2020 has been very trying to get through but it has brought back a lot of interest in making and preserving food at home. I’ve been busier than popcorn in a skillet this year trying to keep up with running restaurants in the middle of the pandemic, but I have carved out time to garden and preserve foods at the house. One of my favorite things to make so far has been fermented habanero ginger hot sauce. Fermenting is so easy to do, and really helps a hot sauce in my opinion. Instead of just heat, fermenting really gives a depth of flavor to the hot sauce that simply blending one won’t do.
Fermenting is really easy. It’s one of the oldest forms of food preservation. Basically, all you are doing is acidifying food so they will be preserved. You do this naturally by soaking vegetables in a brine solution. For any solution, you’ll want to use pickling salt or a finely ground Himalayan salt. Most recipes call for a 3% salt solution. This solution is basically 3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. Some recipes call for differing amounts, but I’ve used this and been very happy with the results. Allow to ferment for at least 6-7 days, but I usually allow my hot sauces to go for 30 days. Most active fermenting will stop after 10-12 days, but I think you’ll still get better flavor going longer.
What equipment do I need?
For equipment to ferment peppers, you really don’t need much. You can get started with just some mason jars. Fermenting releases gases from the bacteria (good bacteria, not bad bacteria) while the food ferments, so a fermenting lid with an airlock will make things easier. However, you can easily just quickly open the jars once or twice a day to release the build-up of gas. Another nice thing to have is a fermentation weight, which will hold whatever you are fermenting below the level of the brine. If you don’t have one, just put a bit of brine in a small, resealable bag and place over the vegetables to keep them under.
For hot sauce, you’ll also want some form of bottle to place the hot sauce in. I purchased some “boozy” bottles from Amazon (your typical hot sauce bottle shape.) This makes it fun and easy to give as gifts.
Especially if you’re just starting out, there really is no need to buy a lot of equipment. Get started and see how you enjoy it. I will tell you I have thoroughly enjoyed preserving food, and especially hot sauce, this way.
Here’s the recipe, hope y’all enjoy!Print