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Fermented Hot Sauce for Summer!

Ahh, the time of long days and heat is upon us and we couldn’t be happier. It’s been a cool year so far and when we say “cool”, we don’t mean like Rihanna cool. We mean Princess Elsa cool. We mean Ice Ice Baby cool. Who are we kidding? It’s just been COLD. We can typically put away our thermals, furry boots and layered looks in May, but not this year. We’ve been bundled up in warm blankets and sweaters for far too long, munching warm bread and stews and dreaming of the days where we can wear shorts and tank tops, pick veggies straight out of our garden, swim in the lakes and rivers... We’ve been waiting too long for the summer experience! 

For all of your Nor’westers (and PNW’ers), today we’re bringing some heat to you to shake the perpetual winter chill out of your bones for GOOD. Peppers of all types are relatively easy to grow and are covered in natural bacteria as they’re grown close to the ground. This recipe we’ve adapted from “It’s Alive with Brad” on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel does need organic peppers because conventionally grown peppers can be covered in wax for preservation which doesn’t lend well to fermenting. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market or your favorite farmer friend if you’re not keen on gardening, they’ll most likely have peppers coming out of their ears soon enough! 

This sauce can be used for multiple applications; whether you just like a dab on your grilled goodies or dumped on your chip of choice, we guarantee that your core temperature will increase significantly! You can sneak some into ramen, toss some on your tacos, dress your boring scrambled eggs or fancy up a Bloody Mary with this beautiful hot sauce. It even makes great gifts for your spice lords and ladies around the holidays! Whatever your choice of usage, we guarantee that you and anyone you choose to share this sauce with will enjoy the heat year ‘round. So, let’s get to fermenting!

multi-colored pepper assortment
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

You will need:

• Wide-mouth gallon jar (can also use a half-gallon jar)
• Latex gloves
• Cutting board
• Kitchen knife
• Funnel
• Small bottles with lids and/or a large mason jar for storage

Ingredients:

• Around 20 organic Fresno peppers, topped and seeded
• 2-3 organic Habanero peppers, topped and seeded
• 2 dried hibiscus flowers
• Mixed peppercorns (approx. 5)
• 2 Cardamom pods
• 1 Pinch Marash pepper flakes
• 2 cloves crushed garlic
• 3 Tbsp sea salt
• 3 Tbsp sugar
• 1.5 Quarts water

Preparation:

1) Using gloves, remove tops and seeds from peppers.

2) Add salt, sugar, spices, and garlic to fermentation jar.

3) Add enough water to cover spices, close jar, and shake to dissolve.

4) Place peppers into the jar and add the remaining quart of water.

5) Close the jar with your GoFerment lid, fill your airlock and let ferment for one and a half weeks.

6) After one and a half weeks, check mixture and massage peppers (please use gloves).

7) Ferment for another week (or longer if you can wait!).

8) Strain pepper solids and retain the brine.

9) Transfer peppers and around 3/4 cup of the brine to a blender and blend mixture at varying speeds until consistent being careful not to overheat. If you have an immersion blender, those are great to use as they won’t create heat when blending!

10) Remove mixture from the blender, store in a mason jar or small bottles in the refrigerator and enjoy!

When Life Hands You Garlic Mustard, Ferment It!

 Garlic Mustard BHughey

Calling all wildcrafters and foragers — pick all you can! The usual advice is to forage lightly and with respect. Leave plants to reproduce. However, in the case of a few invasive species, it is okay to pluck with wild abandon, not allowing the plants to reproduce. One of these is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and its unopened flowers are very similar to rapini (aka broccoli rabe) in taste and texture.

It was introduced to the U.S. as a food and medicine brought by European settlers and is first recorded on Long Island in 1868. This plant is a problem across the northeast U.S., much of the Midwest, and in scattered pockets throughout the South, West, and Alaska.

Invasive species can play havoc on ecosystems by out competing native species. Often these silent invaders thrive in foreign ecosystems, because none of their competitors came along to balance them. For example, in its native habitat, garlic mustard has 69 insects that feed upon it, in North America — none.

In the case of garlic mustard, it also has sheer numbers on its side: It can produce 62,000 seeds per square meter, and these little guys remain viable for 5 years.

When you find this plant heading up in mid to late April and May, go ahead and pull it out by the root, which you can cut off, keeping the tender upper stems, leaves, and unopened florets to eat. Eat some fresh — it can be steamed or braised — and ferment some for later.

Garlic Mustard Kimchi Recipe

Makes a little more than a pint

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Garlic Mustard, cut into 1–inch pieces
  • 1 cup shredded radish
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. dried pepper flakes (this will be a mild-medium heat, use more to taste)
  • 2 quarts kimchi pickling brine for soaking (2 quarts water mixed with 1/2 cup salt)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon anchovy paste

Directions:

1. Soak the cut garlic mustard (unopened buds and all) for about 2 hours in the soaking brine. After soaking, drain in a colander, saving some of the brine to add as needed.

2. Place soaked mustard in a bowl and mix in all of the remaining ingredients (including optional anchovy paste), massaging as you go. Taste to check salt and pepper level. The pepper quantity will vary with how piquant you want your ferment (remember heat is brought down just a touch during fermentation). The salt level is part of a successful ferment. You want to taste the salt in a pleasing way — like a chip — but you don’t want it to be overly briny. If it needs more salt, simply add a bit of the soaking brine until it tastes right.

3. Press into jar or crock, following basic instructions for your fermentation vessel.

This small quantity will ferment in about 4-5 days. This is strong flavored and best served as a condiment. It goes nicely over a white meat or fish. It will keep refrigerated for 3-4 months.


Kirsten K. Shockey is a post-modern homesteader who lives in the mountains of Southern Oregon. She writes about sauerkraut and life — but not necessarily in that order. She’s written a complete book of Fermented Vegetables and maintains the website Fermentista’s Kitchen.







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