Fermentation

Our Pantry, Part 1

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I’ve always dreamt of having a pantry. A room full of shelves lined with colorful jars filled with all sorts of fruits, veggies, sauces, condiments and other concoctions. A room where things are aging, and fermenting, and changing, like some culinary laboratory. A room full of possibilities, a room that evokes a sense of comfort and a sense of reassurance, quietly letting you know that there will always be something to eat, drink, and enjoy; all made with your hands from product you grew! 

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So when we started looking for a homestead to buy, we knew it had to have a space for a pantry, and we have an ideal room. Its in the middle of the house, right off the kitchen, where it never gets to hot, too cold, or too sunny. We added shelves and a drying rack to the space this spring and have been working hard all spring, summer, and fall to fill those shelves with canned veggies and fruits, jams and salsas, hot sauces, tinctures, dried herbs and flowers, wine, mead, beer, kombucha, and a few more tasty and medicinal treats. We are very proud of everything me made and will be enjoying them all over the coming winter. It’s a little bittersweet to know that we will have to wait till next spring before we can get going again on canning and preserving, but by then the shelves should be pretty bare, and the cycle will start all over again.

Fermented Hot Sauce

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Peppers....I really love them. There are so many varieties of peppers out there with so many different flavors and levels of heat; some are floral and slightly hot, others have a nice green flavor with a good punch, and others will simply knock your socks off! Plus, they are all fun and easy to grow, but this post isn’t about the in’s and out’s of growing peppers, but the joy of fermenting them and turing them into one tasty hot sauce. 


This year we grew a few types of peppers; cayenne, jalapeno, padron, and habanero mainly. We got a lot of fruit form our plants and have been eating them all summer, as well as drying them in the attic and turing them into hot sauce. The other day we harvested the last of the peppers and ended up with quite a lot, so I decided to make two different versions of a fermented hot sauce. One is a roasted red pepper sauce and the other is a roasted green pepper sauce, both made with lots of garlic and fermented with just a bit of salt. My ratio of salt I use for ferments like this is 6 tablespoons of sea salt per 1/2 gallon of water. 

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I started by roasted the peppers till they were really dark, almost blackened. I did this in a 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes. After they were roasted, I let them cool and then added them to a clean 1/2 gallon mason jar along with 15 or so cloves of garlic and the brine that I had already made with sea slat and water. A light cover of cheese cloth held in place with a rubber band and onto the shelf they went.

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I let them go for two weeks, checking periodically for mold and to make sure the peppers were submerged in the brine. Once I was happy with the flavor, I pureed the peppers till smooth, put them in sanitized mason jars and processed them in a hot water bath. Now we have enough hot sauce to last till next years pepper harvest, and some to spare for friends and family.