Making your own lacto-fermented chili sauce might seem difficult, but it really isn’t! You just need to follow the recipe carefully and use some common sense.
Also, if you grow your own veggies and had a good harvest: this is a great recipe for using up a glut of peppers!
Before the invention of refrigeration, fermenting was one of the few ways people had to preserve vegetables through the winter months. But how exactly does it work?
Lactic acid bacteria naturally occur on vegetables. By adding salt at the beginning of the fermentation process, you create the perfect environment for them. It gives them the chance to multiply faster than any other (possibly harmful) bacteria that might be there too. As they feed on the sugars in the chilies, they start to lower the pH.
In the end, they make the mixture so acidic, harmful bacteria simply can’t survive anymore. Once the pH goes below 4.5, even the clostridium botulinum bacteria can’t grow there anymore. This is important because this is one of the few bacteria you need to be truly careful about. It produces the most potent toxin known to humankind.
While you don’t need a lot of fancy stuff for fermenting, a couple of things will make your life easier. The first is a closed fermentation jar with an airlock. If you use a jar with a normal lid, you may build up too much pressure. This will either pop the lid or burst the jar. You can buy fermentation jars online or you can make your own.
The second is a pH meter. With this you can accurately check the acidity, which makes your sauce that much safer. They are not super expensive and a good investment if you plan on fermenting more often in the future.
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