October and the Indian Summer
The fifth addition of fresh hot peppers
Author’s Note: Every year since 2001, I’ve made a slow fermented hot sauce from a Cayenne/Thai-cross hot pepper we grow here. The hot sauce takes around six months to finish and, like wine and other fermented foods, each vintage is a little different from the other. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad, so I write these notes to track the progress and hope I learn how to produce more good than bad.
It’s been summerlike for the first half of October, with daytime temperatures in the 80’s and overnight lows in the 60’s. After topping off the fermenting jar with a full gallon of peppers a couple of weeks ago, I had worried the heat would get the mix fermenting too fast again and I would end up with a volcanic mass of fermenting peppers on the floor (not a fun cleanup).
Fortunately, it turned out the longer nights kept the hot days from heating the concrete in the garage much above 65°, so the batch is cruising along at the perfect temperature.
The peppers flowering in October
One other side affect of this Indian summer is the Hidden Lake Hot (Cayenne/Thai cross) peppers flowered again, so I’ll have a whole new run of peppers in a few weeks and can easy double the batch size to two gallons.
I think I’ll split the currently fermenting peppers into two batches and then do succession adds of fresh peppers to both until I run out of peppers or November ends (whichever comes first).
After that I’ll add some toasted oak to both in December and let it run through the winter. I’ll be interesting to see how the two batches diverge over the course of aging.
Batch 22 Timeline