fermenting Long ferment current pH and finishing

On 8/12/18 I pulsed up 600g of mixed jalapeno, seranno and possible a habanero or two. Mixed with 18g of kosher salt and put into a clean quart jar. I then covered the pepper mash with a 3% non-chlorinated water salt solution applied an air lock set it on the counter and let it do its thing. Fast forward 444 days (last week) I finally bough a pH meter and after calibration I checked the peppers and there are at a pH of 3.5 so well below the minimum of 4.4. Peppers smell fresh and there has never been 1 speck of mold or kahm  yeast. 
 
Next question is I am soon going to be ready to process into sauce once I get a food mill. I want a thin sauce using a minimal amount of vinegar and hopefully be shelf stable w/o refrigeration. 
 
I am settled on using white distilled. My plan is to separate the peppers from the brine, run the mash through a food mill to separate the seeds and skins. Then volumetrically measure out the sauce and add 25% distilled white vinegar to it. Blend and see how thin it is. If not thin enough add some of the brine back in. Bottle in clean woozy's and store at room temp.
 
Is this a sage plan? If not what should be changed?
 
Thank you,
 
Holly2015
 
 
 

SmokenFire

Staff Member
Moderator
Business Member
If your fermented mash is already at 3.5 you don't need to add vinegar for shelf stability, rather it would be to taste.  I recommend that you add a bit at a time to get to your desired consistency/taste instead of just adding 25% by volume.  You may achieve the consistency and flavor profile you're after with only 10% added vinegar, and if you add 25% from the get go you risk that wonderful ferment you spent a year on.  Good luck and post back with pics/results!  :)
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
Just to reiterate what SnF said, you don't NEED to add ANY vinegar, from a safety point of view.
 
One of the most attractive things fermenting brings to sauce makers is eliminating the need to add flavor altering acids like vinegar.
 
So, I would start with adding NO vinegar. See how it tastes.
 
Another thought - if you have enough product, consider splitting in to two batches, one with vinegar, one without.
 
Just something to think about. Ultimately, it's up to you lol.
 
As a follow up I let the peppers ferment on the counter for 1156 days. I put the peppers and juice in the Ninja blender and blended it mutiple times throughout the day. Next I poured it through a double layer of cheese cloth and then pressed the cheese cloth and maybe got 1/4 cup of seeds and fiber. I added a touch of white vinegar and back into the blender where i blended in a touch of xanthan gum. I wanted a thin sauce with just a small bit of body. Bottled it in 5oz woozy's and started giving it away. Those who have tried it loved it. I have two bottles left but have not even tried it yet weeks after bottling it :(

I have started three more from peppers we grew this year.

Heirloom red Habanero
Jalapeno (I let them go red before making the mash)
Tabasco

Not sure how long these will ferment but about a month in they smell great. Fresh pepper with hints of citrus.

As a side note made a batch of jerky (6lb eye of round) with the last of last years Carolina Reapers that we dried. I used about 45 of them a handful each of crushed red and black pepper and as you might imagine the jerky is a bit spicy. It has great flavor and heats the come on like a locomotive.
 
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