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tutorial Chile pepper weights, measures, and other things

It seems I've exceeded my Editing Limit for the OP. :lol:
I wanted to update the fresh-to-dried numbers posted in the OP.  I and others consistently get a 10:1 ratio of fresh to dried.  30 pounds of fresh pods dried down to 3 pounds of dried.  Which, when working with smaller amounts means 1 pound of fresh equals 1.6 ounces of dried.  The OP lists the amount as 1 pound equals 1 ounce.  It's usually a little better than that, might be important to some folks when trying to determine yields or how many pounds of fresh are needed for a certain amount of dried. 
How does this relate to liquid?  I have pepper mash and will press out the liquid soon.  Recipe I want to make calls for peppers in lbs, would I just weigh the liquid?
salsalady said:
Hopefully this will answer a few more frequently asked questions about chile weights and measures like "how many pods do I need to make a quart of sauce"?
A simple adage to remember is- "A pint's a pound the world around".
1 pound fresh pods/produce = 2 cups (1 pint) finely ground up pods/produce
1 pound jalapenos pods = about 1/2 gallon = 2 Ltr
1 pound habanero or scorpion pods = about 1 gallon = 4 Ltr
it takes more thin walled pods to equal a pound than thick walled meaty pods like jalapeno or rocoto.
If someone wanted to make a fermented mash using a gallon jar (4 Ltr)-
the gallon jar should be about 3/4 full = 12 cups (3 Ltr) = 6 pounds pods/produce (2.7 kilo)
1 pound of fresh pods = about 1 ounce of dried (dehydrated) flakes or powder
1 ounce of powder = 1/4 cup
1 gallon sauce = (24) 5 oz woozy bottles = (12) 10 oz woozy bottles
500 grams fresh pods = 30 grams dried powder
1 gallon = 4 liters
1 pound = 450 grams
5oz woozy = 148 ml
Metric conversions are rounded off to make it easy to estimate. 
These are approximate measurements and people need to use common sense when making estimates.  When using the Pints-to-Pounds method, the equation is assuming the produce is finely ground up as for a sauce or puree.  If the chile/produce pieces are in larger chunks like for making pickled peppers, they won't fill up the jars and there is a lot more empty space around the pieces, so the same pounds of produce would fill twice as many jars. 
For pickling -5 pounds pods/produce = 10 pint jars
For sauce- 5 pounds pods/produce = 5 pint jars
Edit by request-
Weights of different salts, sugar, spices, black pepper
Item                  1 cup          1 Tablespoon
white sugar       206g          11g
kosher salt         143g          9g
sea salt              260g         14g
sea salt crystals 280g         ---
Himalayan pink  277g         ---
table salt            320g          17g
Blk Pepper Fine      108g       6g
Blk Pepper Coarse  122g      7g
Herb Flakes      36g   (like basil, oregano 1 cup)
Garlic minced   105g  (2/3 cup)
Garlic powder   101g  (2/3 cup)     
The grain size of the salt makes a huge difference, grain size of black pepper didn't seems to make much difference.
Table salt, himalayan pink, kosher
Notice the huge difference in the salt weights.  If you've been using kosher salt and then   "OOPS!  I'm out of kosher salt!  No Problem!  I'll just use the same tablespoon amount of table salt......."
yea, that's not gonna work out so well.... :(...  But if the recipe is by weight, it's a piece of cake to sub one salt for the other.
How much vinegar to use?
Acids like vinegars and lemon/lime/citrus juices are used to lower the pH of sauces and pickled products to achieve a safe pH level for extended food storage life.  For most beginners, use only 5% or higher acidity vinegars.   
Based on review of several approved extension service canning recipes, they use a ratio of about 1 cup acids to 10 cups produce, however! do not assume that just by using that ratio, the product is shelf stable (meaning it can be left unrefrigerated or un-processed).  The resulting sauce must be properly bottled/canned or refrigerated. 
A gallon is a gallon is.....not a gallon....
It's recommended to actually measure out the vinegar when keeping track of amounts in a recipe.  As the picture shows, even gallons of vinegar can have as much as 1 cup differences from jug to jug.
here are a couple sites with salsa and hot sauce recipes-
This website from Colorado State has some excellent Pickled Pepper recipes.
Making Hot Sauce 101 has more detailed information about processing, canning, and bottling homemade sauces. and also has links to other resources.
What's the difference between fermenting a sauce and just cooking a sauce?
In order to be considered safe to be stored for an extended period of time, sauces need to have a low pH or be pressure canned.  pH numbers indicate the levels of acidity or alkalinity in foods or other things like hydroponics, fish tanks, etc.  Neutral pH is 7.0.  Things with a pH of above 7.0 are alkaline, things below 7.0 are acidic.  Sauces should be below 4.0 (minimum), preferable below 3.5 pH, to be considered safe to process/can/bottle and be considered shelf stable using the common Hot Fill-Hold processing method.
2 ways to lower the pH of foods is by fermentation or by adding acids.  Fermentation uses good bacteria to eat up the natural sugars in chiles and other produce to the point where the pH is below 4.0 and considered safe.  Kimchee and sauerkraut also use fermentation for food preservation. 
Fermentation requires time, anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months, but once it's properly done, the resulting product has a low pH and can be processed or refrigerated without the addition of any other vinegar or acids. 
The other method of getting a safe pH in a sauce or product is to simply add vinegar or lemon/lime juice to pods/produce.  Using vinegar to lower the pH is quick, the sauce can be cooked, bottled and eaten immediately.   
Fermenting Peppers 101 is an excellent tutorial on fermentation.
What is a mash?
Technically, a "mash" is anything that is ground up very fine, it refers to texture and consistency.  A "mash" does not automatically mean the ground up stuff is fermented! 
Lots of chiles are sold commercially as "Mash" and there are any number of combinations of ground up chiles, some with salt, some without salt, some with vinegar, some without, some fermented, some not.....It's an ongoing process to make people aware that "mash" does not mean "fermented".   A lot of people assume mash=fermented, but that is not correct. 
What is capsaicin?
"Capsaicin" is one of many capsaicinoid compounds found in chilies.  There are over 20 different capsaicinoid compounds in most chiles.  The different capsaicinoids react differently in the mouth and body causing the mouth burn and the body endorphin rush.  Different chiles have different amounts of these different compounds, which is why some chiles will hit hard and fast in the mouth, others will hit the gut, others will have the slow creeping burn.
All these different capsaicinoids have been erroneously lumped together under the general heading of 'capsaicin' because that one capsaicinoid is the most prominent one in most chiles.  Google is your friend for more information on capsaicinoids.
How Hot is it?
Scott Roberts has put together a very comprehensive Scoville Scale chart that includes chiles, sauces, and other hot products like Pure Evil and extracts.  It's been recently updated to include a lot of the new chiles on the market (of all heat levels, not just the superhots) and has a great feature that it is Sort-able for sauces only, chiles only, or both. 
Back to the original question...."How many pods do I need to make a quart of sauce?"   Well, (assuming there will be a few other things in the sauce also), if you're using rocotos, probably 10, if you're using White Bullet Habaneros...probably 2000!  :lol:
Hope this helps.  Check out the above links for further details.  Feel free to post other ratios and equations. 
You could use the basis that 1 US gallon weighs about 8 pounds.  That gives you a pretty good starting point. 
1 pint = 1 pound
1 gallon = 8 pints = 8 pounds
Just to add a few more terms for clarification-
fermented/fermentation- a process of preserving food by using GoodBugs like lactobacillus to preserve foods and prevent BadBugs/Nasties like botulism.  The GoodBugs eat the natural sugars in the vegetable matter, like what happens when making beer, kimchee, saurerkraut or wine.  The fermentation process lowers the pH of the product, getting it into the safe zone, and once properly fermented, no additional vinegar or acids are necessary.
Often, people will add vinegar to fermented sauces for the flavor, but if the sauce has been properly fermented and the sauces is in a safe pH zone, no additional vinegar/acids are needed for food safety.  The sauce still needs to be dealt with properly for food safety.  More below~ 
Traditional kimchee and sauerkraut recipes call for using salt (and a bit of water if needed) and keeping the produce in an oxygen free environment.  The use of crocks with a recessed lid lip and a well of water in the ring provided the one-way airlock required to keep the fermenting produce safe and not allowing oxygen into the environment.  Now-a-days, we have things like Bubblers, wine airlocs, traditional crocks, and nifty containers like these to help with the oxygen-free environment. 
Beer and wine use an oxygen-free environment using bubblers and the use of yeast starters to get the fermentation process started.  Most chile ferments don't use yeast to kick start the fermentation process.   There's tons of great detailed information in the Fermenting 101 thread.
Open Fermentation- sometimes people try to use a cheese cloth or other porous material to cover a fermenting process.  While I know that that process is sometime used in some applications, I do not know anything about that process, and most of our ResidentExperts here on THP do not suggest using an open fermentation process.  The most highly suggested process is using a closed environment.  Whether with an airlock bubbler or just burping the jars on a daily basis, do not do a ferment that is open to the environment unless you really know what the heck you are doing! 
Aging/Aged- is just what it says....letting something rest in a cool dark environment for whatever amount of time the maker desires.  Aging is not a preservation method
Aging may change the flavor of whatever over time.  Sausage, cheese, steak, wine and hhwhiskeys are aged.  The idea is that the food tastes better after sitting in a cellar for (whatever) years.  Fermented sauces can be aged, vinegar based sauces can be aged.  As long as the pH is low and in the safe zone, anything can be aged for weeks or months.  But again, for sauces....aging is not preserving and if the pH isn't right to start with, then the sauce will go bad.
Sometimes, there is an overlap of processes.  Sometimes the fermentation and aging occurs simultaneously.  Eventually the fermentation process slows down to where it is basically done and the only process is the aging/mellowing of flavors.  With things like alcohol, the aging process is further influenced by things like aging in oak barrels, but that is for a whole other forum!  :lol:
Beef Steaks can be aged- in a low temp refrigerator and relatively low moisture environment for 20-40 days.  Again, it is the combination of refrigeration and lower moisture content that makes the aging process safe.  A steak on the counter top, open to air, and at room temp?  yea...bad in a matter of hours....
Mash- Mash is a common term in beer and 'shine making and in that arena, the mash refers to the mix of grains, hops and stuff that is left in the barrel to ferment, and then it is distilled. 
Technically, a "mash" is anything that is ground up, it refers to texture and consistency.  A "mash" does not automatically mean the ground up stuff is fermented!  Mashed potatoes....mashed cauliflower....
Lots of chiles are sold commercially as "Mash" and there are any number of combinations of ground up chiles- some with salt, some without salt, some with vinegar, some without vinegar, some fermented, some not fermented.....
It's an ongoing process to make people aware that "mash" does not mean "fermented".   A lot of people assume mash=fermented, but that is not correct.  A mash CAN be fermented, but do not automatically assume that when a person says 'mash', it is fermented.
Puree- usually references a smooth, sometimes concentrated, product.  Puree's usually have minimal ingredients, like AJ's Chile Puree.   Lots of ingredients are available in puree form which is great for making sauces and other foods.  AJ's recipe shows how to make a chile puree and process it in small canning jars.  Thousands of other ingredients are available in frozen form.  People can make their own finely ground peppers, and maybe ran through a food sieve for a reaaally smooth sauce, and then resulting mess can be frozen in flat pint ziploc bags for ease of use.   
Safe handling of fermented/preserved sauces- Hot Pack it or Fridge It-
The process of fermentation is a combination of lowering the pH of the product with the GoodBugs and keeping it in an oxygen-free environment.  As long as those 2 parameters are maintained, the sauce can pretty much hang out indefinitely as is.  AS SOON AS THE AIR-LOCK IS BROKEN, then it must be dealt with like any fresh product.  
It's all a combination of pH, storage temperature, and oxygen.
Bottled orange juice has a naturally low pH and as long as it is in the sealed bottle, it can be in the pantry for years.
No oxygen, moderate temp, low pH = no Nasties
As soon as the juice is opened, the 1/2 glass of juice on the kitchen counter will get moldy even though the pH is still low. 
+oxygen, +temperature, low pH= +Nasties
If the open juice is put in the fridge...it will stay good for a long time. 
+oxygen, -temperature, low pH= Nasties deflected for a while
Once the air-lock is broken, Nasties will get into the fermented sauce.  If the sauce is left out at room temp, it will spoil fairly quickly, just like kimchee or orange juice will spoil when left on the kitchen counter.  If the sauce is put in the refrigerator, like how traditional kimchee crocks were buried in the ground to keep them cool, then the nasties can't grow (as fast) and the sauce is safe for a long time.  
The other way to make a fermented sauce safe for the pantry is to cook the sauce (which will stop the fermentation process) and bottle it using the HotFillHold method or a boiling water bath processing.   Again, as long as the pH is nice and low, there is no need for additional vinegars or acids and the fermented sauce can be cooked and bottled as is.  Other ingredients can be added to taste~]
Sauces containing oils- (not flavor infused oils...see below)
in most situations, sauces and condiments (like salad dressings, pesto, chimichurri) containing oil should only be made and kept refrigerated, frozen or processed using a full pressure canning process.  Making a safe shelf stable product that contains oil/butter is highly regulated and extremely risky if you don't know how to do it safely!
Herb and chile infused oils can be done safely with dried herbs and peppers.  Use of fresh peppers and herbs is not recommended, the moisture content of the fresh ingredients can introduce nasties/botulism into the oil.  Only use dried chiles and herbs when making flavored oils. 
Pressure cooker -vs- pressure canner-
Recent new developments in the home appliance market has brought out some home pressure cookers, which are NOT the same as a pressure CANNER.  Do research, if you need a pressure canner, make sure to purchase the right kettle.
Hope this helps with some topics that have come up recently.  I'll probably edit a few times, so please chime in with suggestions and corrections. 
alright I've confused the capsaicin out of myself...
2 ounce bag of dried pods would be approximately 2 pounds of fresh?
So if i wanted to make a sauce with 2oz dried peppers, to figure out how much vinegar to start with- 10 cups produce/1 cup vinegar rule of thumb, am I figuring correctly that 2 ounce dried pods= about 4 cups produce, so I'd want to start around 1/4 cup vinegar?
season to taste of course but good starting point for salt in this example around 1/2 ounce?
BadWolf said:
alright I've confused the capsaicin out of myself...
That happens to me on a regular basis....:lol:

And yes, I think you are right there on the calculations. It doesn't hurt to go a little heavier on the vinegar, especially if using milder flavored vinegars.

Vinegar can be used for rehydration as it is 95% water, just have to adjust the rest of the recipe.
Better late than.... you know....


How ya doin' LDHS?
Better late than.... you know....


How ya doin' LDHS?
At the moment having an allergy attack from hell. Had a massive acacia in full bloom behind my market booth today. It was trying to kill me. Well, technically/scientifically speaking it was trying to have sex with me, and it worked because I'm super F'd right now. :doh:
Well my initial reply involved drinking a lot of liquids and watering said plant ...

But keeping it PG...

Hope those OTG drugs can help...