• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Bill Crim
  • Mike Jay

fermenting chilis  RSS feed

Posts: 512
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
has anybody tried to ferment chilis? I am growing a few this year.

Once I was given a jar of pickled chilis from the Phillipines. It was pickled in vinegar and maybe salt. But before they had vinegar, they probably fermented their stuff. So that got me thinking.

I found this recipe: http://nourishedkitchen.com/fermented-hot-chili-sauce-recipe/

Has anbody here experience with that?

Can chili-plants be kept as perennials indoors?

thank you and have a blessed week!
Posts: 363
Location: Derbyshire, UK
cat chicken urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've followed this similar recipe for fermented chilli hot sauce: http://www.thejoykitchen.com/recipe/fermented-louisiana-style-hot-sauce

And they were amazing! I used a mixture of lemon aji and demon chillis. I used not-quite-finished-fermenting homebrew white wine (sauvignon)- the fumes were enough to make your eyes water! And the final hot sauce came out very tasty, good depth of flavour, certainly better than my non-fermented version.

I also overwinter chillis indoors in the UK. I dig them up and put them into pots (as I grow in the ground in the greenhouse), and chop back the foliage quite a bit (else they wouldn't fit in my windows). Then they live on a windowsill all winter- they don't do well indoors but they do survive. They do better in some humidity so give them a mist everytime you walk past. Mine tend to get red mite every winter- but recover in spring when they go back out to live in the greenhouse again. I lose probably 25% of my overwintered plants every winter- so make sure you have some seeds as backup. I have no south-facing windows, so my plants suffer from lack of light in a very overshadowed east-facing window, better light would improve survival. The overwintered ones produce chillis faster (and more chillis) than the new seedlings of that year.
Posts: 247
Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A couple of years ago, chopped jalapeños and fermented them.  They were handy!  Kind of like buying a can of chilis.   I just did basic salt and water with a little bit of brine from another ferment.  I think I chopped them because I wanted to be able to just scoop out a jalapeno's worth without having to get chili on my hands every time I wanted to cook with them. 
garden master
Posts: 1972
Location: USDA Zone 8a
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking purity trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our daughter and her husband found a habanero hot sauce that they really like while visiting in New Mexico.  Since she can't find it where she lives she decided to make her own.

Here is a article about making fermented hot sauce:


Here are some key points from the article:

A wide-mouthed one-gallon jar would work as well, although you’ll have to find weights that fit inside the mouth of the jar to keep the peppers submerged in the brine, as well as some sort of cover that you can burp occasionally

Fill a pitcher with spring, well, or filtered water. Be sure not to use treated water (the chlorine is harmful to the fermentation).

Use your crock’s weights to evenly press down the (almost) submerged peppers. After 24 hours, the peppers should be entirely submerged in brine. The salt and pressure from the weights breaks down their structure a little bit, and they kick out whatever water they were retaining, which adds to the quantity of brine.

I let my hot sauce ferment for one month in this environment at a warm room temperature. You can get a good result in shorter time, but we want a nice, acidic hot sauce, and the longer it ferments, the more sour it becomes. Check it weekly, skimming any white molds that grow on the surface of the brine with a ladle.

When it’s done, tie a bandana around your lower face, and wear eye protection (you don’t want this in your eyes) and pour carefully into a 5 gallon bucket. Use a Vitamix or immersion blender and thoroughly puree, then strain if you like. We reserve the dregs from straining, dehydrate, and grind them into delicious fermented chile powder.

The article also has a link to a recipe, if you need one.

Posts: 992
Location: Los Angeles, CA
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do it every year.  Easy peasy.

The ferment is similar to making sour kraut.  Ingredients: chilies, salt, a bit of water, and then vinegar to finish.

Pick your chilies and wash them.

Pulse them in small batches in a food processor.  I'll cut off the stem, but you want to chop up the seeds and all.  I do this outside, as it can get tough to breath with so much chile aroma in the air.

Once your mash is complete, mix with sea salt.  How much?  I go by intuition.  For a gallon of mash, I'll throw in about half a handful of salt.  Mix well.

Pack it into a glass jar or non-reactive crock.  I use a two-gallon pickle jar.  You want to only fill the jar 50%, leaving a lot of head space for expansion as it begins to ferment.  Sometimes if I have a lot of extra mash, rather than starting a second jar, I'll just freeze the extra mash, and then in the weeks ahead, once the fermentation starts to slow down, I'll add extra mash and get it fermenting again.  I'll set the jar on a cookie sheet (to catch any over-runs if the mash pushes up over the top of the jar) and leave it on the countertop, out of the sun.  I loosely set the lid on top, but don't seal it.  If it looks too dry, add some water --- not chlorinated.

Within a couple of days, you'll see it burping and bubbling.  It'll push up into the jar, upwards toward the rim of the jar.  I like the smell of fermenting chilies—you may or many not.  I will use some of the fermenting mash as I cook.  If it looks like white mold is forming on the top of the mash, you can add a bit more salt water to cover.  I will occasionally give it a stir, at least for the first 3 weeks or so.

Then you leave it.  I'll let it go like that for 2 - 3 months.  You'll see the mash start to stratify, with chunkier stuff on the top, and the purer hot sauce on the bottom.  Eventually, you'll get about one third liquid on the bottom, and two-thirds mash on top.  If you want to ferment whole chilies (the way that some people ferment a whole cabbage head when they make kraut), you can wash additional chilis, and submerge them in the bottom of the jar, and then pack the fermented mash back on top of them.  It will significantly alter the texture of the chilies if you leave them that way for any length of time.  This is fermentation, not pickling.  So if you want to ferment a few chilies this way, pay attention and take them out before they start to break down on a cellular level.

Purchase hot sauce bottles on Amazon.  You can go glass or plastic.  I save $ and go with the larger plastic bottles that hold more.  Sterilize them by boiling them in a hot water bath.  Sterilize the lids as well as the funnel you'll use and the ladle you'll use to fill the bottles.

Strain the hot sauce by running through a sieve.  I'll run the liquid through a series of three different strainers, each one progressively finer.  Chili seeds do not break down.  Even Tabasco, which ferments their chilies for 2 full years in wooden barrels, finds that the seeds come through the fermentation process whole.  The heat comes through and infuses the liquid and the flesh of the chili will disintegrate.  But the seeds are tough and don't disappear.  I'll take the mash and run it through the food processor again with another cup of water, and then strain the additional good stuff that comes off of it.

You can keep the mash and use it to cook with --- beautiful stuff.  I've actually canned small jars of that stuff and given it away.  I'll run it through the food pro with a bunch of garlic and it makes a lovely chili paste.  It's fantastic with eggs, stir fry, seasoning soups, etc.  Hot, garlicy, fermenty, yummy.

Pour the hot sauce into a sauce pan and heat it to a boil.  I do this—some people don't.  I want to stop the fermentation and kill the bacteria at this point.  It helps with preservation.  If you want to keep the still active culture alive, more power to you.  After boiling for about 10 minutes, I'll add vinegar—I go with plain white vinegar, about a 50/50 ratio.  Taste.  If it needs additional salt, add it now.  Non-iodized salt: I use sea salt.  Once it's boiled a few more minutes, it's ready to can.

Bottle.  Store.  Use.

I don't bother to put the canned bottles into a hot bath (as I do for most other stuff that I can).  If you want to be absolutely sure that all bacteria has died, go ahead and do so.  For the canned chili paste in jars, I'll boil them back in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Because I add so much fresh garlic at the end, I like to give it that additional cook in the water bath.

I've found that my favorite is Serrano chilis.  I may throw in whatever other chilis we have growing in the garden, but I like the flavor of Serranos and it's the right amount of heat for me.

I've experimented with the fermentation by adding chunks of apples and persimmons (I make my hot sauce in the fall).  I really didn't notice that big of a difference in taste.  I suppose it's a way of stretching the chilies a bit farther, but we always have plenty of hot sauce.  Garlic can be added to the ferment or added separately after the ferment.  You'll get a much stronger garlic taste if it's not fermented.  Your call --- go ahead and experiment. 

Commercially made hot sauce  (like Cholula or Tapatio) has additional thickeners.  My sauce obviously doesn't, so it's more watery.  I've got no advise if you are looking for that kind of consistency.  As it sits in the bottle, you'll see it separate, chilies to the bottom, vinegar to the top.  Give the bottle a quick shake before using. 

I've kept a quart jar of the fermented chili mash in my fridge for up to a year.  It just seems to get better and better with time.  If I get a bit of white mold on top, I'll scoop that off the top, and just add a bit of additional salt water to cover the top of the mash.

Best of luck.
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I recently fermented some ghost peppers with pinapple, onion  and green pepper. My problem is this is my first time fermenting and I used the brine and weight but used a mason jar without an airlock. I had the lid on tight and fermented for about 4 weeks and when I opened the jar there was a lot of CO2 released. It looks fine and doesn't smell bad, is this ok to use?
Appreciate the insights...
It would give a normal human mental abilities to rival mine. To think it is just a tiny ad:
One million tiny ads for $25
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!