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Fermenting Peppers 101


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#1121 Crazy Monkey

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:21 AM

  



.....uuuhhmmmm....why? The natural fermentation process displaces the oxygen. Been working for way longer than dry ice has been around....

 

I've seen pictures of half empty jars with lots of airspace on top. Just a random thought about getting the oxygen out of to keep any nasties from growing before the fermentation kicks in.



#1122 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 05:11 PM

  That's different than what I remember seeing before...like 6 years ago. Inaccurate reporting or inaccurate memory????? Lol...let's not bet on which one....

 

Many people think it is fermented because of the way they process and store the peppers in barrels. However this is not a ferment, but a base for their products. It's a pepper mash with vinegar and the two chemical preservatives they use. When they finish Sriracha, they puree with garlic and sugar. There is no fermentation happening in the barrels, it's just like a large jar of chili paste (which they also sell). ;)

 



#1123 salsalady

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:07 PM

 
I've seen pictures of half empty jars with lots of airspace on top. Just a random thought about getting the oxygen out of to keep any nasties from growing before the fermentation kicks in.


Ah, I get where you're coming from. I suppose it would work. Usually the salt keeps the nasties in check at the start. I often add a leaf of cabbage on top of the peppers to get the fermenting started fast and get the gas cranking. The cabbage leaf can be eaten or discarded at processing time.

No one in our area has dry ice, ever, there are a few stores 40 to 50 miles that carry dry ice in the summer.

If you try it, post pics and tell us about it. I'd love to know if it works.
SL
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#1124 Siv

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 10:37 AM

I finally got around to reading this entire thread. Suffice to say, lots of good advice but also it has left me a little confused on some of the details:

 

Amount of salt to add?

  • Some say 2% by weight or peppers
  • Some say higher, up to 6%
  • Some say make a 2% to 5% brine (which doesn't include the weight of the peppers)

Shelf Stable pH?

  • Some say under 4.6
  • Some say under 4.0
  • Some say under 3.6

 

Anyway, I'm trying a few mash ferments. I went with 500g peppers and 15g salt, no starters or anything else. We'll see what happens! I did the red and yellow last night and the white in the morning - the red is already bubbling.

 

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#1125 emanphoto

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 10:57 AM

I usually use 4% salt but have been battling mold in my last couple of batches so this time I added 5% salt (of the fruit weight) and it is slightly better.  I have high ambient temps here all year.  Looking back at my past photos (easier than looking at my notes) my pH is 3.4/3.5 at the end of the ferment period of 30 days.  

 

If you're just starting then what you have chosen to do is fine.  Make notes of everything you do so you know what changes to do if something goes south.

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#1126 Chili Monsta

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 12:13 PM

Greetings Siv,

Those are some nice looking ferments you've got started. 

As for the salt issue, I agree that it can get to be confusing. Too little allows molds to form, too much inhibits the fermentation process. And that process is a balancing act of several variables, which the heat you experience in Tx. this time of year can also contribute to significantly. 

After many years of fermenting projects, I have found most of the failures I've experienced were when I used too little salt and resulted in mold forming(not to be confused with yeast)

For what it's worth:

I use sea or kosher salt (no other additives), distilled water and make at least a 4% brine. At times I go as high as 5 or 6% (due to those variables again)

When making kimchi or sauerkraut I layer course salt when "pounding" the cabbages.

When I use a starter, either a commercial one or some harvested whey, I don't add salt until the fermentation is virtually complete.

I hope this might be helpful to you.

Good luck on your ferments...be patient, persistent and enjoy the journey.

CM

 


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#1127 salsalady

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 03:41 PM

Hi Siv,
Regarding pH levels....

4.6 is the absolute maximum pH allowed for sauces which are processed and bottled as shelf stable like typical hot sauces. This pH is usually only allowed for commercial processors with very accurate....and very expensive...processing equipment. This number is not the target for hobby sauce makers.

4.0 or below is what home sauce makers and fermenters should shoot for. The lower the better.

Beyond that and what Chili Monsta and Emon' posted, the chiles look a little dry, as in...was any water added to the mix? A little bit of water helps keep things happy while the the GoodBugs get to work.

Hope this helps, Have Fun!
SL

Edit- I also need to clarify...once the ferment has gone as long as you want, and it is at a good low pH...it is not automatically shelf stable! At this point, you have 2 choices.
Refrigerate it like kimchee and eat it in a timely manner...or....
Cook it and bottle it following directions in the Making Hot Sauce 101 thread.


If the sauce is just blendered and bottled, it is still actively fermenting and could explode. Refer or cook.

Edited by salsalady, 07 August 2019 - 03:53 PM.

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#1128 Siv

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 05:30 PM

Hi SL, thanks for the input - it clears up a lot! I've just started making sauces and my non-cooked sauces have vinegar added until the pH is below 4 (I target 3.9) and keep it in the fridge so it looks like I'm good.

 

I have been watching Chilichump's videos and he makes some sauces where he ferments then adds vinegar and puts it on a stir plate before eventually sieving out the solids and bottling - no cooking or refrigeration. Is it safe to assume that if you leave stuff to ferment for a long time and then don't add anything that would cause additional fermentation, that the sauce doesn't require cooking after?

 

I guess what I'm asking is if the pH of a sauce is below 4, is it shelf stable in terms of nasties growing? The only reason to refrigerate or cook is to stop fermentation?






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