Okay we have to admit, one of the ways we have a ton of fun on a Friday night is experimenting with fermented foods. It may sound lame but if you get started we promise you'll never look back! There are just so many possibilities for homemade fermented food and drinks (if you catch our drift). But today we'll get you started with lacto-fermented hot sauce. It's quick, easy, and oh so tasty. Read on!
In basic terms, fermentation is the process of exposing food to bacteria and yeast (the good kind!). The bacteria and yeast consume carbohydrates in foods creating different flavors and benefits in the final food product. The benefits of fermented foods are immense and mostly due to the presence of large amounts of probiotics ("good bacteria") that thrive in our intestinal track supporting healhty digestion and immune function. We have talked about fermented foods before in this post. The type of fermentation we experimented with this week is called lacto-fermentation because lactobacillus is the primary bacteria doing all the hard fermentation work. This type of fermentaion is nice and easy becuse you can get lactobacillus from a food that might already be sitting in your fridge. We got our lactobacillus from fresh whey. You may have noticed whey before when you let a tube of yogurt sit after scooping out a serving - the next day you come back and see a yellowish liquid that has separated from the yogurt. That's fresh whey! And it contains the lactobacillus we want for lacto-fermentation. Whey can be collected through the process we show you in this recipe (described below and pictured above) and used in many different ways. You can freeze fresh whey into ice cubes for smoothies, use it to make fresh whey cheese, lacto-fermented beverages, or just how we did to make lacto-fermented hot sauce! Now how easy is that? You're already on your way to becoming a fermentation pro. We'll get to our recipe now but it you have to know more about fermentation we love Sandor Ellix Katz's book Wild Fermentation and Cultures for Health website where we got the inspiration for this recipe and so much more!
Green Chili Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce
Recipe adapted from Cultures for Health
PREP TIME: 35 mins
TOTAL TIME: 35 mins plus 7 days of fermentation
Servings: makes ~12 ounces hot sauce
4 oz organic plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
1 cup green or red thai chili peppers, washed and stemmed
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh whey
Un-chlorinated filtered water
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
To make the fresh whey culture, place Greek yogurt in a colander lined with cheese cloth and set over a bowl (as shown in the above picture). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the whey to drain off of the yogurt. The whey is the liquid that collects in the bottom of the bowl.
Wash and de-stem peppers (leave the seeds) and pack tightly into a glass jar. Add salt, whey, and enough water to cover peppers. Lightly screw lid on and give the peppers a good shake to help dissolve salt. Place in a warm, dark spot in your kitchen and let the fermentation begin! It's important to "burp" the jar daily (quickly unscrew lid to allow air out). Let sit on the counter for 5-7 days. The liquid should take on a cloudy appearance. Feel free to taste the liquid at day 5 and keep fermenting until it's to your liking. Once fermenting is finished drain the peppers over a bowl reserving the fermentation liquid. Blend peppers in a blender or food processor until they are fully pureed, using a small amount of the fermentation liquid as needed. Once pureed, return peppers to the glass jar with 1/2 of the fermentation liquid and about 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Close with a tight lid and let sit on the counter again for another 12-24 hour ferment before placing in the fridge for storage.
*Remember to save the yogurt that you strained. It will be thicker without all that whey but still delicious. You can eat it plain, use as a dip, or spread on toast!
This hot sauce is nice and spicy (as it should be!) and has a sweet tang from the fermentation process. Overall it's a total winner and won't last long. Add this to anything and everything you love hot sauce on. And stay tuned for more home fermentation to come.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.