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Fermenting Peppers 101


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#921 SmokenFire

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:25 PM

Hey all I need to start a Saltless Ferment Do any of you ALL have any suggestions to help me on the no NASTIES Path?

 

I have Tried Yeast and the Flavor was not interesting to me anyone

 

 

Thanks for all  

 

Rocketman has good info on low salt ferments, but I don't know of a single NO salt ferment.  


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#922 Greenguru

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 02:10 PM

Hey was the easy way to look up other users on this wonderful fourm

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#923 EugeneD

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:50 AM

Hey folks,

 

Discovered this great forum a few days ago and have been thorougly enjoying reading through some of the pinned topics (especially Fermenting Peppers 101 and Making Hot Sauce 101). I started my first hot pepper mash fermentation experiment about 3 weeks ago (unfortunately before finding this site, but I don't seem to have made too many mistakes).

 

Essentially, the story up to this point is:

- Created a mash of 10 habaneros, 12 red jalapenos and 2 red bell peppers in the food processor (peppers stemmed but otherwise intact)

- Combined with 2% sea salt in a large bowl

- Put the salted mash in a 1/2 gallon mason jar and added a small splash of distilled water

- Put a dish cloth over the jar and screwed the ring from the jar lid on and placed in a kitchen cabinet

- Stirred mash once a day for 2 days

- After 2 days, I saw lots of bubbles and the mash/brine started to separate

- At this point, I replaced the dish cloth/ring with a plastic lid and air lock

- Fermentation took off and for about a week and change, the mash continued to separate with the bulk of the solids at the top and steady bubbling

 

A little over a week ago, however, the bubbles seemed to disappear and the mash has sunk to the bottom of the jar (presumably because there isn't enough CO2 being created to push it to the surface). Also, puzzlingly, my airlock has been going backward fairly regularly since then, meaning the water level has been rising under the floating piece and lowering in the barrel. It seems to eventually pull a little into the mash once it gets high enough as I've noticed the water level in the jar rise about a centimeter or so. I've been using distilled water in the airlock so I'm not overly concerned about the added water, aside from the undesirable effect of diluting my ferment.

 

I have a sneaking suspicion this is related to the ambient room temperature. When I began fermenation, temperatures were in the low 70s, but after a week or so like that, temperatures fell to the 50s/60s (meaning indoor room temperature around 65). We did have one day in the high 70s the other day (although it got cold again the next day), and all of a sudden fermentation picked up again. A big chunk of the mash started to float again and bubbles could be seen around the surface and in the mash. The mash has since settled to the bottom again (possibly due to the cold weather returning the following day).

 

My questions for anyone who can assist are twofold!

 

1. Is there anything I can do to warm the mash to spur resumption of fermentation (presuming temperature is the reason why it's stalled) or should I just let it sit and wait for weather to warm up again? I'm in no hurry at all, but it might be another 2-3 weeks before we get temperatures in the 70s again.

2. Any ideas on what is causing the airlock to flow backwards? As it stands, I have to refill it daily to keep it from breaking the seal.

 

And some other general information about my plans, in case it's relevant to answering my questions or anyone has any general advice:

- After the fermentation is done, I plan on cooking the mash, running it through a food mill, then adding vinegar (either rice or apple cider) to taste

- This sauce is purely for my own personal use (so no need to meet commercial standards so long as I'm not endangering my life)

- As I don't own a ph meter yet, I plan on keeping this sauce refrigerated after the steps in my first bullet above

 

Thanks!


Edited by eugenedebs, 09 May 2017 - 08:51 AM.


#924 hot stuff

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:02 AM

As far as your air lock is concerned it could be fluctuations in barometric pressure.

 

If you are still getting separation with the mash on top, there is still plenty of fermentation going on. I'd shake it up a bit to get it under or at least permeated with the water/juice till it completely sinks underneath it.

 

You may consider bringing it inside to keep the temperatures fairly constant.


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#925 EugeneD

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:17 AM

As far as your air lock is concerned it could be fluctuations in barometric pressure.

 

If you are still getting separation with the mash on top, there is still plenty of fermentation going on. I'd shake it up a bit to get it under or at least permeated with the water/juice till it completely sinks underneath it.

 

You may consider bringing it inside to keep the temperatures fairly constant.

Thanks for the reply!

 

I had considered the air lock thing could be related to barometric pressure. Just a little surprised that I've had to refill the barrel on the air lock daily for over a week now. I can certainly keep doing that until it sorts itself out though.

 

The entirety of the mash sunk to the bottom of the jar a little over a week ago and has stayed there, except for one really warm day, where it got up into the mid-70s in the house. That day, fermentation pushed a big chunk of the mash to the surface. The mash re-sunk the next day when temps in the house went back down to about 65. The mash has been completely submerged since.

 

And sorry, my previous post wasn't clear. The jar is inside and has been since I started the process. I keep it in a small cabinet in the kitchen. Temperatures have been fairly constant, but just cool. Unless it's hotter outside (and it hasn't been for about a week and a half), the ambient temperature in the house is about 65 give or take a couple degrees fluctuation throughout the day/night.

 

Think I should let sit for a few weeks more? Visually, everything appears to be in good shape.



#926 hot stuff

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:38 AM

Well I usually let mine sit for at least 3 months. But I have a lot of quart jars sitting around that have been sitting for a couple of years. I have some that have been sitting my garage since January, but they are still separating. Not a lot of constant temperatures in the garage.


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#927 Greenguru

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 10:59 AM

Well I have stepped in over my head thanks for sharing your recipe salsalady I have used around three big pinches of salt and three guts shot and as close to SL's recipe just a wonderful recipe I know it's not going to be a hot hot sauce but we will see81a9cb8126499f6157458759d33978bc.jpgdeb9a8ea49e20d454ac48665ee38e8da.jpg

#928 Greenguru

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:13 AM

Well I usually let mine sit for at least 3 months. But I have a lot of quart jars sitting around that have been sitting for a couple of years. I have some that have been sitting my garage since January, but they are still separating. Not a lot of constant temperatures in the garage.

I have a Reaper ferment that everytime I mix it around it starts floating to the Top Again fermenting and this is been going on for almost a year-and-a-half now going on two years it's amazing fermentation really amazing

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#929 EugeneD

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:31 AM

So I decided to process this sauce today after 28 days of fermentation, mainly because I wanted to see how it tastes (first time ever making a hot sauce, let alone fermenting anything) but also because I'm eager to try a second sauce with a few more ingredients and potentially a longer fermentation time and gauge the difference those tweaks make.

 

Thank you to everyone who has been posting on this site for the last few years! I just discovered this corner of the web recently, but have been slowly reading my way backwards through every thread related to fermenting hot sauce (currently back to early 2015 now) and the trials, the errors, the successes, the recipes, the science...it all has been fantastic!

 

For my first fermented hot sauce attempt, I went with:

 

Orange habaneros - 109g

Red bell - 395.8g

Red fresno - 176.2g

Sea salt - 13.6g

A small splash of distilled water

 

I finely chopped the habaneros, bells and fresnos in a food processor to create a mash then put the mash in a large bowl. I added the sea salt and stirred to incorporate. Then I moved the mash to a mason jar, placed towel over it and loosely tightened the ring to secure it and put it into a cupboard.

 

For two days, I opened and stirred it once a day to inhibit any mold/yeast growth. On the third day, fermentation had begun (bubbles, separation of the mash), so I replaced the cloth and ring with a plastic lid with an airlock. I never saw any yeast or mold. despite not weighing down the mash.

 

After fermenting for 28 days, I removed the airlock and opened the lid. I strained the sauce through a fine handheld strainer and used a rubber spatula to separate the pulp from the skins/seeds, scraping the pulp from underneath the strainer into the sauce. After processing the sauce, I re-strained/spatula'd the processed mash just to get any remaining pulp into the sauce.

 

It tastes pretty darn good, and I think I understand the general flavor of a fermented sauce a little better now. I'm not immune to capsaicin as some folks here are (yet!), so to me, it's pretty spicy. Not the type of thing I would drown a dish in, but not so hot that it sets my tongue on fire. There's a nice tang to it as well. I was prepared to potentially add more salt, honey or vinegar, but I think it might be fine as-is. I'm going to leave it in the fridge for a few days and then retaste.

 

Lessons learned/stuff for next time:

- Ambient temperature matters. It really seems to slow down fermentation when the temperature dips below 70 degrees.

- Don't open the jar until you're ready to process the sauce. I did this once due to an issue I was having with the airlock where it was pulling air (and then some distilled water from the airlock) in. Thankfully, there didn't seem to be any adverse consequences, but I won't be doing that again.

- Use a smaller jar or make more mash. My jar was only about half full (and even less than that when i started). A fuller jar would create an anaerobic environment quicker and maybe help with my reverse airlock issue (depending on the actual cause). This may not have caused any problems this time, but it's something I'll avoid in the future.

- Get a food mill. The strainer/spatula method seemed to work, but I bet I could have gotten even more pulp into the sauce with a mill, and with less effort.

- Get a ph meter. I have no idea what the ph is, so this sauce is staying in the fridge, but for safety/shelf stability/general curiosity, I'm investing in a ph meter for next time.

- Let the ferment go for even longer. Now that I have a sense of how the flavor develops, I'm interested to push that further. 3 months, 6 months or more.

 

Here are some pictures!

 

Last picture I took of the ferment still in the jar (this was at 21 days):

hsGkjDB.jpg

 

The sauce after being processed, and the leftover mash (going to dry and make pepper flakes/powder):

qdMnOlL.jpg

 

The sauce, back in the jar (going to put in a more appropriate bottle after tasting in a couple days):

Y62ZMK5.jpg

 

Thank you all for this great resource!



#930 hot stuff

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 12:55 PM

Wow. You must have a lot of sugars in those peppers.

I have a Reaper ferment that everytime I mix it around it starts floating to the Top Again fermenting and this is been going on for almost a year-and-a-half now going on two years it's amazing fermentation really amazing

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#931 Greenguru

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:06 PM

Wow. You must have a lot of sugars in those peppers.
 

Lol yeah I used sweet wine as the liquid and a qt bag of Reapers

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#932 Malarky

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 09:31 AM

Hey guys i'm looking to ferment my way through some of my stock pile from last season.

I can't seem to make sense of this forum because there are so many ways of doing it.

 

I'm looking to make a lower salt ferment. Not for blood pressure reasons, i'm just not big on salt. and i'm afraid to waste my small stockpile by using too much salt.

 

what i can't figure out is, are you mixing a certain % of salt by weight directly into the pepper mash AND then covering with a certain % brine? 

Or one of the 2?

 

I've read SmokenFires wild ferment thread and thats just pure salt mixed into the mash by weight. I get that. 

 

I'd just like to use a LAB capsule to get things started faster and it sounds like brining may allow me to use less salt?

 

any thoughts?

 



#933 EugeneD

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:00 AM

Hey guys i'm looking to ferment my way through some of my stock pile from last season.

I can't seem to make sense of this forum because there are so many ways of doing it.

 

I'm looking to make a lower salt ferment. Not for blood pressure reasons, i'm just not big on salt. and i'm afraid to waste my small stockpile by using too much salt.

 

what i can't figure out is, are you mixing a certain % of salt by weight directly into the pepper mash AND then covering with a certain % brine? 

Or one of the 2?

 

I've read SmokenFires wild ferment thread and thats just pure salt mixed into the mash by weight. I get that. 

 

I'd just like to use a LAB capsule to get things started faster and it sounds like brining may allow me to use less salt?

 

any thoughts?

 

 

I can only speak to my one fermentation attempt so far, but I mixed 2% salt by weight directly in to the mash, and added a splash or two of distilled water (containing no salt) to cover the mash. I kept the jar open, but covered with a dish cloth for two days, and stirred once each day. After 2 days, fermentation started and I replaced the dish cloth with a lid with an air lock and basically just let it sit (no more shaking/stirring). I never experienced any yeast/mold throughout the 4 week fermentation.

 

From what I've read on this site, that seems to be close to the least amount of salt you can get away with. Based on many folks' reports of fermentations starting in less than 24 hours when using probiotic capsules, I'd agree that technique should make using less salt even safer.



#934 MikeUSMC

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:45 PM

I'd just like to use a LAB capsule to get things started faster and it sounds like brining may allow me to use less salt?
 
any thoughts?
 

Every single one of my ferments is salted "to taste." I stopped trying to do a "% of salt" after I ruined my very first batch of 100 Yellow Fataliis. I think I used around a 5% saltwater brine and it came out tasting awful. The raw potato "trick" is a myth, BTW.

I use powdered probiotics (usually 3-4g per 1/2 gallon), and a wine brine (usually Moscato). I think I read somewhere on here that you can get away with using a lot less salt if you use a wine brine. That was all I needed to hear, haha! Now, I only use about a teaspoon of salt per half gallon. Never had any issues at all. pH level always ends up finishing around 3.2 or lower

Edited by MikeUSMC, 19 May 2017 - 06:46 PM.

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#935 Greenguru

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 01:55 PM

46 Oz gut shot got the ferment going hard after I put a heater in the room a83cdccee3ae1816459bc47497e102a1.jpg

#936 2Goats

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 03:04 PM

Very nice, (thumbs up)
But it looks like you need to leave yourself a bit more headroom.
I ferment in those on a regular basis and max I fill is a couple inches below the shoulders.

#937 Greenguru

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 04:36 PM

Right on thanks for the tip it's doing perfect so far it it gets crazy I will lower the temperature in the jar

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#938 Greenguru

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Posted Today, 01:12 AM

Every single one of my ferments is salted "to taste." I stopped trying to do a "% of salt" after I ruined my very first batch of 100 Yellow Fataliis. I think I used around a 5% saltwater brine and it came out tasting awful. The raw potato "trick" is a myth, BTW.

I use powdered probiotics (usually 3-4g per 1/2 gallon), and a wine brine (usually Moscato). I think I read somewhere on here that you can get away with using a lot less salt if you use a wine brine. That was all I needed to hear, haha! Now, I only use about a teaspoon of salt per half gallon. Never had any issues at all. pH level always ends up finishing around 3.2 or lower

Great tips thanks, i made a batch of red Jalapeno at 5% and my salt restriction well almost trashed it and thought salt and Jalapeno why trash use as meat marinade






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