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First Ferment - Advice appreciated!

first jalapeno cayenne lactofermentation salt sterilization wild fermentation ratio

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#1 FieryFoodFan

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 02:47 PM

After scoring some excellent jalapeno and cayenne peppers at the farmers' market, I bit the bullet and attempted my first ferment.  This will be a wild fermentation with nothing but peppers, Himalayan sea salt and a little water.  I picked up some air locks from the local brewer, some vodka to go in them, drilled some holes in some mason jar tops and sealed them in.

 

Because I found such wide variance in salt / pepper ratios in my reading - from 2% - 10% - I went with 1 oz. / 1 lb. of peppers.  Expecting the salt to pull the majority of the necessary liquid from the mash, I added only enough water to the food processor to help liquefy.

 

After 2 full days @ 70 degrees and no light, there are no signs of liquid separation.  Should I break the air seal and add additional liquid or is this common at this stage and should I make that decision once fermentation picks up?  I don't want the peppers to begin molding before everything gets off the ground.

 

Also, what have you found to be the best salt / pepper ratio?  I have read such wide variations and little concensus as far as what is best not only for fermentation, but final taste.  Also, any advice you have on the extent of sterilization needed prior to fermenting would help.  My reading leads me to believe the process is not nearly as finicky as home brewing, so I simply ran all my implements through the dishwasher prior to processing.

 

Thanks - I look forward to your comments!  (I would be happy to add a pic as well, but can't get it to do so!)

 



#2 SmokenFire

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 05:55 PM

Welcome FFF!  You'll find a wealth of information and helpful people here.

 

Love your all pepper wild ferment!  Since you used no other ingredients and just a touch of water your mash is likely quite thick - so it's likely you'll see very little separation in the first week (or sometimes more).  I assume the ferments are in your avatar pic yes?  If so they look right as rain.  Running everything through the dish washer prior to making/bottling was fine.  Now comes the waiting - leave em sit and do their thang for at least the next three weeks.  My only feedback for you is that vodka is hardly necessary in the airlock - it evaporates quickly - so regular water is just fine.

 

In the meantime the fermenting thread is a great read and here is a thread where I just finished a batch for reference.  Read everything you can by Rocketman, BeerBreath and Chili Monsta - the three of them could put together a dynamite class at FU (fermenting university of course!).  I learned a LOT from those guys when I was first starting out.  


It felt like satan pissed in my mouth it was so hot and lasted a long time. It was a horrible experience eating one of them. - SavinaRed
I would love to travel to your castle to roam the land,eat pie and hunt woman. - sicman
 
 

#3 Jobu

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 07:53 AM

I almost always use cheap vodka in airlocks for my home-brews.  It's sanitized so no worries about infections if liquid gets sucked into the container. I just put together a pepper ferment last night, can't wait for those bubbles in the airlock to get in gear and do their thing.



#4 FieryFoodFan

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 08:57 AM

Thanks for your replies!  I am ultra-excited to see how this ferment works.  It was inexpensive, crude and somewhat haphazard by design, as I want to know from the get-go how forgiving the process can be.  Vodka in the airlock was homebrew friend's recommendation, and I reasoned it would be more sterile than tap water sitting in it open to the air for weeks / months.

 

I drilled out the top of the metal mason jar lid, but because I did not have a bit large enough to accommodate a rubber stopper around the airlock insertion point, I put the airlock directly in the hole and sealed around it with duct tape.  I noticed last night that I could smell the peppers (or rather, the garlic in one combo jar) through the tape, and that some of the tape was beginning to come up.  If I can smell it, it makes me concerned that air and bad bacteria could find it's way in, but maybe not. 

 

If this ferment goes well, I'm going to look for a better, user-friendly setup.  At least a setup where the lid / airlock are more secure, easily removed, and easily reusable.  I know pickl-it makes glass jars specifically for this.  What types of setups work the best for you? 



#5 SmokenFire

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 10:57 AM

If you do not have an air tight seal at the point of the airlock then you bet air can get in and potentially spoil the batch.  A drill bit large enough to get the grommet in can be had for less than $5, which is well worth the money/hassle.  

 

I use 1/2 gallon mason jars with wide mouth rings and plastic airlocks I purchased from Amazon (very similar to pickle it).  Love them and have had no trouble with any ferment since their purchase.


It felt like satan pissed in my mouth it was so hot and lasted a long time. It was a horrible experience eating one of them. - SavinaRed
I would love to travel to your castle to roam the land,eat pie and hunt woman. - sicman
 
 





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: first, jalapeno, cayenne, lactofermentation, salt, sterilization, wild fermentation, ratio

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