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So I think I got a good ferment... but really don't know.

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#1 oros35



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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:00 PM

So this is my first attempt at fermenting peppers.  I've done sauerkraut before which turned out great, but this is my first year with peppers. 


I did a couple different batches all with similar results.  Different peppers, same garden. 


1st batch was mostly red chilies with a few habaneros, chopped in a food processor first.  Fermented about 6 weeks in a crock.  Appeared to work fine. I did have some of the kham yeast on top, scooped it off and refilled with a higher concentration brine and the kahm subsided. Best I can tell everything worked great. 


2nd batch was nearly all yellow habaneros with a couple red chilies, quartered and packed.  I did that in a 1/2 gallon mason jar.  Again I believe it worked great.  Had a ton of visible co2 produced, tapered off after a couple weeks and was pretty slow from then on.  Was in the jar for about 3 months.  no mold, no kham, no discoloration. 


Both of them I processed through a food mill and got a nice looking sauce, really thin, but great color and appearance. 


I tried working some with heat and and mixing with sugar and vinegar.  Flavor is not bad but far from great, still very sour.  And the smell still is very strong.


My biggest question is the smell and taste.  It seems really sour to me.  Not displeasing really just not desirable.  It really catches you.  I dried the seeds/skins after running through the food mill and it really filled my house with sour smell.


** Did I do something wrong?  I can't imaging the powerful smell being normal. Help!! 


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#2 salsalady


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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:36 PM

A strong sour smell is not unusual. Some love it, some not so much. Personally, i dont care for the fermented flavor straight up. You can try adding more fresh ingredients of what you used in the original ferment. I have done some that were 50% fermented and 50% fresh. Tones down the ferment flaver but keeps the ingredient flavors in there.

Simmer it all up, food mill again if desired. Refer or bottle. Good luck.

Ps- i mentioned to cook it tyo stop the fermentation. If you just add more produce and kept it in the fridge, it weould continue to ferment.
Also, add honey, sugar or agave to sweeten.
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#3 SmokenFire


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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:08 PM

The ferment that got kham - did it smell a lil boozy when you processed it?  I ask because I've had batches w kham that I cleared out and finished and still they tasted/smelled off, despite being fine pH wise.  


Other notes:  


Use a disc with larger holes if you want thicker sauces.  The smallest screen will give you a thin product. 


If the sauces taste sour it might have something to do with you adding vinegar.  Usually you do not need to add much in terms of vinegar/other acid to ferments - the fermentation provides the acidity.  


I'd suggest playing around with the balance; if you're too sour then you need to balance with sweet/heat/salt/umami.  A little at a time, using a range of ingredients (honey/turbinado sugar/molasses, etc) until you're liking the results.  Can split the ferment into smaller amounts and then treat them as test batches.


More than anything else - don't give up.  People have been fermenting things for centuries and it's only a matter of time until you find the method/recipe you like.  Welcome to THP oros35.  :)

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#4 oros35



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Posted 11 January 2017 - 01:45 PM

Great advice!  Thanks!


I've now had a couple people try it and nobody else thought the smell was that bad.  Must just be my taste for it. 


I do have about 1 1/2 quarts left to experiment with.  And the first batch I did try a couple different mixes.  Flavor is def different but for me the fermented smell still comes through real strong. 


And for the Kham I didn't notice any difference.  I was very picky about getting as much of it off before it made it to the weights in the crock. I checked it about every 3-4 days.  Next season I'll probably use my crock with the water seal (won't open that one till it's done).  And make sure I get enough salt in the brine. 


My final product is less sour, due to the sugar I used I would imagine.  Raw it was quite sour.  Maybe I'll just try to process without any vinegar and see how it comes out. 


Time for some more experimenting!  Maybe try some different brands of peppers for next year too.  Everything I use I try to grow.



#5 ShowMeDaSauce


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Posted 17 January 2017 - 05:53 PM

Try a bottle of fermented sauce after aging it in the fridge for a month. I did just shy of 90 days fermenting with orange habs, orange bells and carrot. Blended, strained and pasteurized. Then into the fridge. Turned out great.

#6 oros35



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Posted 01 February 2017 - 11:40 AM

WOW, a bit of aging in the fridge and it's so much better!! 


It's also been a very long time since I've had McIlhenys Tabasco so I found some and now I'm happy, I first smelled it and dang! smells exactly like my first batch of sauce.  And taste is also very close. 


So I've been experimenting with small batches, about 1 1/4 cups ferment, and adding things like garlic, onion, raw sugar, brown sugar, agave syrup and a couple different vinegar's, enough to fill a couple 5oz bottles.  Gonna let them age a bit and see which one I like best. 

Edited by oros35, 01 February 2017 - 11:46 AM.

#7 Hawaiianero


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Posted 01 February 2017 - 04:15 PM

Good job on the sauce making. It's funny you mentioned Tabasco. that used to be my go-to sauce for years. I've been making my own for a couple years now. I recently tried Tabasco at a restaurant and was amazed at how off-tasting it was. I actually bought a new bottle on my way home to be sure it wasn't just an old batch at the restaurant. Sure enough, my taste buds were so spoiled by my own concoctions that I just couldn't stand the flavor of Tabasco anymore, not to mention the lack of heat that I was used to.


That should be your goal. Make a sauce that you love so much, regular off the shelf brands become bleh to you.


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