Do you like hot sauce? Of course you do! Learn how to make your own fermented hot sauce using only peppers and salt.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients & Equipment
To make this recipe, you will need the following:
- Kosher Salt
- Jalapeno Peppers (3/4 pound)
- 1 pint wide mouth canning jar with lid (other shapes and sizes of jars will do, however)
- 1-2 cups of tap water
- Chipotle pepper or Cayanne pepper
- Xanthan gum (optional)
- Picking weights or fermentation lock*
- Mesh strainer
- Blender or mortar and pestle
*This can be anything heavy that fits inside the jar. It should be non-reactive like plastic, ceramic, or glass. I use a sandwich bag filled with marbles.
Step 2: Slice Peppers
Slice up the peppers so they are easier to pack into the jars. Discard the stems and the blossom end of the pepper.
Step 3: Prepare 3.5% Salt Brine
A 3.5% salt brine is going to be salty enough to keep the unwanted microbes at bay while the helpful lactobacteria convert the sugars in peppers to acids.
Prepare the salt brine by mixing 8g (approximately 1.5 teaspoons) of Kosher salt with 1 cup of tap water. It is better to weigh out the salt, because coarser and finer grinds of salt will have different weights.
Step 4: Pre-salt the Peppers
Add a bit of salt to the peppers so there is a light coating. This will soften them up and make them easier to back into the jars. Let them sit for about a half hour to an hour.
Step 5: Pack Into Jars
Add the peppers into your jar. Pack them into the jar as best you can. To keep the peppers submerged below the brine, you'll need a weight of some sort. I used a sandwich filled with marbles. If you have a lid and band you may place the lid over the top of the jar and give the band one twist. Do not tighten the band, the jar should not be sealed so the gasses created by fermentation are able to escape. The purpose of using the lid is to prevent contaminants from getting into your brine (dust, insects, etc).
Step 6: Ferment
Find a place with a consistent temperature of around 60-70F to let the peppers ferment. In 1-3 days, you should start to see bubbles. Depending on the temperature, the peppers will take 1-2 weeks to ferment. A sign that the fermentation is completed is when the bubbling slows and the peppers have turned a consistent color in the jar. They should now taste tart.
If you discover discoloration on the top of the jar, remove it and allow the fermentation to continue. As long as the peppers are submerged below the brine, it is unlikely that an infection will develop.
Step 7: Extract Hot Suace
Remove the peppers from the jar and mash them into a paste using a mortar and pestle or a blender. You may notice a light-colored sediment at the bottom of the jar. This is a normal byproduct of fermentation and is not cause for concern.
Run the pepper mash through a strainer and remove as much as the juice as possible. You can use a press such as a cheese press to extract more of the juice.
Your sauce is done! If you would like to prevent the sauce from settling over time, you can add some Xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is a food thickener that is produced by xanthan campestris bacteria. 1/8-1/4 tsp should be sufficient for each jar.
You can now bottle your sauce. I used an olive oil bottle. The sauce will store un-refrigerated for at least a couple weeks a room temperature, but refrigerating it will extend its shelf life.