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Screamin' Hot Hot Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce

I’m not the biggest fan of hot things but I am surrounded by many that do. Even if I don’t like a splash of hot sauce, I do appreciate anything homemade and even better home grown. With some pepper plants myself as well as my sister’s boyfriend, I had many peppers that I could use to make something for the whole family to enjoy.

Sadly my pepper plants didn’t produce as much as I wanted to make a ton of hot sauce and I had to improvise. Soulard market had a vendor that had a TON of peppers and so many varieties so I didn’t mind picking up a pound to use for some extra hot sauce as well. I also got a good amount from my sister’s boyfriend since he had a good supply in their garden and also had some super hot ones saved in his freezer. Looks like I’m making a few different batches with different heat levels.

After getting my hands on all the peppers I could imagine, and questioning if I over did it and got way too many, I was ready to go. Since I had so many I knew I could do a few various levels of heat as well and really play with the hot sauces I was going to make. The lower end (or “medium”) hot sauce used a bunch of sweeter peppers that were home grown along with other home grown peppers. I only added a couple jalapeños and kept the really hot ones away because I at least wanted one sauce that I could try without feeling like I licked the Devil’s ass. The largest batch I made was with the peppers from the farmer’s market since there were just so many. I was told they were a nice average pepper that has heat so they would make the “hot” hot sauce before we get into the max level. Of course I also threw in some jalapeños, a couple sweet peppers to make a more complex flavor profile, and left the bad boys out until the last jar. That third jar was the danger one. Labeled a nice “extra hot” it had some of all the peppers and then all of the extra hot ones. I was told some of the ones I was given were ghost peppers, so this was going to be quite spicy.

I took an hour to cut everything up and place them into their fermenting vessels. Making sure to start with medium and use gloves the whole time so my hands didn’t burn. Along with the peppers, I also added some extra flavors. Some lime zest, bay leaves, coriander, garlic, onion, rosemary from the garden, and celery flakes. Not all flavors in each sauce but spread the love around so create a really nice array hot sauce. Once the jars were filled and ready for the brine it was almost

done. I went with the standard 5% salt water for the brine. Nothing fancy here. Just classic brine style fermenting since the peppers don’t have enough water to release and brine themselves. After they were all topped off and covered, into their fermentation cabinet they went.

While cutting and prepping they smelled spicy but not as spicy as I expected. As they fermented though, oh boy did they release some flavors. I checked on them daily, making sure to stir and prevent any microlife growth on the surface. After just about 4 or 5 days, they had a nice pickley scent and I decided it was time to blend.

The "medium" Hot Sauce

When I prepped the peppers I did leave the seeds to maintain full heat levels and questioned straining the sauces when they were done. I of course started with the medium and put all the peppers in a blender, saving the brine on the side just in case. I blended them up, adding a little brine to get a nice saucey consistency. I tried to strain them but that took so much of the pepper meat and I didn’t want a watery liquid. I ended up giving it a really good blend for a solid 5 minutes to get it as smooth as possible then bottled it up. Then it was onto the hot. Same process. And

The Extra Hot Stuff

finally the extra hot. I did taste test the “medium” and it was not as mild as I was hoping for. Really good flavor, slight pickle taste from the ferment, and of course nice spicy flavor. As the weak tongued person that I am, I did not dare even taste test the hot or extra hot. Just bottled them up, made sure to label them, and into the fridge they went.

As a ferment, they were still alive and active. I checked them every few hours to release any gas and prevent a very spicy explosion in the fridge. By the next day they had slowed down to nearly no gas and are now in the best spot to sit and wait to be enjoyed.

Of course as thanks for the peppers I made sure a bottle of each level was given to my sister and her boyfriend to enjoy. A bottle of each went to my dad and the little bit that didn’t fit into a full bottle were kept in some upcycled jars to give to my best friend who just moved into Saint Louis. Nice little welcome gift for her.

I have heard back from everyone and they do enjoy all the various levels. The extra hot isn’t unbearable and has been enjoyed often. I don’t know how they do that but whatever floats their boats. I’ll keep my taste buds intact to keep making some other delicious foods. Overall though, this was a really fun and quick ferment. Less than a week and it was done and in the fridge. I may have to make some next year but we’ll see how many peppers I get next time around first…



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