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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.

 

48480569191_1173509627_c.jpg



#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.

IMG38611.jpg



#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

 



#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?



#1129 m1hagen

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 11:27 AM

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

 

I made it through about 20 + pages and I'm still a little confused.  When you talk about salt, are you adding salt to the peppers by weight and making a brine or is it one or the other? Just adding salt to the brine, just adding salt to the peppers and cover with water, or adding salt to the peppers and covering with salt brine?  I just got all my gear and want to start a mash tonight.  Thanks.



#1130 ShowMeDaSauce

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 01:33 PM

Both salt by weight of peppers/veggies/ect and brine %. A ground mash obviously does not really need a water brine added like you would add to some rough chopped peppers. Large pieces of peppers should be submerged in the brine. Hold them under the brine level with fermentation weights.

 

So for mine im rough chopping most of my cayennes. Top layer will be longer pieces to keep the rest from floating up. All the peppers will be mixed with 2.5% salt by weight and left to sit a couple hours before going in the jar. Pack them all in a jar and add the weight. Top off the ferment with enough 2.5% brine to cover the weight. Only thing exposed to air will be the brine and with an air lock C02 will fill the air space. CO2 will force the oxygen out and mold needs oxygen. Lactobacillus does not need oxygen and its fairly cold tolerant compared to many nasties.

 

Keep everything above the brine line as clean as possible.


Edited by ShowMeDaSauce, 29 August 2019 - 01:48 PM.


#1131 kakao

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 06:33 AM

Trying to make my first ferment sauce. Today is day 2, I used jar lid as salsalady advised. 

 

 

Day 2. brine changed colour to little gray. Hope all is fine

cNvxING.jpg



#1132 Pharthan

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 09:35 PM

Trying to make my first ferment sauce. Today is day 2, I used jar lid as salsalady advised. 

 

 

Day 2. brine changed colour to little gray. Hope all is fine

cNvxING.jpg

 

I suspect you didn't use a Canning/Pickling salt, which would account for the cloudiness. This is okay.

My concern with your picture would be that you've got peppers sneaking out of the top of your brine. You may want to get a plastic bag, fill it with water, and insert that over the top to keep everything below the surface. I've heard of people using celery with a weight on it, too. I'd wait for confirmation from someone else on that, I do mashes, not whole-pieces. 



#1133 KidShelleen

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 02:48 PM

One of those large rubber jar opener helper things works on the top, just sterilize it first. Cabbage leaves will also work, and as Pharthan mentioned, a plastic sandwich bag filled with brine over that. You just need to keep the peppers below the top of the brine level. I'm not an expert on fermentation, so I still use pieces, not a mash. I don't have a fermentator (whatever you call those controlled environment things), so for keeping the yeast under control, it is easier for me to use pieces.



#1134 Chorizo857_62J

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 03:26 PM

I agree with the cabbage leaves and plastic bag filled with water or extra ferment liquid.  Seems to be working better on mine. 



#1135 ShowMeDaSauce

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 03:36 PM

I think a 6 pack of glass large mouth fermenting weights cost me $15-18 on Amazon. You can get a good sized E-Jen for under $25 and small ones for about $15. The round ones are a little less too. A round .4gal is like $12.50. These are super easy to use.



#1136 Chorizo857_62J

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 04:20 PM

Sorry, I'm just cheap...low budget.



#1137 Freedom

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 07:07 PM

This is such a painful thread..  :rolleyes:  I'm sorry, but this should be "un-pinned" and allowed to fade into the archives....57 pages of semi-useless (mostly?)  , and often times, conflicting ( and sometimes dangerous) information.

 

Fermentation 101...should /(could) consist of a jar of peppers, some salt, a little water. and a SCALE in (1) one post...then closed to further confusion and opinion.

 

Weigh jar...in grams

 

Put  peppers in jar...

 

Completely cover (submerge)  peppers with water..

 

Weigh jar again with included peppers (and any other veg added to the mix) with water...in grams This is VERY important... Do NOT just mix a salt brine to pour over your peppers (veggies))!!!

 

Subtract jar weight 

 

Do the math to suit your salt % (ie) weight of  peppers+(w/)water x .025 for 2.5%  in grams of salt needed. 

 

Weigh your salt..in grams

 

Pour small amount of water from jar & peppers into weighed salt and stir to dissolve. 

 

Return salt and water to pepper jar

 

Submerge the floating contents of jar with a cabbage leaf with a weight. A little canning jar works well as a weight when trapped under the lid of the main jar to hold the cabbage leaf down under the brine. (Not too tight so co2 can escape) Use an airlock if you got it.

 

Set back and relax for 20-90 days and wait for the magic to happen. :onfire:

 


Edited by Freedom, 16 September 2019 - 09:56 PM.


#1138 emanphoto

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 02:04 AM

I posted something similar a year ago but no one agreed.  It is a massively ungainly post with good info but at the same time finding that info is the trick.  I'd hate to be the one to distill this down into something concise.  There is a lot of chaff to weed through. 

This is such a painful thread..  :rolleyes:  I'm sorry, but this should be "un-pinned" and allowed to fade into the archives....57 pages of semi-useless (mostly?)  , and often times, conflicting ( and sometimes dangerous) information.

 

 

 



#1139 Pharthan

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:01 PM

Why in the world does that yeast appear in 95% of my ferments with peppers? It is driving me crazy :crazy:

 

Try upping the salt content and check your seals and make sure you don't introduce any new air. As long as you're not adding in low-acid foods you should be fine.



#1140 SmokenFire

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 09:11 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

 

 

Its a pleasure to see you posting here again CM!  Made my day.  :)
 


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