Fermented hot pepper sauce

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Nagorg

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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)?

FWIW, I used some vegetable broth and it seemed to work well. It has a savory flavor that tamed the vinegar "twang" without being too salty. I have no idea if there's any problem with using that but if there is, I sure havent observed it. The sauce is delicious and almost gone now. 😲
 

Evilgrin

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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)?

Thats simple. You can buy lactic acid for brewing. Mix it with water to the pH you want. Best guess would be shoot for around 3.6pH. Add that to your ferment when making the sauce. I use lime juice often too. Actually pretty much any sauce i make gets lime juice added.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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I haven't been active on here in quite some time so I'd like to photo-dump real quick and let you know what I've been up to:

This year I decided I'm going all in on my hot sauce/salsa/bloody mary mix game!

I've got two varieties of Jalapenos, Ghost Scorpion, Piri Piri, Cayenne, 7 pot bubblegum (the '7 pot' name comes from the fable that one pepper is hot enough to spice up 7 pots of soup...we'll see), Yellow Fever (another superhot, supposedly clocking in around 2 million scoville), Antep Aci Dolma (essentially a sweeter red bell pepper with the heat of a jalapeno. I'm very excited for these!), Korean Hot (traditional pepper used for kim chi), Hawaiian Sweet Hot, Caribe, a Red Scotch Bonnet and some others I'm sure I've forgotten about lol.

My Jalapeno seedlings are extremely leggy to the point they fall over under the weight of their cotyledons so I'm going to attempt to transplant them deep in hopes that they will put out new root growth but I fear I may not have a Jalapeno crop this season :(

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On top of all the pepper varieties I've got 8 varieties of tomatoes going right now as well. I don't really like tomatoes so I decided I would at least grow the more unusual and weird varieties:

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Here in zone 5 there is still time to get seeds started indoors - if anyone would like some pepper or tomato seeds drop me a line and I'll do my best to get some sent out to you in time
 

ringneck

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I plant all my seeds every year too. When they get spindly like that it usually means there isn't enough light and they're stretching to reach the light. Previously I used T5HO bulbs, but for this coming year I upgraded to a Mars LED light. I also keep a small fan on the plants which helps bulk up the stalks.
I start my seeds around St Patrick's day to put in the ground around mother's day. (Chicago area / zone 5) I generally make adobo sauce or salsa - but this fermented sauce thread has me thinking of some new things for this coming summer...
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sweetcell

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love seeing the grows! unfortunately here in the PNW peppers don't do very well. i'm on the border between zones 8 and 9, thanks to elevation. our summers are hot but i fear not quite long enough. that, and all the wildlife would ravage them...

bought ingredients for my next batch of habanero + red jalapeno + pineapple + ??? sauce last week, only to be reminded that we're out of town this week... so i put everything in the fridge and will do the ferment next week.
 

Nagorg

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It needs to warm up a little bit here. But I've really been enjoying the pepper sauces from last year and cant wait to get new batches going.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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I got 5 of my really leggy jalapenos transplanted into red solo cups with holes drilled in the bottom. I buried the stems pretty deep HOPING they'll sprout some adventitious roots like tomatoes do and not just fall victim to stem rot but it was either that stake/trellis/train jalapenos because of some weak stems or throw them out. Everything else is looking solid though so I should be transplanting the rest of my peppers and tomatoes to solo cups either this weekend or next. I don't care what the groundhog or the mercury say, it's feeling more like spring every day :)


@ringneck - how many sets of true leaves do you usually wait to see before transplanting out of their seed cells/starters? Those are some healthy lookin' peppers you posted. I'll be thrilled if mine resemble them even slightly!
 

ringneck

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@dawn_kiebawls - I don't transplant them at all. I start 2 pepper seeds each in 50mm Jiffy peat pods in seed trays. (The smaller peat pods don't maintain moisture consistently from my experience) As they start to get too dense and the light isn't able to get to the lower leaves, I thin down to 1 sprout per pod. They'll continue to grow and get too dense again, at which point I move 1/2 of the pods to a new tray and spread out the pods to 1 every other cell in the tray. I fertilize them with 1/4-1/2 of the recommended amount 2 or 3 times over the course of the 8-10 weeks before they go in the ground.

As the daytime temps get above 40-45, I move the trays outside during daylight and bring them back in until the overnight temps are warm enough. Usually during the last week or 2 the plants are outside full time.

I found light to be key. I have upgraded my lighting a few times over the years. Started with standard fluorescent shop lights, to T5HO shop lights, and now to an LED grow light. When I did use lesser powered lights, I found to keep the plants from getting leggy I would put the light only an inch or 2 above the plant tops (Assuming the light you use doesn't throw too much heat)

I start my tomatoes a week after my peppers in 4" pots. Tomatoes take less time to sprout, so usually this means they all sprout roughly together and stay the same height for the first several weeks while they're mostly under a grow light. Eventually the tomatoes grow bigger, so I use the bigger pots for them. I still don't transplant though, I start the seeds right in the same pot.
 

Oldskewl

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It sounds like the Mars LED grow light is worthwhile. Which model(s) do you have? I was looking at the Mars Hydra TS 600W full spectrum. Looks like it can be had on eBay for about $67 shipped. I only start about 16 pods at a time.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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Next season I'll be investing in a better quality grow light. This year I'm squeaking by with essentially LED shop lights, but they're 6500k spectrum so they're working well enough. They just aren't very powerful.

My peppers all sprouted within a week and my tomatoes sprouted within 5 days. I was not expecting them to go that fast, especially not my peppers so I started about 2 weeks early lol. I'm guessing I have about 9 weeks left before these go in the ground so I'm going to have to give away or compost most of my tomato plants because I made the rookie mistake of not realizing they will get bigger lol. Here's where they are now:

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sweetcell

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took me a little over 2 hours, start to finish, to get that half-gallon ferment together. i cut all the peppers in half, toss the stem & top, and scrape out 95% of the insides.

ingredients, in approximate order of weight: tap water (low mineral), habaneros, pineapple, red jalapenos, garlic, fresh ginger (two slices), table salt (3.5%/vol), gypsum, epsom salt. relatively simple recipe by my standards.
 

hottpeper13

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This year I used a mandolin to prep the peppers. Hold on to the stem and make rings until you see a few seeds then lay on side and make 4 or so planks and toss the placenta in the compost. I found this way gives me just the rite amount of seed heat when working with jalapenos. The thicker the wall the easier they slice.
 

Oldskewl

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Next season I'll be investing in a better quality grow light. This year I'm squeaking by with essentially LED shop lights, but they're 6500k spectrum so they're working well enough. They just aren't very powerful.

My peppers all sprouted within a week and my tomatoes sprouted within 5 days. I was not expecting them to go that fast, especially not my peppers so I started about 2 weeks early lol. I'm guessing I have about 9 weeks left before these go in the ground so I'm going to have to give away or compost most of my tomato plants because I made the rookie mistake of not realizing they will get bigger lol. Here's where they are now:

View attachment 761542 View attachment 761543 View attachment 761544

Wow! I thought I started too early. Your plants are further along than mine
 

sweetcell

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took me a little over 2 hours, start to finish, to get that half-gallon ferment together. i cut all the peppers in half, toss the stem & top, and scrape out 95% of the insides.

ingredients, in approximate order of weight: tap water (low mineral), habaneros, pineapple, red jalapenos, garlic, fresh ginger (two slices), table salt (3.5%/vol), gypsum, epsom salt. relatively simple recipe by my standards.

result:
HotSauceApril22.jpg


sauce should have been yellow, but i accidentally pureed some of the red jalapenos - intention is to pull them out before blending, cut them up roughly and add back the chunks. only blended in a few before i noticed my mistake, but shredded up enough to give the sauce an orange color.

gotta say this sauce is a FAIL for me: it's simply too hot. i intentionally made this one hotter than my previous batches by adding more habaneros and leaving more of the seeds and veins, but i overshot the mark. it's so hot, IMO, that i can't taste the pineapple or anything else: it takes so little to get to my desired degree of heat that there isn't enough sauce to convey the fruit, the tang, etc. alternately, if i put enough on to get the secondary flavors i enjoy the first bite, then spend the rest of the meal fighting the heat. lesson learned... maybe :D

any spice lords out there wanna swap??
 
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result:
View attachment 768459

sauce should have been yellow, but i accidentally pureed some of the red jalapenos - intention is to pull them out before blending, cut them up roughly and add back the chunks. only blended in a few before i noticed my mistake, but shredded up enough to give the sauce an orange color.

gotta say this sauce is a FAIL for me: it's simply too hot. i intentionally made this one hotter than my previous batches by adding more habaneros and leaving more of the seeds and veins, but i overshot the mark. it's so hot, IMO, that i can't taste the pineapple or anything else: it takes so little to get to my desired degree of heat that there isn't enough sauce to convey the fruit, the tang, etc. alternately, if i put enough on to get the secondary flavors i enjoy the first bite, then spend the rest of the meal fighting the heat. lesson learned... maybe :D

any spice lords out there wanna swap??

Yep. One year I had an extremely successful habanero crop. I started out making hot sauce with them, but they were so screaming hot that it was nearly inedible unless I used very little of them. Ultimately, I found that smoking them dry, then grinding them up into red pepper flakes in my food processor was awesome.
 
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I've got a crop of cayennes this year. I've been making simple red hot sauce with them. I'm experimenting with a little bit of xanthum gum to see if I can eliminate separation of the water/vinegar from the pepper juice. It takes a while, but my sauces have separated in the past.

My process:
  • chop peppers in food processor
  • ferment peppers for 2 weeks
  • add vinegar/water/salt/garlic powder/xanthum gum into pressure cooker and cook at 12psi for 10 minutes
  • push through strainer with a rubber spatula, fill bottles.
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I want to try making a pepper sauce like that. I will use your post as a guide. Thanks for posting it.

A few more pictures at the thread below, from a time a few years ago when I made a bunch of it.

 
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