i've just joined and hello to all you pepperheads. just sharing my hot sauce story in progress with questions i have. please help me out with anything you knowledgeable folks might have any tips or opinions on. intro in small font, skip at will. major premises underlined, read surrounding words for further info.
as i said in welcome forum, i'm new to the scene. messed around with a few potted plants last year. made a "hot sauce" with a couple of ghosts and some habaneros and super chillis, using a recipe though that said like add 4 tomatoes and 3 cloves of garlic and an onion and carrot etc. it turned out more like a tomato paste i used to give body to spaghetti sauce or chili con carne.
anyway this year, got some big crates with good soil and growing 3 plants each of jalapeno, habanero, and caribbean red habanero. great yields, but when temp went down to 1-2 degrees C for a couple nights i panicked - having read that nighttime temperatures of under 0 can cause the plant to die and spoil its fruit - and harvested even the green ones. wound up with a big freezer bag each of not-ripe habs and caribbean. had already done some dehydrating with earlier mature peppers, so i definitely wanted to do a hot sauce with the excess bounty. froze all the jalapenos and half a freezer bag of ripe caribbeans as well. some of the green ones did turn colour in the ziploc for a couple days in the sun, and i began to research how to make a hot sauce.
the hot sauce:
the crux of the matter is i did not plan on doing a ferment, but now i think that's the course it took...
so i used one of those "simple" hot sauce recipes, where it said blend up your peppers with some salt, put in bowl covered with saran wrap and let it sit 1-2 days, mix with vinegar so it's submerged (i added half the vinegar first and blended once more, then added more vinegar to make the 2 cups per pound ratio and the liquid covered the mash), let sit 4-5 days to blend flavours, then cook til hot and jar or keep in fridge up to a few months. and i did everything up until the cook part...
my mash and vinegar has been sitting in plastic bowls covered only in cling film for nearly a month. it is in no way cloudy, nor is any white yeast forming. but it has not nearly been airtight, and also doesn't have "activity bubbles" of any kind or any signs of anything. there are sometimes a couple of small isolated bubbles on top of the liquid in places. i left it longer at first partially from laziness and because it smelled very much of vinegar (used 1.25 cup plain white and 0.75 cup acv per pound plus a splash of red wine vinegar) is there a chance my sauce is doomed due to vinegar fragrancy? after 4 weeks i feel like it is being tempered somewhat as the pepper mash incorporates more, but
my question is, is it good still? as is? should i transplant to jars and continue to leave it do its thing (and can at the end)? should i bail on aging and cook now because it's borderline due to possible oxygen transfer? is it salvageable at all or did i screw up entirely?
i figured i'd sign up and ask real people what they really did or can advise for my situation, instead of just guess and hope. cheers and good tidings from canada and thank you.