Saturday, December 22, 2012

Re: From the beginning

Bob Hurt - 727 669 5511 -
2460 Persian Drive #70, Clearwater, Florida 33763, USA
Click here to email me:;;

Quoting Cori :

> Hi Bob,
> Thanks for your reply earlier. I guess where I am confused is I have
> always made my hot sauce fresh. I want to ensure a long shelf life without
> sacrificing flavor. So I decided to ferment. The internet has so much
> information that I am not exactly sure how to begin. Some say they ferment
> at home in a crock with just salt, other say cook the mash, some say they
> use vinegar, and so on.
> I have wide mouth mason jars that are 1L at home. After I chop and prep
> my peppers I have been storing in our mason jars. I place cheesecloth on
> top and make sure the pepper juice is above the cloth. Well I learned
> today maybe not so good, when one was too full........ it blew on me!
> Yikes! Mash everywhere!
> I looked on line at buying airlocks, bungs, and reCAP mason jar lids or I
> could buy oak barrels. Not sure which is a better option.
> Do I need to refrigerate the mash or can I store in a cool room?
> I appreciate your help. I look forward to hearing from you!!
> Cori

Dear Cori:

I would buy a gallon or half gallon GLASS jar with a plastic lid,
sterilize it, and fill it half to 2/3 full of mash consisting of raw
peppers (with or without seeds) pureed in a blender with at least 1%
salt by weight - I would not use more than 3% because even 1% is VERY
salty. I calculate 1% as 1 teaspoon of salt per one full pint of
freshly pureed mash. It doesn't get simpler than that.

Make sure you use clean jars, utensils, a clean blender. YOu can
disinfect them with white vinegar or by boiling them in water for 20
minutes. I put a jar with a little water in it in the microwave and
cook for 3 or 4 minutes. That boils the water and heats the glass
sufficiently in my opinion. Careful, HOT.

YOU COULD let pepper mash ferment in a food-grade plastic bag. You
set the bag in a pan or bowl and seal it with zip lock or tiewrap so
that air can escape. Then you set the bag in a pan or bowl so that
the opening sits way above the mash, and you compress the air out of
it. As the mash starts to ferment, it will rise and the gas can
escape, but you have to shake it every day, and you should leave
headroom for expansion so it doesn't overflow.

If you ferment in a jar or crock, you can put water in a clean food
grade plastic bag, seal it perfectly, then set it on top of the mash,
and let the end of the bag drape over the opening, and screw on the
lid. This will keep the mash under the liquid so the gas bubbles out.


I also sprinkle a little ascorbic acid (vitamin c) on top of the mash
and stir it into the top inch or so to retard mold growth.

If I leave the jar sitting out with a lid on and air in the top space,
sometimes white stuff starts forming or growing on the top. I imagine
that is mold, but I really don't know. So I skim it off and get the
air out and have no further problem.

Also, after a month of fermentation, I refrigerate the jar of mash.
I've had two half gallon jars in the fridge, full of mash, for 7
years. NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER, tastes very mellow. Thinking of
bottling and selling it for $50 a bottle.

IF I WERE YOU, I'd get interested in fermenting more than just peppers
by juicing or pureeing and adding stuff to the mash. AND DON'T EVER

Carrot - keeps the reddish color

ginger - exotic flavor

horseradish - more exotic, earthiness

onion - what aroma, loaded with sulfur

vanilla bean - imparts an exotic flavor.

garlic - more aroma, sulfur - add this AFTER the ferment starts
bubbling robustly because it tends to kill bacteria.



Berries (seeds removed) - Grapes, cranberry, blackberry, raspberry,
blueberry, cherry, acerola

Fruits (pits removed) - apple, papaya, mango, pineapple, jack fruit, sour sop,

Note on fruits and berries, I would run berries through the juice
extractor repeatedly to extract the find pulp and juice, and leave the
seeds behind. When high-sugar products ferment, they produce alcohol
if yeast exists in the product, which it nearly always does. When you
continue the ferment long enough, the liquid becomes vinegar.
Normally you add apple cider vinegar to pepper mash to create pepper
sauce. So, I suggest that they should ferment together. That way you
select your own vinegar flavor and ferment the vinegar as part of the
pepper mash.

Grape, apple, apricot, raspberry, (and certain other seeds) all have
profound nutritional value, but generally you need to process them as

Almond or apricot kernels and/or apple seeds - To remove enzyme
coating that defeats digestion, you can rinse a cup or two of raw
almonds, soak them over night in unchlorinated water (this will swell
and soften them), then puree them in apple or some other berry juice,
and then use a nylon mesh bag to squeeze out the juice. This you can
add to the ferment. It will contain some almond oil and give it a
unique flavor, plus add protein to it. Apricot kernels put B17 in the
mash. If you have some kind of hydraulic press or rollers you can
crush the seeds to extract oil, flavonoids, nutrients.

Grape leaf - some people use this in pickle recipes. I think you
could include it in pepper mash - put a couple of leaves in each jar
till you bottle some sauce.

You can experiment with any or all of these. You can take some of the
fermented mash and smear it on cabbage leaves, then roll them around
pieces of ginger, carrot, onion, and stuff them in a glass jar, and
store them at 50 degrees (in the north, just bury them in the ground
for a month or so. This makes hot kim chi, a Korean special food.

After a couple of weeks the furious ferment bubbling will finish. If
you have added fruit juice or pulp having a lot of sugars in it, the
ferment will probably produce alcohol. That imparts a dramatically
different flavor. I bake a lot of sourdough bread. The alcohol
dissipates during baking, but the tart flavor from the bacteria
fermentation remains behind, giving the bread its tartness. You can
let bread ferment too long before baking, and that will make it taste
too tart.

I suppose the same is true for hot pepper mash.

So I'd say you should experiment. Peppers have SOME sugars in them
(for example ball peppers, they have a LOT of sweetness), and that
causes yeasts in the product to eat those sugars, producing both gas
and alcohol. That contributes to the ferment, perhaps causing the
whitish stuff on the surface some of my pepper mash in the past.

So if you get a bad result with the addition of fruits and
berries,you'll have some clue why. You can stop the fermentation by
pasteurizing the mash, and dramatically slow it by refrigeration.

I would stick it in the fridge after a month or 6 weeks of
fermentation at room temperature, and test it by drawing off a bottle
of it and leaving that to sit out.

If the liquid and solids of the mash separate, you can add some
xanthum gum (a little goes a long way - test it on a small batch
first). You can buy that at the health food store.

Stay in touch and let me know how it goes

Bob Hurt - 727 669 5511 -
2460 Persian Drive #70, Clearwater, Florida 33763, USA
Click here to email me:;;


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