From the monthly archives:

March 2015

Red Hot Pepper Sauce… and Vinegar and Pepper Flakes

Last year’s pepper haul was way more than expected. So much so that even after I put up 15 pounds of roasted New Mexico chilies, I still had pounds leftover. For no reason at all, I started throwing the peppers that went red into a bag in the freezer. I mean what the hell, they were coming off the plants by the handful everyday. We could not eat them all.

I grow the peppers for salsa, chili and burger toppings. But we like green hot peppers so I had no real idea of what I wanted to do with the red ones. I was reading a post about hot sauce and decided that a fermented red hot sauce would be the thing to do. As the process went along, the vinegar and chili powder just happened.

A former chef I know (well knew, as he has written me off) had suggested a week’s worth of fermentation aided by probiotics (acidophilus). But the kid tasted it day by day and we ended up with just shy of 7 weeks fermenting on the counter before he deemed it done. I did stick with his recommendation to not add salt or vinegar until after fermentation.

So 3 – 4 pounds of peppers were fermented forever and well, wow! The kid has a knack for the taste of glutamates and amino acids in food. These flavors develop as the fermentation happens. When he pulled the plug, the taste was beyond anything I had ever bought.

He also had the idea to pull off the clear liquid as a dressing for greens. This had two results. One was the hot vinegar and the other was that it condensed the red hot sauce.

Lastly, I ran the fermented peppers through a food mill. I toasted the remains in the oven and ground them up in a coffee grinder. Next year all seeds will be collected and frozen. While I only got 5 ounces of the grind, next years goals will be a pound. This is some of the best smoked meat rub I have come across.

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Ingredients:

3 pounds red hot peppers (jalepeno, thai, poblano, fresno, Sandia and Big Jims)
10 cloves garlic
1 Probiotic 10
Salt to taste
1 cup water
Directions:

Chop the peppers and garlic in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add just enough water to get the blend to happen. Add the probiotic and pulse.

Put it into a clean glass jar (at least 1 gallon in size) and set it on the counter until it starts to bubble. Stir every other day and start to taste it after a week. Just let it ferment until it tastes good to you.

Using a food mill or strainer, remove the seeds and solids and save them. Place the vessel back in the refrigerator to let it separate for 3 days.

Skim off the clear liquid and save in the refrigerator. This is a nice sour hot kick when added to greens and salads.

Toast the seeds on a sheet pan for 1 hour at 300 degrees.  Grind in a coffee grinder and use, as you would use cayenne pepper.

As for the hot sauce, wings!!! Just add salt to taste. This can sit on the counter but I would keep it in the fridge.

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