Hot sauce is a vital ingredient of the pantry for someone who loves their food hot! A dash of hot sauce can make any dish hot and spicy – just what a spice lover’s taste buds like. It’s a highly versatile ingredient that can be used in several ways; whether you want to perk up a bowl of vegetables, make spicy Buffalo wings or prepare all-purpose dip sauce. There’s a huge variety of hot sauces available in the market today. However, did you know that most of your favorite hot sauces are fermented, including Sriracha and Tabasco? Of course, the fermented hot sauce recipe they follow might not be suited to what you have in your pantry. But that’s where we come in.
If you absolutely love the taste of the fermented hot sauce and never want to run out of it, you should consider making fermented hot sauce at home. This fermented hot sauce recipe is easy to follow, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to buy fermented hot sauce from the store!
Fermented Hot Sauce vs. Non-Fermented Hot Sauce
Let’s first understand the difference between fermented and non-fermented hot sauce before moving on to our main objective – the fermented hot sauce recipe.
The ingredients to make fermented and non-fermented hot sauce are the same. However, the difference lies in the method of preparation. Making non-fermented hot sauce is simpler, more straightforward, and quicker as compared to the process of making fermented hot sauce. You blend all the ingredients together to make a non-fermented hot sauce.
The prepared sauce can be used the regular way right away.
However, making non-fermented hot sauce is a lengthier process. The peppers are first put into a solution of salt brine in an airtight container and allowed to ferment for about a week or more. The process of fermentation starts during this duration.
The process involves the conversion of carbohydrates into acid and/or alcohol. Enzymes and bacteria facilitate the process.
The process of making fermented hot sauce may seem overwhelming at first, but the flavor makes it all worth it.
Why Ferment Hot Sauce?
Why ferment hot sauce when you can simply put all the ingredients in a blender and prepare your favorite hot sauce in a matter of minutes?
You might have this question on your mind. You may be skeptical about preparing your favorite hot sauce using a lengthier, more time-consuming method when you can do it in a simpler way. However, trust us when we say it’s all worth it.
Fermented hot sauce is better than non-fermented hot sauce in a number of ways.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you should ferment hot sauce.
The fermented hot sauce tastes so much better than the non-fermented one. It has got the perfect balance of hot and tangy. Fermented hot sauce is tangier in flavor than the non-fermented, blended type. The process of fermentation slowly builds onto the flavor, making it taste better.
The process of fermentation adds beneficial bacteria and probiotics to the hot sauce, making it healthier. Using fermented hot sauce instead of non-fermented one is beneficial for your gut health. Lactobacillus is the major bacteria that are dominant in the process of fermentation. It’s extremely beneficial for you.
Lactobacillus facilitates the breakdown of food and absorption of nutrients. Therefore, it helps improve digestion.
More Tamed Flavor
You may like the flavor of hot sauce, but it might be a little too hot for your tongue. Making hot sauce by blending the ingredients together would retain the actual hotness of the peppers. However, fermentation tames down the spice level a bit. The hot sauce is still hot, but the spiciness is converted into the flavor.
You don’t need vinegar or additional flavoring agents to make fermented hot sauce. All you need is salt, water, and peppers. The fermented hot sauce recipe is simpler and makes a hot sauce that tastes better and more natural. Therefore, people like fermented hot sauce more than the non-fermented variety.
Fermented hot sauces usually have a longer shelf-life. You can make the fermented hot sauce at home in bulk and store it away without worrying about it going bad.
Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe – A Step-by-Step Recipe for Beginners
You may feel intimidated by the name of fermented hot sauce, but the fermented hot sauce recipe is simple to understand and follow. However, if you follow all the steps right, you’ll get the perfect hot sauce, even if it’s your first attempt at making hot sauce at home.
Let’s get started.
- Chili peppers
- Fruits/ vegetables
- Citrus juice
- Salt and seasoning
You can make the fermented hot sauce at home using fresh peppers, dried peppers, or powdered peppers. Chili peppers are the main ingredient that makes the hot sauce what it is – hot! You can choose any one pepper type or use a combination of your favorites. Some pepper varieties, like the Mexican peppers, taste splendid in their dried and powdered form and make absolutely hot, hot sauces.
Vinegar and Acids
Unlike chili peppers, vinegar and acids are variables. You may or may not use them to make fermented hot sauce. There are many different types of vinegar that you can use in the making of fermented hot sauce, including white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and malt vinegar.
Each type has its own distinct taste and character and will have an effect on the final flavor of your hot sauce.
To add a tinge of acidity to your hot sauce, we suggest you add a few drops of citrus juice. However, keep in mind that your hot sauce made using lemon juice will taste contrastingly different than the hot sauce that uses orange juice. It all comes down to what flavor you like more.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables aren’t essential ingredients in the fermented hot sauce recipe. But as they say – the more the merrier. You can add fruits and vegetables to the hot sauce if you want your fermented hot sauce to have the depth and complexity of multiple flavors.
For example, many people add tomatoes to their hot sauce for their versatility and depth. Others add carrots to give their hot sauce a touch of sweetness. Onions and garlic are also commonly used vegetables in hot sauce.
Seasoning and Salt
The options of seasoning the hot sauce are endless. Everyone has got different taste buds, and you can use any seasoning that you like. As far as salt is concerned, it’s not just used as a seasoning, but it also acts as a preservative that’ll keep your hot sauce from spoilage.
A fermented hot sauce recipe is subject to numerous variables. You don’t have to stick to any one recipe. You can mix and match and prepare a fermented hot sauce that caters to your taste to perfection.
Steps to Make Fermented Hot Sauce
Let’s get started with the step-by-step fermented hot sauce recipe that’s sure to make the best fermented hot sauce!
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
Add all the ingredients to a jar, including the chili peppers and any vegetables that you’re planning to use. We’re following the fermented hot sauce recipe that includes onions, garlic, and carrot.
If you’re afraid that your hot sauce will turn out to be too hot, you can always tame down the spice level by adding bell peppers. Moreover, the flavor also gets milder with storage in the refrigerator.
Pro Tip: Try to stick to the same color palette when using chili peppers and bell peppers to make your hot sauce look appetizing.
Step 2: Prepare the Salt Water Brine
Preparing saltwater brine is the most critical step when making fermented hot sauce. Although it’s a mixture of sea salt and water, achieving the correct ratio is crucial. The ideal ratio is 1 and a quarter teaspoon of sea salt mixed in a cup of warm water.
If there’s not enough salt in the brine, it’ll promote the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Too much salt in the brine will lead to the death of all bacteria, and as a result, there will be no fermentation. If you feel the quantity of water in the jar is insufficient for the number of chilies, don’t just add water, add salt accordingly as well. Heat the water slightly to make the salt dissolve completely.
Pro Tip: Use finely ground sea salt. It’ll dissolve quicker.
Step 3: Pour Salt Brine into the Jar
Pour the salt brine solution into the jar containing the chili peppers. The solution should be enough that all the chili peppers are completely submerged in it. Push the chilies down if any part remains outside the salt brine solution.
Any part of chili that isn’t submerged in salt brine solution will go bad, resulting in all of the contents in the jar going bad.
Moreover, you can use fermentation weighs to ensure that chilies stay completely submerged in the salt brine solution. If you don’t have fermentation weighs, you can fill in water in a zip lock bag and place it over the top of the contents.
Step 4: Cover the Jar
This part is a bit tricky. If you seal the kid close, there’ll be no space for the fermentation gases to escape the jar. Bacteria will respire and produce waste gases during the process. If these gases accumulate, it can lead to the jar bursting.
If you leave the lid open, the contents will be exposed to dust, dirt, and flies. The question is – what is the right way to cover the fermentation jar?
Place the lid of the jar but don’t press it closed. Leave it loose. You can also cover the mouth of the fermentation jar with multiple layers of cheesecloth. It’ll allow the gases to escape as they’re produced while keeping the dust, dirt, and flies away.
Step 5: Store the Jar
You should store the fermentation jar in a cool dark place. Make sure to place the jar in a pan or dish to catch any liquid that may spill. The best place to store the fermentation jar is the basement. However, if you don’t have a basement in your house, you can store the jars in a lower cupboard that doesn’t receive any heat or light.
You’ll observe that the salt brine solution turns cloudy after a few days (3 to 5 days). If it does, don’t worry. It’s a sign that the fermentation process is going strong. Tap the jar lightly. Tiny bubbles should float to the surface. It’s another sign that your ferment is preparing well.
At this point, you may decide to stop the process or let it ferment longer. In our opinion, leaving the contents to ferment for 7 to 10 days is good enough.
Step 6: Prepare Your Hot Sauce
After you’re certain that the chilies have fermented sufficiently, strain the brine. Don’t waste it. You’ll need it. Pour the fermented chilies, onions, and garlic into a blender with a cup of brine.
Moreover, you can add any spices or herbs of your choice that you like in your hot sauce into the blender. Blend. Moreover, add more brine to adjust the consistency of your hot sauce to your liking. The fermented hot sauce recipe isn’t rock-solid. There’s always room for variations and modifications.
Pro Tip: Add a dash of apple cider vinegar for an absolute plunge of sharp flavor in your hot sauce.
Step 7: Storing Your Hot Sauce
Store the hot sauce in a squeeze bottle for everyday use. Leave the tip open because the sauce still has the bacteria, and it’ll continue to ferment. There has to be an outlet for the fermentation gases to escape.
Moreover, place a finger on the tip and give the bottle a good shake every time you fill out the bottle to use to make sure all the contents are mixed well.
- Even if you’re storing the fermented hot sauce in bulk, don’t store them in airtight containers. This isn’t canning. Fermentation means your sauce is alive, and it’ll continue to ferment. The jar is highly likely to explode if you seal it close.
- Pour the sauce into a pan and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. This will stop the fermentation process.
- If you’re storing fermented hot sauce in closed bottles, open the lid every few days to allow the gases to escape.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have a lot of questions if it’s your first time following a fermented house sauce recipe. Therefore, we’ve listed down answers to some of the most frequently asked questions for you:
Why does the brine become cloudy?
The brine becomes cloudy as a reason for active fermentation. The bacteria ferment on the contents of the jar and produce lactic acid. Its lactic acid makes the brine look cloudy.
How long should I ferment the hot sauce?
It takes about 5 to 7 days for the hot sauce to ferment. Most fermentation occurs during the first 2 weeks. It’ll then start to die down slowly.
How long does fermented hot sauce last?
If you store the fermented hot sauce in the refrigerator, it can easily last for 3 to 6 months.
How to preserve fermented hot sauce?
If you want to preserve your hot sauce for longer, you can freeze it. Freezing fermented hot sauce won’t spoil it.
Does the taste of fermented hot sauce change in the refrigerator?
Yes. You’ll observe that the fermented hot sauce becomes milder with time. It’s because the fermentation activity continues even in the refrigerator.
The fermented hot sauce definitely tastes better than the blended hot sauce. The best thing about making fermented hot sauce at home is that the fermented hot sauce recipe is very easy to follow, and anyone can make it. Simply follow all the steps closely and enjoy homemade fermented hot sauce that’s made to cater to your taste buds!