Make Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce with Dried Peppers: An Easy Recipe to Make Any Time of Year
NOTE: This post includes the directions for making the perfect, BEST fermented hot sauce with dried chili peppers. It’s an easy recipe, with complete directions, and probably the BEST hot sauce you’ll ever eat…not to mention healthy with all the probiotics!
I am REALLY missing our summer harvest of peppers and other fresh vegetables to can, dehydrate, and ferment. You see, here in Idaho, I am really struggling to grow peppers, and it seems this year will be a bust. And isn’t it this way with gardening efforts? Some years are A-Mazing! Some….Meh.
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!
And an idea crept into my head….
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!
And YUM! They are awesome!
Hey! Are you wondering why I would want to ferment this hot sauce instead of just blending everything together? You can find out more about the powers of fermentation in this article.
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Fermented Hot Sauce: A Recipe to Make Any Time of Year with Dried Peppers
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. 1/2 cup 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.)
If you don’t want to make whey, then you can always just buy a bag or container of raw kimchi or sauerkraut from any good grocery store. You’ll find it in the refrigerated section, and it should say “raw” on it. Just use 1/2 cup of this liquid in your ferment.
NOTE: The room temperature kimchi or sauerkrauts on the store shelves (not refrigerated) will NOT contain the probiotics you want. These room temperature ferments have been pasteurized and are for all intents and purposes….dead food.
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 to 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 to half cup now.
Weigh down the peppers using some kind of weight. You don’t want the peppers above the water line because they may mold. You can find out more about mold on ferments here.
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. (They didn’t cause a problem, it turns out.)
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.
You should see bubbles rising to the surface of your jar within two to four days. This is a great sign, and means fermentation is happening.
You can taste test the liquid over time if you want. I actually began scooping some out with a clean spoon to use in my 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 amount of vinegar you use is dependent on your personal taste.
Hey! Want to make your own raw vinegar?
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…..saving money!
The total cost to make this huge amount of delicious homemade hot sauce with probiotics for our health was about $7.50, and with some bags of peppers, it may be far less. 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. If I had used our own homemade raw apple cider vinegar, it would have been practically free.
Meanwhile, Tabasco sauce costs a whopping $8.00 for a large jar, which is actually just a fraction of the amount of hot sauce I just made!
Amazing savings, and a big plus for health benefits too!
Final Thoughts on Making Your Own Fermented Hot Sauce
First off, I love fermented foods. I’ve found that when I’m eating them regularly (raw, that is), my tummy just feels better. Second, I love, love, LOVE hot sauce! And when I see the exorbitant prices in the stores…well, I am highly motivated to make my own.
Once I discovered that yes! You CAN use dried peppers to ferment your own healthy hot sauce to use as a dip, condiment, or as an ingredient in other condiments, like fancy mayonnaise recipes….I’m now all about this, and I don’t let it run out!
Plus, bottled up in a pretty bottle or jar, it makes a wonderful gift from your kitchen.
What do you think? Do you make your own hot sauce or other fermented foods? If you have questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.
There are tons more fermentation articles and recipes on the blog, so head over and check them out. And you may also enjoy these related articles:
Fermented Zucchini Pickles (Another Way to Preserve ALL That Zucchini from a Summer Harvest)
And so many more for your fermenting pleasure—-
Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,
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