Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Cayenne Pepper Sauce

leave a comment »

What went into the hot sauce today

Rinse well a great number of red cayenne peppers and cut off and discard the stems. Then chop the peppers and put into a large bowl. Add to the bowl:

• 4″ fresh ginger root, sliced thinly
• 8 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
• 8 Medjool dates, chopped
• 1 Cosmic Crisp apple, sliced thinly (that’s the variety I have on hand)
• 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly
• 1 medium Spanish onion sliced thinly

This recipe uses a carrot and a parsnip as fermentation food for the microbes, augmenting the peppers. I prefer fruit (apple, dates) and onion — which, like fruit, is fairly high in sugar — and I think ginger and garlic will go well in pepper sauce. (If you search the blog for my posts on such sauces, search both “pepper sauce” and “hot sauce” since I never settled on which to call it.)

I wore disposable gloves for the chopping — cayenne peppers. I chopped 4 or 5 peppers at a time with a chef’s knife. I used the garlic mandoline for the garlic, and the regular mandoline (at a 1mm setting) for the apple and Spanish onion.

I had planned to use 1 large red onion, but when I went to the store to buy it, they had no red onions at all. So I made do with the medium Spanish onion that I bought and the 1/2 red onion I had on hand.

I used my lesson learned in a previous batch: to make mixing easier, I did half the peppers, then the onions, garlic, dates, and apple, then the other half of the peppers.

Above left: the chopped ingredients before massaging and mixing: chopped peppers are the bottom layer and the top layer, the onion, garlic, ginger, apple, and dates in the middle.

Above right: after massaging and mixing, including mixing in the starter culture

UPDATE: I have since learned that mixing is fine, but massaging is not the way to do it. Just chop and mix; no massage. When making kraut, one does massage the cabbage to get it to release its liquid, but in fermenting other vegetables no massaging is done — and not massaging is not only for peppers but also (say) for cucumbers when making fermented pickles. I now want to make a new batch of pepper without massaging and with the red habanero peppers I saw recently. Live and learn. /update

Once all the ingredients were chopped and in a bowl, I added the vegetable starter culture to 1/2 cup water to rehydrate and let that sit.

The bowl of peppers etc. weighed 3325g. I subtracted the bowl’s weight (1135g) to get the weight of the vegetables: 2190g, or 4.8lbs.  I added an amount of sea salt equal to 2.5% of that weight — 55g — to the bowl of chopped vegetables. (I’m going a little saltier for this sauce (2.5%) than I usually do for fermented vegetables (2%).) — UPDATE: On reading more about the readiness of peppers to mold, I think the next time I make this (and I definitely will be making it again), I’ll use an amount of salt that weighs 4% of the weight of vegetables, maybe even 5%. ALSO: I belatedly realized that the spring water I added should also include an appropriate amount of salt, otherwise the added water will result in a dilution of the brine. See this post — important./update

I put on a fresh pair of disposable gloves and massaged the be-jesus out of the peppers etc., mixing and mashing well. [As noted in the update: don’t do the massaging. This step reflects my ignorance.] Once the vegetables were tender and some liquid was visible in the bottom of the bowl (though not much), I added the starter culture water and mixed and massaged some more to be sure the starter culture was well distributed throughout the batch.

About 3 1/2 liters, starting to ferment.

I’ll let the sauce ferment for 2 weeks. Then I’ll pour off and reserve the liquid and use my immersion blender to blend the peppers etc. in the jars. I’ll add back reserved liquid as needed to get a good pepper-sauce consistency. I might also add some vinegar or perhaps blended lemon pulp or lime pulp. Then I’ll fill 1-pint jars with the fermented sauce and cap and refrigerate the jars (to slow fermentation to a crawl). 

I discovered a while back that it’s best to use wide-mouth jars for homemade pepper sauce because it’s easier to spoon out as much as you want. Back then, though, I was making cooked pepper sauce. This fermented pepper sauce is a new direction for me. (Sriracha is fermented — but then pasteurized, which kills the probiotics. My sauce will retain the probiotic goodness.)

Some useful articles on pepper/hot sauce

A post on making hot sauce offers good guidance to the variety you can find. See also  How to Ferment Chili Peppers and this Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe.

Also, my general post on fermentation. This is a good starting point for fermenting vegetables in general — for example, The Big Red One.

The final product

The finished sauce (2 liters; full info at link)

After two weeks, I deemed the sauce finished, and I drained it (saving some of the liquid for future fermentation), blended it, and bottled it — details here

The sauce is fairly mild — some warmth, no real heat — and very flavorful. I like it, and I definitely will make another batch of pepper sauce when this runs out and I will include habanero peppers and/or Thai red chiles.

I was lucky to find cayenne peppers in the store since they seldom appear. Someone asked me whether a pepper sauce like this can be made from other peppers, and the answer is definitely “Yes.” In fact, since I doubt I’ll find cayenne peppers when I run out of the batch I made, I’ve given some thought to what I’ll use. Here’s my tentative list of ingredients:

• lots of jalapeños, at least a quart — these will be the main pepper
• good amount of Serrano peppers, say a pint — a supporting role
• a small number — 10-12 — Thai red chiles (for the heat, you know)
• either half a dozen dried chipotles or a can of chipotles in adobo
• 4 or 5 dried ancho chiles, with core and seeds discarded, cut into pieces

And then aromatics and food for the microbes:

• 4″ fresh ginger root, sliced thinly
• 8 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
• 8 Medjool dates, chopped
• 1 apple, sliced thinly
• 1 large red onion, sliced thinly

Or I might follow the suggestion of the recipe that gave me the idea and use a carrot and a parsnip.

Written by Leisureguy

18 August 2022 at 2:35 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: