Do you grow hot peppers in your garden? If you do grow them, how would you use them? There are so many exciting ways to use hot peppers, from adding them directly to recipes, making hot pepper jelly, stuffing them, making hot sauce and more!
In this post, I share my recipe for fermented hot sauce. If you have a hard time with the heat level of your chilli peppers, the Scoville Heat Scale makes it easy to select a chilli that is right for you. I discuss the Scoville Scale and how fermentation reduces the heat of your chillies during fermentation, creating a more pleasing and easily palatable sauce.
Hot peppers grow in a profusion of shapes, colours, sizes and heat levels. Although shape and colour makes variety recognizable, heat level may be silent but deadly! The best way to identify the heat level of your chilli peppers is to refer to the Scoville Scale of measurement.
What is the Scoville Scale? Back in 1912, Wilbur Scoville, an American pharmacist, created a unit of measurement that ranked the capsaicinoid level in chillies using the organoleptic test (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale). By using a panel of experienced chilli eaters, he was able to rank peppers on his scale from no heat to extreme heat.
Today, a less subjective means of assessment is used to rank chilli peppers on the Scoville scale. Each year the scale is updated with new chillies, with chilli fans striving to achieve the hottest pepper on record. Currently, the hottest hot pepper measured is the Carolina Reaper, ranked at 2.2 million Scoville heat units (SHU’s)!
The reason I prefer to make fermented hot sauce, over regular hot sauce is for the added depth of flavour created through the process of fermentation. I also find that fermentation helps to reduce the actual heat level of the chillies, making them easier to consume. It allows me to savor the hot chillies that I grow, without experiencing pain. The sauce is still hot, but less searing hot than fresh, raw chillies. It also has a salty, tanginess that raw doesn’t have.
In order to make my fermented hot sauce, I select chillies of various heat levels. I choose to add jalapenos, ranked at 2,500 to 10,000 SHU’s, lemon drops ranked at 30,000 SHU’s, habaneros ranked between 300,000 to 400,000 SHU’s and others in between. If you would prefer a hotter hot sauce, choose chillies around 100,000 SHU’s and higher. If you would prefer a much milder sauce, select chillies around the jalapeno ranking. The choice is yours and is very flexible.
This recipe is adjustable, based on the size of your jar. If you would like to make a 1 litre jar, use less peppers.
Just ensure you have enough chillies to fill 2/3 of the jar.
*My recipe is based on a 2 quart jar.
Recipe for Fermented Hot Sauce
- 2 quart, wide-mouthed canning jar
- silicone fermentation lid
- wide-mouth canning jar ring
– this lid makes fermentation simple by automatically releasing air as it builds up. If you don’t have such a lid, you would need to open the jar daily to release any built up pressure.
- 2-3 cups hot peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 2 garlic cloves, banged to release allicin
- 4-5 cardamom pods
- 5-6 allspice balls
- 8 cups water
- 6 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- Ensure your jar or vessel is thoroughly washed and dried.
- Boil 8 cups of water, then turn off and add salt and sugar. Stir well to dissolve and set aside.
- Add cardamom and allspice to the jar.
- Add garlic cloves to the jar. Be sure to bang and bruise the cloves to release allicin. Allicin are the beneficial antioxidant compounds contained in the garlic. Releasing them will increase the health benefits of your hot sauce.
- Add prepped hot peppers to the jar.
- Pour cooled brine (salt/sugar water) into the jar, entirely covering the peppers.
- Insert the silicone lid into the canning ring and close the jar.
- Gently shake the contents of the jar and leave to ferment in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. A cupboard or dark corner of the kitchen counter are good options.
- Each day, gently move the jar to shake around the contents. Birp (open) the jar, if you’re not using a silicone lid.
- As the contents ferment, you will see little bubbles coming up inside the sides of the jar. This is good and shows that the fermentation process is taking place.
- In 2 weeks to 1 month, the fermentation will be complete. The bubbles will have stopped and the contents will begin to sink. If you find the ferment looks “active”, leave it to ferment for a few more days, then check again.
- When ready, drain the peppers, reserving the brine.
- Remove cardamom pods and allspice balls.
- Put the fermented peppers and garlic into the blender and process until fully chopped.
- Add a 1/2 cup of brine to the blender and process until smooth.
- Pour the gorgeous hot sauce into a pourable bottle.
- Store your hot sauce in the fridge. Will last for many months.
The reserved brine is actually delicious! Add it to cocktails, soups, or drink a little at a time. It is very high in probiotics and very healthy for your gut health. It would also add a great boost to your immune system if you’re experiencing sniffles, congestion or a sore throat*.
Another option is to use this brine to start another batch of fermented hot sauce or even pickles. Using this brine would decrease the length of time for future ferments.
I hope you enjoy my recipe for fermented hot sauce as much as I do! To download a nice printable pdf version of this recipe, please enter your email below and it will be sent right to your inbox.
*I’m not making medical claims. This isn’t an alternative to medicine. Please use your own discretion.
Here are the tools that I mentioned in the post.