I had a lot of peppers ready in the garden. A peck? Probably not but about 10 pounds or so. I had six pounds of Fresno chile peppers, and the rest were red cherry peppers, cayenne and Anaheim.
I have made hot sauce in the past. There are two basic methods, one is using vinegar up front, mashing the peppers and extracting the juice after cooking them. The other is fermenting the peppers by adding salt. I prefer the latter approach. However, I have wanted to try aging the hot sauce in a charred oak barrel and I found someone who wrote about his experience in this article.
The article described using a juice to extract the juice and I decided to try it. It worked really well. I ended up with a very red juice and a bin of pulp.
I poured the juice into the 3-gallon barrel, along with some water and salt. I should add the pulp back to the juice but it was difficult to get that pulp through a funnel into the barrel so I decided to let it ferment on its own. I’ll see if I get very much additional liquid. I will check the barrel in about a month and see how it turns out.
This year, I’m trying out fermenting peppers to make a hot sauce. Last, year, I created a vinegar-based pressed hot sauce, which I liked. Hot sauces like Tabasco are fermented.
I started with a variety of hot peppers. I cut off the stems and then mashed them in a food processor. TIP: Wear gloves while cutting peppers and keep your nose back from the food proessor when you open its container at the end – the fumes will knock you out. I added salt to the mash and put it in a container meant for fermenting sauerkraut or kimchi. The liquid from the peppers, which the salt helps to produce, rises to cover the pulp. About four to six days later, you can begin to see the fermentation get started. From what I’ve read it takes about a month to finish. Then you strain the sauce and bottle it.
It’s a wonderful red-orange color. I hope it’s really hot.