for liquids to blend with other than brine or vinegar? Would beer work (given that this is a beer web site after all)?
 

sweetcell

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I have been wondering if I could make fermented hot sauce without using the brine which is a bit too salty for me. At the same time, I don't want to use only vinegar to blend with the fermented peppers. Any other suggestions for liquids to blend with other than brine or vinegar? Would beer work (given that this is a beer web site after all)?
a few options were discussed above. as far as i know no one has tried beer yet. i bet a sour/lambic-style beer would work well!
 
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