This year I’m trying to reduce my recycling and rely less often on store bought products in the interest of sustainability- and also just because its fun for me. I already buy very little pre made foods- see package free: veggie broth , everything bagel spice, package free: hummus, pickled onions + beets and sauerkraut. but certain things I just haven’t gotten around to DIY-ing: mustard (although I have a great recipe a friend on IG gifted me with), ketchup, mayo, and previously: hot sauce.
I love a good hot sauce to spice things up, and after I watched BA Brad make this amazing fermented hot sauce I just had to try it. Turns out, it’s super easy, delicious, and cheap to make your own. Plus I got all the ingredients sans packaging. My husband even rescued some empty Tabasco and Cholula bottles from his work that were heading for the landfill. I washed them out and they work perfectly for my own brew. Zero waste win!
A note about fermenting: some people are scared of fermenting, fearing botulism or food poisoning. I’ve been fermenting for years and only had something go off on me once: a batch of kraut that grew mold on the top (I didn’t properly submerge it under the brine). Not saying it can never happen, but just use common sense: use CLEAN hands, tools, and vessels when fermenting; discard anything that looks or smells bad. WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT (compost it).
If something is off, it will smell terrible/skunky/strange/alcohol-y or have weird colors/textures. If it smells delicious and tangy, its fine. Use your common sense and you’ll be good. If you’re unsure about something, you can send me a pic of it on instagram if you want! Two really great books that go into depth on fermentation are Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation. I found these at my library and they’re so interesting and helpful.
This recipe was written down from the verbal directions in this video which I highly recommend you watching….its not only hilarious, its super informative and shows you how to do it step by step.
BA brad’s fermented red chile hot sauce:
20 red fresno peppers
3 habanero peppers
3 dried hibiscus flowers (sometimes labeled flor de jamaica or in the tea section)-optional
4 mixed peppercorns (or just all black peppercorns)
4 cardamom pods (optional)
1 teaspoon Aleppo or Maras Biber chili flakes (optional but adds depth)
4 cloves of garlic
6 tablespoons kosher sea salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 quarts of water
Deseed the peppers- you can leave some seeds in, all of the seeds, or none of the seeds. It will still be really spicy even without seeds from the habaneros.
In a large glass jar, add 1 quart of water and all the spices, salt, and sugar. Put the lid on and shake it or stir it up until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add in the peppers and the remaining quart of water. Stir again gently. Replace lid loosely (so a little air can escape still) and place jar in a dark spot (like a cupboard or closet).
The ideal temp to ferment in is 70-80 degrees. Keep in mind that if its colder, your ferment will take longer, if its warmer, it will take less time.
Let ferment for 2 weeks and open jar daily or every other day to release gas. After 2 weeks, open jar and press on peppers with a wooden spoon quite firmly to release juices and break down cell walls a bit, and stir jar. This is what my jar looked like after 2 weeks- bubbly but nothing crazy, smelling super savory and delicious.
Let ferment another 2 weeks. Continue to open jar daily to release gas. This is what my jar looked like at this point. See that white waxy/filmy stuff? Thats totally normal and fine- don’t get freaked out if you see this. Its just natural yeasts from the chile skins.
Strain the liquid, reserving it for later. Remove whole spices if desired. Add rest of jar into blender. Add half a cup of liquid from straining and blend smooth, adding more liquid as needed to attain desired consistency. Bottle and enjoy!