Simple Jalapeno Hot Sauce

The popular condiment Tabasco Sauce is a product of fermentation and can be easily replicated at home. The basics of any fermented hot sauce are chili peppers, water, salt, and time, but with the many types of peppers, as well as additional vegetables and herbs and spices, the possibilities are endless. Pepper sauce does not have to be spicy; you can use the same processes with sweet peppers to make a mild condiment. 

By / Photography By Brian Kelley | June 01, 2017


Fill a one-quart container about 2/3 full of peppers, packed tightly. Mix salt in enough filtered water to cover the peppers in at least a half-inch of liquid. The peppers will float, so weigh them down with a tight fitting weight: a clean rock, a small plate, a bottle filled with water, or whatever you have available. The important thing is that all the peppers remain submerged in the liquid. Cover the container with a dish towel to keep out dust or insects and set the prepared ferment out of direct sunlight with a fairly constant temperature. (Vegetable ferments tend to process best in the 65-75 degree temperature range.) Fermented pepper sauces benefit from lengthy fermentation times. At a bare minimum a month of fermenting is recommended, but these sauces can be left alone for months and even up to a year. (Or longer! Tabasco Sauce is fermented for up to three years.) When the peppers have reached a desired fermentation level, put the peppers and their liquid in a food processor or blender to create a thick fermented slurry. You can keep the condiment thick or you can use a food mill or sieve to remove the pepper skin and seeds from the liquid. Depending on taste you can add ΒΌ cup white or apple cider vinegar to make the sauce more acidic. Fermented hot sauce can be kept in a bottle in the refrigerator indefinitely.
Variations: Adding garlic cloves or onion slices will produce nice flavors. For a milder sauce use mild peppers combined with carrots or celery. Black pepper, cumin, basil, or oregano are also good additions. For a fruitier condiment, add some fresh pineapple and ginger root to the ferment.   

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  • Whole or halved jalapenos with stems removed, enough to fill a one-quart container full of tightly-packed peppers
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
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