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fermenting How does Tabasco prevent mold or yeast from growing on their mash?

I've been experimenting with fermentation methods, learning as I go. I prefer the result of a fermented pepper mash so would like to continue moving in that direction.
 
The thing that bothers me about my mash ferments is that they need constant babysitting in the form of stirring/shaking to get rid of yeast, or worse yet, mold. I know there's all sorts of techniques to prevent top growth in pepper mashes, but they all don't seem foolproof to me. I want to just "set and forget" without having to check up on things to see if there's no solids floating on top, or a weight needs pushing down, or there's mold growing in the creases of a water balloon resting on my mash, etc... 
 
After doing some research I've come to the conclusion that Tabasco somehow successfully ferments their pepper mashes by grinding up the peppers with around 2.5% salt, dumping that in a wooden barrel, closing it up with salt on top, and just letting it sit at ambient (Louisiana) temperatures.
 
That seems easy enough, right? Here's how my attempt to replicate this process went:
 
I used a glass jar, which would allow me to spectate, common logic dictates that glass would be even better at preventing growth than a wooden barrel because of the lack of fibers they could grow on. I filled the jar with freshly ground habanero mash (2% salt), making sure there's only about 10% headroom, figuring that the limited headroom would allow the air in the jar to be replaced quickly by the generated CO2. I then closed the jar with a tight lid in which I had made some very small holes, and topped that off with a layer of salt. After about two days things were bubbling nicely, as expected. After about 4 days, white growth was spotted on top of the mash, and after about 6 days the whole thing was covered in what looks like yeast.  :mope:
 
Under the yeast, the fermentation is doing fine, and I know yeast isn't technically harmful, but it impacts the flavor in what I perceive as a negative way. Furthermore, I'm hoping I can one day have my own hot sauce to sell on local markets, and I just don't think it would be okay for a commercial product to depend on yeast/mold being scraped off before further processing. How would you feel as a customer, knowing that's part of the manufacturing process of your favourite sauce?  :P
 
Tabasco mashes seem to look nice and crust/growth free upon opening their barrels after 3 years, and what they're doing seems so simple, yet so effective. So what is it exactly that inhibits the growth of yeast and/or molds in their seemingly very simple process?
 
On a sidenote; I'm aware of the vacuum bag method and eager to try that, but I need personal closure on this mistery! :--)
 

Siv

Extreme Member
Looks pretty crusty to me:
Tabasco8.jpg
http://hungryforlouisiana.com/spider-webs-and-pepper-mash-my-trip-to-avery-island/
 
I have read in the past that there is a valve on the lids of the barrels that allow CO2 to escape along with a layer of salt.  Not actual holes in the lid as you said you did.
 
I couldn't find the article I read but did find this one that mentions a valve.  It's a little lengthy but not too bad.
https://www.alcademics.com/2012/08/a-visit-to-avery-island-home-of-tabasco-pepper-sauce.html
 
I have never done a 3 yr. fermentation but I currently have one going with orange habaneros that is 4 months and there is no sign of yeast or mold.
It is in a glass jar with a "Easy Fermenter" lid.https://nourishedessentials.com/products/the-easy-fermenter-wide-mouth-fermenting-lids-4-packpump-not-included?variant=51365782791&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping&wickedsource=google&wickedid=397634399960&wtm_term=&wtm_campaign=8138574183&wtm_content=85639291153&wickedplacement=&wickedkeyword=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6Pr9qoua5wIVlpOzCh0HzAbeEAQYBSABEgLFNPD_BwE
I have used air locks before but prefer the lids much better for their simplicity.  And they work!
 
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