Hi guys and gals~ . In recent time I've taken an interest in making my own hot sauce, and have been educating myself in any way that I can on the correct way to go about this. There are a few details that I'm looking to get some clarification on though. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
1. It's my understanding that the safest and smartest way to bottle sauces that are cooked are to bottle them while the sauce is still piping hot, cap right away and flip over. Is this in fact correct?
YES Hot Fill Hold ...aka HFH....
2. What is the best and safest way to bottle fermented sauces that are not cooked?
Uncooked ferments are still active ferments, like kimchee and sauerkraut. It can be jarred and kept refrigerated. It cannot be left uncooked and unrefrigerated. It will spoil just like if kimchee is left out of the fridge. If you want to keep it as an active ferment, it has to be refrigerated. This will keep the GoodBugs/Probiotics active. If you want it shelf stable (unrefrigerated) it has to be cooked or add a lot of vinegar which will stop the fermentation and kill the GoodBugs.
3. When it comes to using fruit in your ferment, is it ok to leave the fruit in the brine with the peppers and other ingredients, or should the fruit be used after the ferment is completed? Would the answer for this differ if using citrus rather than other fruits?
Fruits can definitely be used in ferments from the start. They add some sugars and bulk to the project. I've used apples several times and I like how it cuts the heat a bit but it also helps bulk up the sauce. I think most citrus will work. Just think about the final flavor profile and if the fruit will contribute to the flavor or if it works best to add bulk and sugar. Neutral flavors like apples and pears won't add much to the flavor profile. Berries, pineapple, orange, will add to the flavor profile as well as contributing sugars and bulk (depending on how much is used).
4. As for burping, for now I'll be using mason jars or parfait jars. Is it ok (and safe) to just crack the tops open for a second to burp as long as all of the contents are still submerged in the brine? Does any one have experience with either of the items below? Can anyone recommend either or a similar product?
Burping is OK to start with, lots of people do it this way, but get something a little safer or more established if you can. Old kraut crocks with the water ring, a glass jar with the glass lid (like the wide mouth display jars with a couple layers of cling wrap over the jar and then the glass lid on top of the cling wrap....)
I've also used the Pickle Pipe tops for smaller wide mouth jars and I also like the Big Mouth Bubblers. Yes, they are for large (1 gallon or 5 gallon) batches, but for $20.....NICE vessels!!!
Any and all help is welcome and greatly appreciated.