Jordan Freytag + photo

Jordan Freytag

Sep 24
4 min read
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Hot Sauce With Serrano Peppers | Fermentation Recipe

This fermented hot sauce recipe is meant to be powerful. A little smear will do for all but the most durable pallets. Add a spoonful to cooked rice or beans, spread a bit on an omelet, swirl some into sour cream or plain yogurt, or incorporate into a marinade for sautéed/grilled vegetables and meat.


A note on “clean” – In fermentation adventures, all equipment should be very clean. If you are unsure about the potentially sordid past of fermentation container, submerge it in water, bring to a boil for a few minutes, and follow with an air dry. A simple soap and hot water wash followed by air drying should be sufficient for a new jar.

Quantities of the following ingredients are quite flexible. For a hotter sauce, at least half the blend should be peppers, for a cooler sauce, increase the relative number of tomatoes and onions.



Save the fancy salts for cooking. Fermentation fairs best with boring salt—the minerals in pink or Celtic salts can leave veggies mushy or metallic. Make sure there are no anti-caking agents (if it pours when its raining, don’t use it!) or iodine. Look for refined sea salt or canning salt.

soaking seeds step



The Process

1 | Split peppers lengthwise, removing stems and most of the seeds. Gloves are recommended for this procedure. The last thing you want to do is touch your eyes after making a fermented hot sauce.

2 | Quarter the onions, half the tomatoes, peel the garlic cloves.

3 | Layer all of the above in a shallow baking pan greased with your choice of oil. Roast at 375 until all ingredients are well cooked and slightly brown around the edges (thirty to forty-five minutes). Cool completely.

4 |Transfer cooked vegetables and peppers to a mason jar(s). For each pint stir/smash in a teaspoon of refined, non-iodized sea salt.

5 |Press a Pickle Helix spring into the jar, crushing everything down. Make certain that there is at least an inch of space at the top of the jar to allow for fermentation activity. Screw on a Trellis airlock lid and leave the jar at room temperature for a few days.

6 | When bubbles are actively working their way to the surface, transfer partially fermented vegetables to a blender. Pulse, scraping down the sides at regular intervals, creating a smooth paste. Add non-chlorinated water if absolutely necessary, a spoonful at a time.

7 | Pour the fiery smoothie back into a clean mason jar (leave 2″ – 3″ of space at the top!) and add 2 more teaspoons of salt per quart of purée. Screw on a Trellis lid with an airlock.

8 | Leave at room temperature for another few days, at which point so many bubbles will form that the sauce might appear foamy (and here the importance of space at the top will become clear). Give it a stir, screw on an airtight lid, and refrigerate.


Consider the Surface:

There is always a possibility that the energetic action of bubbling fermentation will force some liquid out of the jar during the initial room temperature ferment. Putting the jar in a shallow bowl is a fine practice. We advise that you avoid leaving the jar on grandma’s heirloom hutch, just in case. Always leave some air at the top of the jar so there is room for microbial shenanigans.

Marina Jade Phillips

Fermenting Specialist, Interesting Human Being

Born in Alaska and raised in Colorado, Marina discovered the joys of fermentation in Philadelphia in 2005. She spent the last decade wrangling a homestead in Northern California, fermenting everything from tomatoes to beans. Currently, she is pedaling and eating her way thru Mexico on her first but probably not last bicycle tour, toting a violin and at least one jar of sauerkraut.


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