This fermented hot sauce recipe is completely customizable - a jumping off point to create your own signature hot sauce. Lacto fermentation is an easy technique, used here to preserve the hot chiles and create a complex sauce. Fermentation manages the heat from the chiles, and makes for a rounder sauce; different from sharp vinegar based sauces. This particular sauce features chiles, orange rind, and garlic. For a great fermentation resource, check out: The Art of Fermentation.
Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce
*make sure to use protective gloves when handling the peppers
3 C de-stemmed and chopped chile peppers: fresno, scotch bonnet, serrano, habanero, scorpion (whatever mix or varieties you like)
2 large navel oranges (zest)
3 garlic cloves
1/4 C kosher salt
1/4 C sugar
Add peppers, salt, sugar, and orange zest to a mixing bowl. While wearing gloves, knead the pepper mash for about 20 minutes- until all the liquids from the chiles are released. Add garlic cloves to a quart sized canning jar. Pour mash and its liquid into the canning jar. Pack peppers into the jar tightly, so they are submerged in their own liquid. Cover the jar with a clean kitchen towel, and secure with rubberbands. Store peppers in a dark cool place. Allow peppers to ferment for 5-10 days. Fermentation will be apparent when small bubbles form in the mash, and the sauce starts to smell of vinegar. After fermentation, pour the contents of the jar into your blender. Blend sauce until smooth. Strain hot sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any large solids. Funnel sauce into hot sauce bottles or glass jar. Keep hot sauce refrigerated.