Valley Bounty: September 13, 2014: Hot Peppers

Hot peppers in the Valley are ripe for the picking this month. Varieties from around the world—with heat levels ranging from mild to scorching—are grown right here, often by farmers with a passion for peppers. Be sure to don gloves when cutting and de-seeding the most capsaicin-packed fruits, which can be deliciously sneaky!
By Abby Getman of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture


Susan Pincus of Sawmill Farm in Florence is an incredible fermenter and her hot sauce has been a staple condiment of mine for the last three years. Susan’s recipe is based on ratios, so you can easily scale it for large or small batches. She generally makes about half a gallon of finished hot sauce out of around 3 pounds of red jalapenos and many cloves of garlic. She encourages the home-fermenter to engage skills of observation with this recipe, which I have watched her make several times.

Fermented Jalapeno Hot Sauce
By Susan Pincus

This recipe makes a delicious, spicy and flavorful hot sauce and can be easily adapted for the number of hot peppers and garlic you have on hand.

I suggest using gloves while making this hot sauce as the cut jalapenos can really burn. Pull off the stems from your jalapenos. In a food processor, blend the peppers and some garlic into a pulpy mash. Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar. Note the volume of the mash and add approximately enough salt so that there is a 30:1 pepper to salt ratio. The salt helps to pull water from the peppers, deepen the flavor and act as a preservative. Mix the salt into the pepper mash. There should be enough liquid in the jar to cover the pepper mash. The brine acts as the protective buffer to keep the sauce from spoiling. Loosely screw a lid onto the jar, place it on a plate (to catch overflow) and allow the sauce to ferment for 1 month in a cool, dark place.

After a month, your hot sauce is ready and should be kept in the refrigerator. The finished sauce should keep for at least several months in the refrigerator, if not longer.

CISA staffer, Claire Morenon, relies on this Sriracha chile sauce recipe, which is also fermented.

Next Barn Over has provided a wonderful visual of the hot-pepper gradient on their Facebook page here.