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Easy Green Fermented Hot Sauce

Introducing easy green fermented hot sauce that will add a homemade, zesty kick to your meals. Get ready to ignite your taste buds with this flavorful condiment!

A jar of fermented hot sauce.

Did you know that over 2 billion pounds of hot peppers are consumed in the United States each year? It’s no secret that Americans love their spicy food. If you’re a fan of heat and want to explore the world of homemade condiments, then I have a treat for you.

Why I Love Fermented Hot Sauce

I love using what we have to make something delicious. Here in North Idaho, we generally have many green tomatoes left on the vine when the threat of the first frost comes. Therefore, we harvest before the frost and ripen our green tomatoes inside.

But I always save some of the green tomatoes to make this fermented hot sauce recipe. Use green tomatoes to make this tasty hot sauce, as hot or mild as the peppers you choose.

This hot sauce will add a dash of flavor to tacos, burritos, scrambled eggs… anything! Choose perfect green tomatoes with no spots, mold, or bruises and don’t pick tomatoes from frost-killed vines.

Be sure to check out some of our other fermented condiments, like this fermented ketchup or this fail-proof lacto-fermented mayonnaise.

What Is Fermented Hot Sauce

Fermented hot sauce is made through a process called lacto-fermentation, where beneficial bacteria called lactobacillus convert sugars in the tomatoes and peppers into lactic acid. This natural fermentation process results in a tangy, slightly sour taste with a depth of flavor that regular hot sauce lacks.

Another key difference between fermented hot sauce and regular hot sauce is the level of heat. Fermentation can mellow out the spiciness of the peppers, resulting in a more balanced and enjoyable flavor. This makes fermented hot sauce a great option for those who enjoy a milder heat level.

Hot sauce being poured into a condiment container.

Benefits of Fermented Hot Sauce

There are several benefits to choosing fermented hot sauce over regular hot sauce. The fermentation process not only enhances the flavor but also increases the nutritional value of the peppers. During fermentation, the lactobacillus bacteria produce enzymes, vitamins, and probiotics, making fermented hot sauce a healthier choice.

Additionally, fermented hot sauce is known for its longer shelf life compared to regular hot sauce. The acidity created during fermentation acts as a natural preservative, allowing the hot sauce to be stored for a longer period without the need for refrigeration.

Fermented Hot SauceRegular Hot Sauce
Flavorful and tangy tasteStandard heat and flavor
Enhanced nutritional valueLess nutritional benefits
Milder heat levelPotentially spicier
Longer shelf lifeShorter shelf life
Two jars of green hot sauce fermenting in brine.

Tips for Perfect Fermented Hot Sauce

Creating the perfect fermented hot sauce requires attention to detail and a few essential tips. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fermenter, these guidelines will help you achieve outstanding flavor and quality:

  • Select the Right Peppers – Choose fresh, high-quality peppers for your hot sauce. Opt for a combination of hot peppers like chili pepper, jalapeno, or habanero to create a well-rounded flavor profile. The variety of peppers you use will determine the heat level and complexity of your sauce.
  • Protect Your Hands – Handle hot peppers carefully, and consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from their heat.
  • Adjust the Heat – Remove the seeds of the peppers if you prefer a milder hot sauce.
  • Understand the Fermentation Process – The fermentation process is key to developing the unique flavors of your hot sauce. Lacto fermentation is the foundation of this process. Be patient and allow the natural fermentation to take place, as this will enhance the taste and quality of your sauce.
  • Use the Right Fermentation Vessels – Choose fermentation vessels that are suitable for the job, such as Mason jars, fermentation crocks or a glass airlock crock. These vessels provide the ideal environment for the fermentation process, allowing carbon dioxide to escape while preventing oxygen from entering.
  • Use Proper Fermentation Weight – During the fermentation process, it’s crucial to keep your peppers submerged in the brine to prevent spoilage. Use fermentation weights or wooden skewers to hold the peppers down and ensure they stay fully immersed in the brine. This helps create a safe and controlled environment for fermentation.
  • Allow Sufficient Fermentation Time – Give your hot sauce ample time to ferment and develop its unique flavors. The duration of fermentation can vary depending on factors such as temperature and pepper type. Generally, a fermentation period of 4 to 6 weeks at room temperature will yield the best results.
  • Properly Store Your Fermented Hot Sauce – Once your hot sauce has reached its desired flavor profile, strain the ingredients from the brine, blend or puree with an immersion blender, then transfer it to airtight bottles or jars and store them in the refrigerator. When properly stored, fermented hot sauce can last for several months. Feel free to experiment and enjoy the tangy, spicy kick it adds to your favorite dishes!
Glass bottle of apple cider vingar.

Does Adding Vinegar to Hot Sauce Stop Fermentation?

One common question that arises when making fermented hot sauce is whether the addition of vinegar can halt the fermentation process. It’s important to clarify this misconception and understand how vinegar can affect the fermentation of your hot sauce.

When making fermented hot sauce, the primary agent for fermentation is the naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria found on the peppers. These bacteria convert the sugars in the peppers into lactic acid, giving the hot sauce its tangy flavor.

Vinegar, on the other hand, is a result of a separate fermentation process. If you add vinegar to your hot sauce during the fermentation, it can affect the overall microbial balance. Vinegar has a high acidity level which can inhibit the growth of lactic acid bacteria and slow down the fermentation process.

While the addition of vinegar can halt the fermentation to some extent, it does not completely stop it. The lactic acid bacteria may continue to ferment at a slower rate, albeit at a diminished level. This can result in a milder ferment with less tangy flavor compared to a hot sauce without vinegar added during the fermentation.

If you prefer a more pronounced tangy flavor, it’s best to avoid adding vinegar during the fermentation and let the lactic acid bacteria do their work. However, if you prefer a milder flavor profile, you can incorporate vinegar into your hot sauce recipe after the initial fermentation process is complete.

In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine Cover: Green Tomatoes

In the Homestead Kitchen

This recipe was featured in Issue No. 14 of In the Homestead Kitchen Digital Magazine and comes from our community manager, Michelle Pryse of Chocolate Box Cottage. If you are a member of the Homestead Kitchen, you know that Michele is an invaluable member of our team.

The Homestead Kitchen Membership includes your subscription to the digital magazine, but if you would just like access to the magazine, you can subscribe here. We’re going to print in 2025, and by subscribing now, you can lock in the low digital rate!

A jar of green hot sauce fermenting in brine.

Supplies Needed

Before you embark on making your own delicious fermented hot sauce, it’s important to have all the necessary supplies at hand:

  • Broiler Pan – This recipe roasts green tomatoes, giving it a flavor that sets it apart from other fermented hot sauce recipes.
  • Quart Jars & LidsAzure Standard and Lehman’s are both great sources for canning supplies. Homesteading Hack: First-time Azure Standard customers can use the promo code “HOMESTEADINGFAMILY10” to receive 10% off their first order of $50 or more!
  • Fermentation Weights – I love these fermentation weights, but you can also use two bamboo skewers to keep the ingredients submerged under your brine.
  • Waterproof Tray – A dinner plate works great. This is in case any of the brine spills over the top of the jar (which is known to happen during fermentation).
  • Tea Towel – If you don’t have a dark place to keep your jars during the fermentation process, you can cover them with a clean tea towel.
  • Blender – A high-powered blender works great if you prefer a smooth consistency for your hot sauce. Otherwise, an immersion blender works well, too.
  • BottlesFlip-top glass bottles with narrow necks are great for your finished sauce, but glass Mason jars work for storage, too.
Ingredients for fermented hot sauce on a cutting board.

Ingredients Needed

By combining the following ingredients, you can create a fermented hot sauce that will add a kick to your meals. Experiment with different pepper varieties and ratios to find the perfect blend that suits your taste buds.

  • Green Tomatoes – If you don’t have six large green tomotoes, you can use an equivalent amount of small ones.
  • Anaheim Peppers – Other peppers such as bell, poblano, or cubanelle peppers can also be used.
  • Serrano Peppers – Other peppers such as banana, cayenne, or jalapeno peppers can also be used.
  • Onion – Learn how to grow onions from seed here!
  • Head of Garlic – 5-6 teaspoons of freeze-dried garlic can also be used. Learn to grow garlic from seed here.
  • Cool Water – When making ferments, always use unchlorinated water.
  • Salt – My favorite is Redmond Real Salt (use code “HFSalt” at checkout to get 15% off your order).

How to Make Fermented Hot Sauce

  1. Preheat the broiler with a rack on the upper shelf.
  2. Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and let air dry.
  3. Wash the tomatoes and peppers.
  4. Snap the stems off the tomatoes, but do not cut them.
  5. Place tomatoes on a broiler pan and roast them, turning until black patches appear on all sides. Let the tomatoes cool.
  6. Meanwhile, stem the peppers, peel and chop the onions and garlic.
  7. Mix the salt with water (brine) and set aside to dissolve, stirring occasionally, if needed.
  8. Pack the cooled tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic in the jars, dividing evenly and leaving 1 1⁄2 – 2 inches (4-5 cm) headspace. You can rub the blackened skin off the tomatoes, if desired, or leave it on for flavor.
  9. Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1 1⁄2 – 2 inches (4-5 cm) headspace while covering the ingredients completely.
  10. Add weights or break bamboo skewers into lengths to fit crisscross inside the neck of the jar to hold down the ingredients. It’s important that the vegetables stay completely submerged in the brine or you may get mold formation. Add lids to jars.
  11. Set the jars on a waterproof tray or plate in a spot that stays between 60-75°F (16-24°C). It should not be exposed to direct sunlight, so if it is on your counter, cover it with a dish towel.
  12. Let it ferment for 4-6 weeks. Burp the jar as needed when pressure builds, but don’t open the jar unnecessarily as tomatoes and peppers are prone to mold and this will encourage mold.
  13. After fermenting, drain the brine (reserving it for later) and transfer the fermented vegetables to a blender.
  14. Puree it smooth, or leave it a bit chunky. Add as much brine as needed to reach the consistency you like. It’s your sauce; you can make it just the way you like it!
  15. Pour the finished sauce into bottles (saved from store purchases) and refrigerate for up to a year. If it develops mold, it should be discarded.

Now that you have your finished fermented hot sauce, it’s time to put it to use in your cooking. Add a few drops to marinades, dressings, or stir it into your favorite recipes to give them a spicy kick. The heat level, combined with the complex flavors, will undoubtedly elevate your culinary creations to new heights.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then, snap a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily to show us your fermented hot sauce!

Hot sauce being poured into a condiment container.

FAQ

What is fermented hot sauce?

Fermented hot sauce is a condiment made through the process of lacto fermentation, where hot peppers are submerged in a brine and left to ferment at room temperature. This fermentation process creates a tangy, zesty flavor profile.

What is the difference between fermented and regular hot sauce?

The main difference lies in the fermentation process. Fermented hot sauce undergoes a period of fermentation, which adds depth of flavor, tartness, and complexity compared to regular hot sauce that is typically made with vinegar. Fermented hot sauce also often has a smoother, more rounded heat.

How long should I ferment my hot sauce?

The duration of fermentation depends on personal taste preferences and the desired level of fermentation. Generally, fermenting hot sauce for about 4 to 6 weeks at room temperature allows the flavors to develop fully. It is important to monitor the sauce and taste it periodically to determine when it has reached the desired tanginess and flavor.

Can I use vinegar to stop the fermentation process in hot sauce?

Adding vinegar to hot sauce will not necessarily stop the fermentation process completely. However, the addition of vinegar can slow down the fermentation by lowering the pH level, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. If you prefer to halt the fermentation process, refrigerate the hot sauce after adding vinegar.

A woman holding up an airlock fermentation vessel with a wooden barrel on the counter.
Brine being poured over green hot sauce ingredients.

Green Fermented Hot Sauce

Introducing easy green fermented hot sauce that will add a homemade, zesty kick to your meals. Get ready to ignite your taste buds with this flavorful condiment!
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Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Fermentation Time: 28 days
Total Time: 28 days 20 minutes
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Broiler Pan
  • 2 Quart Jars & Lids
  • 2 Fermentation Weights or wooden skewers
  • Waterproof Tray
  • Tea Towel optional
  • Blender or Stick Blender
  • Bottles

Ingredients

  • 6 large Green tomatoes
  • 4 Anaheim peppers
  • 6 Serrano peppers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 whole Garlic the entire head
  • 4 cups Water unchlorinated
  • 3 Tablespoons Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the broiler with a rack on the upper shelf.
  • Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and let air dry.
  • Wash the tomatoes and peppers.
  • Snap the stems off the tomatoes, but do not cut them.
  • Place tomatoes on a broiler pan and roast them, turning until black patches appear on all sides. Let the tomatoes cool.
  • Meanwhile, stem the peppers, peel and chop the onions and garlic.
  • Mix the salt with water (brine) and set aside to dissolve, stirring occasionally, if needed.
  • Pack the cooled tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic in the jars, dividing evenly and leaving 1 1⁄2 – 2 inches (4-5 cm) headspace. You can rub the blackened skin off the tomatoes, if desired, or leave it on for flavor.
  • Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1 1⁄2 – 2 inches (4-5 cm) headspace while covering the ingredients completely.
  • Add weights or break bamboo skewers into lengths to fit crisscross inside the neck of the jar to hold down the ingredients. It’s important that the vegetables stay completely submerged in the brine or you may get mold formation. Add lids to jars.
  • Set the jars on a waterproof tray or plate in a spot that stays between 60-75°F (16-24°C). It should not be exposed to direct sunlight, so if it is on your counter, cover it with a dish towel.
  • Let it ferment for 4-6 weeks. Burp the jar as needed when pressure builds, but don’t open the jar unnecessarily as tomatoes and peppers are prone to mold and this will encourage mold.
  • After fermenting, drain the brine (reserving it for later) and transfer the fermented vegetables to a blender.
  • Puree it smooth, or leave it a bit chunky. Add as much brine as needed to reach the consistency you like. It’s your sauce; you can make it just the way you like it!
  • Pour the finished sauce into bottles (saved from store purchases) and refrigerate for up to a year. If it develops mold, it should be discarded.

Notes

Tips for Perfect Fermented Hot Sauce

Creating the perfect fermented hot sauce requires attention to detail and a few essential tips. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fermenter, these guidelines will help you achieve outstanding flavor and quality:
  • Select the Right Peppers – Choose fresh, high-quality peppers for your hot sauce. Opt for a combination of hot peppers like chili pepper, jalapeno, or habanero to create a well-rounded flavor profile. The variety of peppers you use will determine the heat level and complexity of your sauce.
  • Protect Your Hands – Handle hot peppers carefully, and consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from their heat.
  • Adjust the Heat – Remove the seeds of the peppers if you prefer a milder hot sauce.
  • Understand the Fermentation Process – The fermentation process is key to developing the unique flavors of your hot sauce. Lacto fermentation is the foundation of this process. Be patient and allow the natural fermentation to take place, as this will enhance the taste and quality of your sauce.
  • Use the Right Fermentation Vessels – Choose fermentation vessels that are suitable for the job, such as Mason jars, fermentation crocks or a glass airlock crock. These vessels provide the ideal environment for the fermentation process, allowing carbon dioxide to escape while preventing oxygen from entering.
  • Use Proper Fermentation Weight – During the fermentation process, it’s crucial to keep your peppers submerged in the brine to prevent spoilage. Use fermentation weights or wooden skewers to hold the peppers down and ensure they stay fully immersed in the brine. This helps create a safe and controlled environment for fermentation.
  • Allow Sufficient Fermentation Time – Give your hot sauce ample time to ferment and develop its unique flavors. The duration of fermentation can vary depending on factors such as temperature and pepper type. Generally, a fermentation period of 4 to 6 weeks at room temperature will yield the best results.
  • Properly Store Your Fermented Hot Sauce – Once your hot sauce has reached its desired flavor profile, strain the ingredients from the brine, blend or puree with an immersion blender, then transfer it to airtight bottles or jars and store them in the refrigerator. When properly stored, fermented hot sauce can last for several months. Feel free to experiment and enjoy the tangy, spicy kick it adds to your favorite dishes!
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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