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first real attempt at hot sauce, concerns re brine and airtightness

hot sauce ferment help habanero

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#1 growyourown

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 10:42 PM

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.

 

intro:

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.



#2 D3monic

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 09:33 AM

Vinegar probably impeding loctofermentation. Should just be brine for the ferment. Vinegar added at the end of process.

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#3 SmokenFire

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 09:49 AM

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.

 

Welcome to THP growyourown! 

 

The mash in question has not likely fermented much if at all considering the amount of acid in the vinegar you used.  You're aging the mash more than fermenting.  That it's been kept covered it great, but left on the kitchen counter for a month under cling wrap isn't the most idea circumstance.

 

If this particular batch is near and dear to your heart and you really want to a) consume it and b) do so safely - I advise you to get a pH meter.  Something like this would suffice, just make sure to purchase calibration solution as well.  IF you're first attempt at hot sauce registers low enough on the pH scale then you are likely fine to cook it up and eat it.  

 

It seems like a lot of steps to jump through, but they are relatively easy and will help guarantee all your future hot sauce endeavors are safe and tasty.

 

Tips/tricks:

 

While you are cooking the hot sauce you can add things like honey or turbinado sugar to help balance/counteract the vinegar.  You could add some fruits you think may balance the sauce as well.  Just blend everything very well when you're finished and the resultant sauce will be pretty smooth.  If you want it very smooth put the whole batch through a food mill or fine mash strainer.  Then jar it up and keep it in the fridge till it's gone.

 

I encourage you to read through the Hot Sauce Making 101 and Fermenting 101 threads - there is a wealth of information therein that will really help you get consistently good results.

 

Best of luck!  :)


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
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#4 growyourown

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 08:17 PM

thanks for your replies, and as recommended i did purchase a ph tester. this one, hopefully it's any good:

 

https://www.amazon.c... ph meter&psc=1

 

using the calibration powders and distilled water, the meter only needed to be adjusted by about 0.06, so i assume it is reporting accurately. i also blended the mixture again, so that the meter wasn't only reading the vinegar liquid but hopefully also the peppers themselves.

 

the good news is, my bowls of pepper mash and vinegar tested between 3.30 and 3.55, so i think i am good to use them. exciting!

 

does anyone have any good tips for tempering vinegar flavour/smell, and how they finish their habanero hot sauce? i am planning on canning it into 250mL jars for storage.

 

thanks again, and live spicy, my friends.



#5 Pharthan

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 09:50 PM

thanks for your replies, and as recommended i did purchase a ph tester. this one, hopefully it's any good:

 

https://www.amazon.c... ph meter&psc=1

 

using the calibration powders and distilled water, the meter only needed to be adjusted by about 0.06, so i assume it is reporting accurately. i also blended the mixture again, so that the meter wasn't only reading the vinegar liquid but hopefully also the peppers themselves.

 

the good news is, my bowls of pepper mash and vinegar tested between 3.30 and 3.55, so i think i am good to use them. exciting!

 

does anyone have any good tips for tempering vinegar flavour/smell, and how they finish their habanero hot sauce? i am planning on canning it into 250mL jars for storage.

 

thanks again, and live spicy, my friends.

 

For tempering that vinegar flavor and smell I'd recommend switching vinegar types. Standard distilled vinegar is pretty strong, or you can drop it down some by using white-wine-vinegar. I just bottled a batch with Rice Vinegar and it's mild in terms of vinegar, and it adds a bit of sweetness.



#6 Walchit

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:10 AM

Did you eat some or what?

#7 growyourown

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 07:43 PM

i didn't eat any, and i haven't done anything yet. this weekend i think i have time to finally attempt to make it into something. i will taste test as i proceed, and look at using maybe a spoonful or two of honey, as i think we have some around.

 

what about adding in some of my dehydrated and ground up jalapenos/habaneros, would that add sufficient flavour/heat to offset the vinegar more, or must i incorporate a sweet agent of some kind to combat the acid profile?

 

no offense to vinegar, which preserved my pepper mash well enough that it's thankfully still edible. i just want to cut the strong aroma somewhat, with something that accompanies well.



#8 Walchit

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 10:15 AM

I put honey in all of the sauce I've made so far, I think.

#9 Masher

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 12:12 PM

Pineapple juice
Pear juice
White grape juice

Have not tried them yet but could help in reducing the vin taste.

Agave nectar
Raw turbinado sugar
Honey

For sweeteners are listed a lot in recipes I have seen.

Edited by Masher, 15 December 2018 - 12:12 PM.


#10 growyourown

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:03 PM

thanks so much guys. classic excuse for still not concocting my sauce, in-laws came over so i lost a day of my weekend.

 

i'll take your advice (which is also the easiest for me since i have some on hand) and incorporate some honey when i go to cook it. i really don't want to make the sauce exotic with any fruit flavours etc. i want to keep it as basic and versatile as possible, because i do put hot sauce on many different foods, so i want to be able to apply it to anything (like the old lady does with that generic hot sauce) and not have it dominate or radically change the intended flavour of dishes.

 

anyways, merry christmas to all and i'll report back when i have some results to announce.

 

 

 

 

 



#11 growyourown

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 06:16 PM

hey all. sorry i forgot to write back. thankfully, all went well with my hot sauce when i made it back at the start of this year. i got about 1.5 litres in total, and it tastes quite good (to me anyway). it is definitely not overpowering in vinegar flavour since i added a few spoons of honey, but rather just tastes like a liquefied habanero with hints of vinegar and sweetness. and man it adds a heck of a kick, to where i start sweating and sometimes need a beer immediately after eating food with it if i maybe put a little too much in.

 

it's got a boring brown colour, but i was not concerned with looks. and the consistency is pretty smooth but not liquidy. i usually just dip in a fork and add that into my dinner, and it's more than enough to spice up even the blandest pasta.

 

i named it "rob's 'kinda hot'" for three reasons, because i myself am kinda hot (not really lol), the sauce is (more than) kinda hot, and because it's "my kind of hot".

 

anyway thanks for all the encouragement and advice, and i still have three 250mL jars of it canned to use in the future, and now this year's plants are really taking off. looks like i'm going to have about a thousand super chillies (40-50k scoville) so probably hoping to make a rip-off of frank's hot sauce due to the tamer heat level, this fall/winter.

 

cheers and keep it spicy!



#12 SmokenFire

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 10:06 PM

One of the better bump updates in recent memory.  Cheers dude!  :)


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
 
 

#13 growyourown

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 03:33 PM

thanks man!

 

this is such a great forum, you guys rock!

 

:cheers:

 

 







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