Easy Aged Pepper Mash Recipe

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Photo from Adobe Stock/circleps

Makes 3 cups
Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free

Fermenting peppers is a little like making moonshine. It takes patience, big clean jars, and some space. Leave this pepper mash in the jar for at least a week and much longer for more heat: It is the base to make other sauces such as Texas Pete-Style Hot Sauce or Sriracha.


  • 2 pounds red jalapeno chiles
  • 1/4 cup fine kosher salt
  • 1 cup purified water
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar


  1. Set three chiles aside. Spread out the remaining chiles on a baking sheet and put them in a sunny spot for 2 days, or until soft and wrinkled.
  2. Stem the softened chiles, slice them lengthwise, and put them in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt. Using a potato masher, smash the chiles until only large chunks remain. Set aside at room temperature uncovered for 24 hours.
  3. Transfer the chiles and any liquid in the bowl to a 1-quart Mason jar with a two-piece lid. Put any mashed chiles that don’t fit into a separate container for later use. Pour the water into the jar, loosely screw on the lid, and place the jar on a plate. Let the mixture sit at room temperature until it begins to fizz over and the peppers shrink, 1 to 2 days.
  4. Add the leftover reserved mashed chiles to the jar. Place the three reserved whole chiles at the top of the jar and make sure the mashed chiles are submerged under the liquid. Loosely replace the lid and let sit at room temperature to ferment for at least 1 week and up to 2 weeks. (You may need to add more purified water to the jar to keep the chiles submerged.)
  5. Wearing food handler’s gloves, remove the whole chiles from the jar and discard. Remove the seeds from the mashed chiles and transfer to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
  6. Process the chiles. Add the vinegar and any leftover liquid from the jar. Process until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 months. (The mash will continue to ferment and fizz a bit.)

Also from The Hot Sauce Cookbook:

More on creating your own hot sauces:

The recipes in The Hot Sauce Cookbook will have you wiping your brow, chugging water, and helping yourself to seconds. Using a variety of chiles and easy-to-find ingredients like vinegar and red pepper flakes, The Hot Sauce Cookbook shows you how to prepare your favorite sauces and pair them with authentic regional recipes. The Hot Sauce Cookbook gives you clear instructions for every step of the way, from choosing chile peppers, to stocking your kitchen, to storing the finished product. The Hot Sauce Cookbook lets you cook some of the world’s spiciest dishes, with 49 hot sauce recipes from around the world; 27 food recipes, such as Cajun Barbecue Sauce, Puerto Rican Pique, Korean Barbecued Beef, and Grilled Chicken Satay; and profiles of 29 types of chiles and their heat levels. With this book, you won’t need to go to a restaurant or a grocery store to enjoy great spicy flavors — they’ll be waiting for you in your fridge.

Excerpt from The Hot Sauce Cookbook: The Book of Fiery Salsa and Hot Sauce Recipes , published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2014 by Callisto Media. All rights reserved.

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Mother Earth News Real Food & Preserving
Mother Earth News Real Food & Preserving
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