Last Updated: November 28, 2023

The 2023 Hot Sauce (Batch 23) Begins

By Published On: October 24th, 20231.7 min readCategories: Projects

Last Updated: November 28, 2023

It’s a late start to the 23rd annual edition of our slow fermented hot sauce

A 1 gallon jar full of cayenne peppers in brine

Batch 23 off to a late start this year

Author’s Note: Every year since 2001, I’ve made a slow fermented hot sauce from a unique Cayenne hot pepper we’ve grown here since the early 1990’s. 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. I write these notes to track the progress and hope I learn how to produce more good than bad.

I recently mentioned that this past summer was unusually cool and wet.

By August, it’s usually pretty warm here in the San Diego foothills. Most days will be in the upper 80’s, many in the 90s, and enough in the triple digits that we’re not surprised when it happens.

This year we had plenty of summer days in the 80’s, but only five that reached into the 90’s (three of those in September), and no days even close to 100.

But we did get rain. More than six inches in a season where the rainfall is usually zero.

All of this combined to create an unusually late season for our crop of “Hidden Lake Hot” cayenne peppers. In 2022 we picked and started fermenting our first batch of peppers on August 8.

This year we didn’t start picking until October 15. But it wasn’t until yesterday, October 23, we had enough to start fermenting them in the 1 gallon fermenting jar.

Fortunately, the fermentation is a long process, and the pepper plants are still flowering, so we’re likely to be harvesting for several more weeks. Still, cutting 25% of the time off the total ferment and resting process is likely to make this year’s hot sauce, Batch 23, very different from previous years.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.

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About the Author

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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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  1. […] the late start to this year’s edition of fermented hot sauce, things are doing pretty […]

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