Make Your Own Fermented Hot Sauce with Dried Peppers
I am REALLY missing our Summer and Fall harvest of peppers and other fresh vegetables to can, dehydrate, and ferment. While in the grocery store recently, my eyes fell upon a very large bag of dried hot peppers: Chiles de Arbol, to be exact. Chile de Arbol are bright red peppers that can be substituted for Cayenne or Pequin peppers, as they have a similar heat unit rating. In other words....They are HOT! Might these work for fermented hot sauce? I was inspired to try fermenting these lovely bright red peppers! After all, we just ran out of our supply of fermented hot sauce from our fresh peppers in the garden last summer. Here are the results of and the recipe for my latest fermentation experiment! YUM! They are awesome!
Ingredients for Fermented Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce
1. 8 oz bag of dried Chile de Arbol (These peppers can be found in most grocery stores these days, but you can use the link if you can't find them. This link is for a bag twice as large as the one I used, so you could just cut it in half or even fourths, if you wanted!)
2. filtered water
4. sea salt
5. garlic (optional)
6. brine from other ferments OR whey See how to make your own whey here. (Adding one of these is optional but it will help speed up the fermentation process by adding probiotic yeast/bacteria right away. Your peppers will still ferment without adding one of these, but it will be much slower with a slightly greater chance of mold forming.)
How to Make Fermented Hot Sauce with Chile de Arbol Peppers
Pour your peppers into a gallon size jar, or in my case, I used two half-gallon jars. This will give the peppers some room to dehydrate---they will expand some!
Fill the jars to within 2 inches of the top with filtered water. We are on a well, so I just use our water straight from the well with no issues. If you have city water, you need to be sure there is no chlorine in the water, as it will affect the fermentation process. If you leave it out overnight, the chlorine will evaporate.
Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of sea salt to each jar. Put a lid on and shake until the salt is dissolved. It doesn't take much shaking. Add your garlic if you like!
If you have any brine left over from other ferments or whey handy (see how to make your own whey here), then add about a quarter cup now.
Weigh down the peppers using some kind of weight. You can buy fermenting weights, but with this wide-mouth jar, I just used a little jelly jar with a boiled rock placed inside. Some of the peppers and seeds were still at the surface, but I just decided to keep a close eye on the ferment.
Let sit on your counter top or window sill for about a week or two. I let this ferment go two weeks, and it was perfect! If you use a regular lid like I did, you will have to "burp" it by opening the lid just slightly once or twice a day to allow the gases from the fermentation process out.
Watch it carefully, and if you see mold forming, just scrape off the affected parts. You are not likely to see mold though. I've only had that happen once, and it was tomatoes that had a large surface area above the surface of the liquid---Shame on me!
You can taste test the liquid over time if you want. I actually began scooping some out with a clean spoon while cooking about a week after the fermenting started!
When you are happy with the taste (and you'll know), then it's time to make the hot sauce!
Drain out about half of the liquid from each jar. Pour your peppers and liquid into a good blender like a VitaMix or a Nutribullet. I have both, and for this I just used the NutriBullet because it is always on my counter. The VitaMix probably would have been easier, though, because I could have fit all the peppers and liquid in at once.
Add some vinegar. I ended up adding about a half bottle (1/2 liter) of raw apple cider vinegar all told, into the two half-gallons (minus about half of the original liquid). Blend well! Pour into bottles for storage and/or use!
The Total Cost for a Bit Over a Half-Gallon of Hot Sauce that's Just as Good (Better, IMHO) than Tabasco!
LOVE this part! The total cost to make this huge amount of delicious homemade hot sauce with probiotics for health was about $6.50. The bag of Chile de Arbol cost $5.99 at the grocery store, but you can probably buy them for less on Amazon. The raw ACV came from Costco, and was about $3.00 a bottle, so for half a bottle, that's just $1.50. Meanwhile, Tabasco sauce costs a whopping $8.00 for a large jar, which is actually just a fraction of the amount I just made! Amazing!
Do you ferment your vegetables, peppers, or fruits? I'd love to know!
Hugs and Self-Reliance!
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The above fermentation kit is a great way to get started with fermentation if you are new and need weights and accessories!