Pickled Pepper Hot Sauce



One of the ultimate joys of summer is the abundance of fresh produce. Whether it be from our home gardens or a weekend farmer’s market haul, the bounty of herbs, fruits, and vegetables overflows this time of year, and many are trying to find new, delicious ways to use these local gems. This is where fermented foods, including sauces, can be our summertime kitchen stars. Making sauces from scratch using fermentation can add new flavors, textures, nutrients, and probiotics that store-bought versions can’t compete with. There are a handful of sauces I consider must-haves for summer eating, which can be made with local ingredients this time of year and take even the simplest dishes to the next level; one of these sauces is my Pickled Pepper Hot Sauce.

This hot sauce is full of gut-healing probiotics, making it more nutritious than typical hot sauces that are made acidic only using vinegar. It is fermented in a salt water brine along with other flavorful veggies, then pureed with a splash of vinegar after the fermentation period, creating a spicy, bright sauce that is good on just about anything. Tacos, steaks, burgers, hot dogs, fried eggs, sautéed veggies, and roasted potatoes can all benefit from a splash of this sauce. You can use your favorite hot pepper here, such as jalapeño, aji rico, cherry bomb, habanero, to adjust the heat level to your liking, or feel free to use a combination of peppers for a more complex flavor. You can use a starter in this recipe, such as whey strained from yogurt or kefir, or brine from already-fermented sauerkraut, kim chi, or fermented vegetables. While a starter culture is not totally necessary for the fermentation here, it does speed up the process and decrease the chances for the growth of mold or yeast, but it will also work great to do a wild ferment instead.


Pickled Pepper Hot Sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1-2 weeks fermentation time

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