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A Fermented Roasted Jalapeno Based Salsa and Hot Sauce Here is a post to give you some ideas. There is no recipe as such. It all about mix and match to meet what tastes good to you. Had a couple pounds of jalapeno peppers that were moving past their prime back in July. So we decided to make a salsa which then got taken to another level as a fermented salsa and subsequent also as a hot sauce. Jalapenos (with seeds), red tomatoes, and white onions were all fire roasted on the Kamado and subsequently peeled/prepped and put in the Breville food processor along with some fresh garlic. It was all processed with some salt, some fresh black pepper, a bit of water and a a touch of vinegar and a pinch of sugar into a nice fine grained salsa. Because of the seeds, the salsa mash had a serious wallop. The yield was about 3/4 a gallon. It tastes really nice. Tortilla chips here we come! I decided to ferment 1/2 a gallon of the salsa to let the ferment mellow the flavor/heat and to up the acidity. For information on fermenting, just search the web as there is some good guidance out there. Basically it involves the right percent salt brine covering the vegetables and keeping the air and related bacteria off the ferment until the good bacteria create the right level of preserving lactic acid. For fermenting a mash like this since it is not submerged one keeps an eye on the top surface and just stirs under the top level the first few days and keeps the air off the product with an airlock lid to avoid the wrong bacteria from getting established. Again – go to the web or relevant research. I added some additional salt and ferment starter culture to the “salsa” to set the correct ferment profile and jump start the process. It’s like cheating with the seeding of lactic acid producing bacteria. But in a good way. Ferment starter can be a commercial culture or even the drained whey off an active culture yogurt. Even the vegetables themselves have natural bacteria that can be utilized. Also any water should be non-chlorinated - like a good bottled water. Let the ferment run for about 2- 3 weeks (depending on environmental conditions) on the counter but out of direct sunlight (dark space around 70 degrees is ideal) in an air lock equipped jar, tasting as needed every week and every couple days after the first couple weeks. When it has progressed to the desired acidity level based on you tastes it should be thereafter refrigerated. In another few weeks the overall flavor matures even more. At that point, the flavor and acidity was getting where it should be as a young salsa/sauce but it was still way too pepper hot for some in the family because of the seed element. It will continue to improve over time. Now onto the hot sauce step… Pulled out the Oxo food mill and ran a cup or so of the salsa mash thru the mill on the finest mesh screen to get rid of the seeds. Bingo!...The result is right on target. Great flavor, just the right heat, excellent texture and body just as a hot sauce should be. The flavor because of the tomato and onion plus the roasting step builds a more complex taste profile than just a peppers and vinegar product. For conveniently serving the hot sauce, I took an old empty Peychaud bitters bottle out of my jar/bottle stash and filled it. I like these reclaimed bottles for uses such as this. I drilled the plastic insert spigot hole a bit larger to match the hot sauce viscosity for getting the right amount of sauce splat in a shake. Perfect. As the remaining mash in the fridge further ages it will of itself further mellow in flavor and become even better for future bottling. I have a prior hot pepper sauce that is over 7 years or more aging in the fridge and it is like perfection. Too bad there is not a lot left! Hope this give you some ideas. I really wish you could taste this! PS…If you choose not to do a fermented approach for the acidity, then use vinegar and water to set the acidity and viscosity in your hot sauce. Do a small batch or two from the mash and experiment. Keep the salsa/mash in a sealed jar in the fridge and make new hot sauce as needed. It just gets better over time. This is what science lab in high school should have been teaching us!
Fermented Jalapenos & Fermented Cucumbers Market had a 5 lb bag of beautiful jalapenos last weekend and then today some very nice Kirby cucumbers in the bin. Time for fermenting. Get out the half-gallon jars. Jalapenos were put up a week ago as slices with seeds and as halves without seeds. A 2.5% brine (non-chlorinated water/canning salt) plus commercial starter culture. Garlic and onion for added flavor. They are already starting to get good to eat. 4 lbs of Cucumbers were placed in 3.5% brine plus starter culture today. The pickles should be ready in a few weeks depending on ambient temperature. The "whole pickles" batch are a heavy garlic and dill flavoring with addition of pickling spices mix, whole peppercorns and onion. The "quartered pickles" will be a "hot & spicy" batch using brine, starter culture, dill, bit of garlic and onion, whole peppercorns and dried red pepper flakes. Cucumbers have oak leaves added to the jars so the tannin will keep the pickles firm. The "mesh" you see in the jars is food grade fiberglass grilling mat that I cut into appropriate size circles that I use to keep the items from floating out of the brine. These mesh circles can be tucked under the jar shoulder and/or weighed down with a glass weight if needed. This method is the best of all the ideas I have tried. It popped into my head sometime back when I saw the grilling mat in my supplies cabinet. Easy to place and simple to remove to get to the product when its snacking time. Items must be submerged to avoid spoilage. The airlock lids are homemade using plastic wide mouth jar lids, a carefully drilled 3/8 inch hole to avoid splitting the plastic, and a commonly available 3/8 inch rubber grommet for the airlock stem. Simple, easy to make and way cheaper than the commercial alternatives. When the ferment has reached the right point of pickling flavor ,in natural sourness and in the overall ferment, the jars will go in the fridge for the longer term storage to essentially (but not totally) stop the ferment.