Last Updated: December 14, 2022

Batch 22 Hot Sauce – Entry 6

By Published On: December 7th, 20222.7 min readCategories: Garden, Projects

Last Updated: December 14, 2022

Peppers in the garden are done, so it’s time to do the last addition and split the batch

two jars of hot peppers in brine

Batch 22 after the split – Jar #2 got a head of garlic added

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.

In entry #5 on Batch 22, I noted that the hot peppers in the garden would probably peter out before the end of November, which they did.

The low sun, a couple of cold snaps, and persistent dry winds have convinced the pepper plants that it’s time to call it a season and hunker down for the winter. As a result, I picked the rest of the usable hot peppers and brought them up to make a final addition of fresh peppers to the fermenting vessels.

This final addition was more than I could fit into a single 1 gallon jar, so I decided to split the batch between two jars and make some slight tweaks to see what it does for the flavor over the course of the winter’s fermenting cycle.

red peppers in a bowl next to a large jar of red peppers

Splitting the fermenting peppers into two batches

To make sure both of the split batches were starting on equal footing, I divided the brine and currently fermenting peppers evenly between the two jars, then weighed and added equal amounts of the fresh peppers to each vessel (each ended up getting 15 ounces).

Before topping off the jars with fresh brine to submerge the peppers, I took a head of garlic, peeled it and added the peeled garlic cloves to jar number 2.

cloves of garlic on a cutting board

A bunch of garlic cloves to add to one of the split batches

After topping off the jars with brine, I inflated a balloon sterilized with vinegar inside each jar to ensure everything stayed fully submerged. Then I sent them back to their place in the garage where they’ll sit for a couple of weeks before I add the toasted oak pieces to both.

two jars of hot peppers in brine

Batch 22 after the split, ready to ferment all winter

Once the oak is in, both batches will ride out the winter in a cool, dark section of the garage. Sometime in late February I’ll decide whether to stop the fermentation and bottle, or let it another few weeks and package it in March.

Update: December 14, 2022 — I happened to be smoking a pork butt (daughter’s BBQ request) and went ahead and toasted a few pieces of oak. Added half to each of the split batches and sent them back to finish fermenting over the next couple of months in the garage.

burned pieces of wood

pieces of oak fired on the grill

Batch 22 Timeline

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About the Author

author avatar
Sage Osterfeld
I’m just a guy with nearly an acre of dirt, a nice little mid-century ranch house and a near-perfect climate. But in my mind I’m a landscaper survivalist craftsman chef naturalist with a barbeque the size of a VW and my own cable TV show. I like to write about the stuff I build, grow and see here at Sage's Acre.

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