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Old October 4, 2016   #1
TomNJ
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Default Fermented pepper sauce

I just picked a few pounds of ripe Serrano and Tabasco peppers and want to try making a fermented hot sauce (I usually make a non-fermented sauce). In searching for recipes online, all of the sites seem to agree that adding the right amount of salt is important, but there is no consensus on what that right amount is.

There seems to be two approaches. One is to just add salt to the chopped peppers and let it ferment. It appears in this method the salt should be 2% of the weight of the peppers.

The other approach is to ferment in a brine, which is what I want to do. Here I see salt listed as 5 to 10%, but it never says percent of what! Is it 5% of the weight of the peppers, 5% of the added liquid (brine), or 5% of the total mixture?

Often the recipes show tablespoons of salt per volume of water, but the amounts per cup of water varies from 1/2 TBS to 1.5 TBS - that's a 3X difference! Also, the amount (weight) of salt in a tablespoon can vary by as much as 100% depending on how fine of a grind. For example, my table salt lists 2400 mg of sodium per teaspoon, while my Kosher salt (coarser grind) lists 1120 mg sodium per teaspoon. Good golly miss Molly!

So if the salt ratio is so important, why is there no clear consensus on the right ratio?

Can anyone provide a little guidance here?

TomNJVA
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Old October 4, 2016   #2
Worth1
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Tom in the preserving your harvest section there is a thread a mile long about fermenting.
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=38997

Here is a link to good information on fermenting.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...YEfUXXqmtKw2wQ
I use somewhere around 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt per quart of clean water not city treated water.
The salt I use is canning salt.

You dont have to do this with an eye dropper it isn't that important.
What is important is the temperature you do this at.
The hotter it is the more salt you will need to use.
I do mine around 75 degrees sometimes for months on end.
A whole heck of a lot of stuff you are seeing on line is total BS.
Worth
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Old October 5, 2016   #3
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Tom did you get the answer you were looking for?
I can go into any detail you need please feel free to ask.

Worth
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Old October 5, 2016   #4
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I am thinking of doing this with my aji amarillo peppers but I've been reading that peppers are really prone to mold when you try and ferment them...
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Old October 5, 2016   #5
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Originally Posted by luigiwu View Post
I am thinking of doing this with my aji amarillo peppers but I've been reading that peppers are really prone to mold when you try and ferment them...
I have fermented a ton, 'well not a ton, but a lot of peppers and I haven't seen hide nor hair of mold.
The trick is to keep out the oxygen and have a Co2 environment.
Use non chlorinated water.
Use canning salt.
Don't over wash the product.
Keep the product under the fluid.
If and if you think you want to test them use a freshly cleaned fork to do it with.
You shouldn't even be wanting to test them for at least 6 to 8 weeks.
Mine have went for months.
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Old October 5, 2016   #6
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Thanks Worth. I think I got the salt ratio thing worked out - the brine should be 5% salt by weight, which makes it easier since weight measurements eliminate the inaccuracies in volume measurements due to different in salt fineness. For a fine salt this would be about 3 TBS salt per quart as you noted. For Kosher salt with a coarse grind it would be 6 TBS per quart. I will weigh out the salt rather then use tablespoons.

I intend to chop the hot peppers with some garlic, add a little whey, pack them into a half-gallon mason jar, cover them with 5% brine, and loosely add a standard mason jar lid & band. Each day I will tighten the lid, shake, and re-loosen the lid again so the CO2 can escape. After fermentation I will beat the peppers smooth in a blender and strain into jars. I may drain all or part of the brine, add vinegar and/or lime juice, and boil it so I can can the batch. Sound okay?

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Old October 5, 2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomNJ View Post
Thanks Worth. I think I got the salt ratio thing worked out - the brine should be 5% salt by weight, which makes it easier since weight measurements eliminate the inaccuracies in volume measurements due to different in salt fineness. For a fine salt this would be about 3 TBS salt per quart as you noted. For Kosher salt with a coarse grind it would be 6 TBS per quart. I will weigh out the salt rather then use tablespoons.

I intend to chop the hot peppers with some garlic, add a little whey, pack them into a half-gallon mason jar, cover them with 5% brine, and loosely add a standard mason jar lid & band. Each day I will tighten the lid, shake, and re-loosen the lid again so the CO2 can escape. After fermentation I will beat the peppers smooth in a blender and strain into jars. I may drain all or part of the brine, add vinegar and/or lime juice, and boil it so I can can the batch. Sound okay?

Tom
The salt doesn't have to be that accurate at all but Morton has a good site with this already figured out for you if you wish.
Your choice.
Now for the jar lid thing.
Put the lid on tight not loose.
In a few days or the next day you will start to feel the lid get tight.
When this happens just barely crack it to let some of the Co2 escape then put it back tight again.
In the beginning it will be very active and then settle back down again.

But you always want to keep the lid tight.
It wont blow up.
You will see it bubble when you crack the lid a little.

Now for the vinegar or lemon juice.
If it is fermented properly it will be acidic enough without it.
But you can use it if you wish or even powdered citric acid.

Aslo if you are going to make the sauce you want to make when it is warm in the blender you can add Xanthan gum.
About 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per quart of sauce slowly while it is in the blender.
Blend a bunch.
This will keep it from separating.
I did it and love the results.
But I ferment whole not chopped up.
Worth
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Old October 5, 2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luigiwu View Post
I am thinking of doing this with my aji amarillo peppers but I've been reading that peppers are really prone to mold when you try and ferment them...
There's a bunch of people on another site that are finding fermentation to be easy once you get the basics down. One yechy batch reported, but no reports of mold yet. Be sure the pod is open, though.

Other than that I have little to say on the subject as I've never done it my own self.

Good luck!
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Old October 6, 2016   #9
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Adding some carrot to the top of the jar of peppers has solved the problem of mold and stuff for me (still have yeast but that's probably because it's rather warm temperature). This way the acidity grows faster in the first week, keeping the other stuff away.
Also I just now bought some ceramic fermentation crock (with water lid and all that) that should help even more. Apparently they're quite cheap here in Germany probably due to lack of demand (a Schmitt is about 30 euro for 10 liters). The only problem left is that the water evaporates way faster than I imagined from the lid, I think for longer time storage where you can't refill it every 2 days, oil needs to be used.
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Old October 6, 2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipcode View Post
Adding some carrot to the top of the jar of peppers has solved the problem of mold and stuff for me (still have yeast but that's probably because it's rather warm temperature). This way the acidity grows faster in the first week, keeping the other stuff away.
Also I just now bought some ceramic fermentation crock (with water lid and all that) that should help even more. Apparently they're quite cheap here in Germany probably due to lack of demand (a Schmitt is about 30 euro for 10 liters). The only problem left is that the water evaporates way faster than I imagined from the lid, I think for longer time storage where you can't refill it every 2 days, oil needs to be used.

It may not be evaporating as fast as you think but yes they do evaporate.

I am going to try and draw a cross section and show what is going on.
Smart move on the German style crock.
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Old October 6, 2016   #11
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Here is a cross section of the crock.
I will try to explain what is going on.
I remember the first time I saw it I was baffled.

What normally happens is the pressure will get to a certain level and push out gas through the waster trough.
This pressure could be measured in ounces at the most to overcome the amount it would take to overcome the pressure it takes to do this through the water.
Now lets say the outside pressure changes from the inside and gets higher on the outside.
Now the pressure is pushing the other way and forcing the water level to drop on the outside and get higher on the inside.
I effect it is acting like a barometer.
You will notice that when the container temperature drops the pressure from the outside will push air or water back to the inside.
This is why it is important to have water seal/lock or keep the lid tight so you will always have the seal of a positive pressure inside the container.
You will also see in one of the pictures where the inner water dam is higher than the outside rim.
It is made this way to keep the outside water from flowing into the container when this happens.
If you put more water in it when it is cold in the house at night it will overflow out onto the floor when it warms back up.
This is no big deal I suppose depending on what the floor is.
I keep mine sitting on a towel.
The other thing I did to keep the container warm in the house in the winter was to shine a lamp on it so I could keep it around 70 degrees in a 55 degree house at night.

Worth

Fermenting Crock.jpg

20161006_114454.jpg
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Old October 7, 2016   #12
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Worth, when you ferment whole peppers, do you cut a slit in the peppers to allow the brine to work its way inside the peppers?
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Old October 7, 2016   #13
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I've got a habanero plant outside that has a ton of ripe peppers and need to figure out what to do with it quickly. Cold temps are coming soon.
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Old October 7, 2016   #14
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Yes I did cut a slit in the habs and used a plunger to remove air pockets, the jalapenos I stemmed and cut in half length ways.
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