Tasty fermented hot sauces

We make 3 kinds of super tasty fermented hot sauces made from locally grown peppers and other ingredients. Each sauce has a unique flavour profile to satisfy any palette from hot and spicy to mild and savoury. Simply put, fermented tastes better!

Most hot sauces are blended and cooked concoctions of chilies and vinegar flavored with sweet and savory additions. They’re quicker to make and can be very nice. Non-fermented sauces tend to be spicier with a raw flavour. The sauces that blow your head off with fire are typically unfermented.

Why fermented?

The fermentation process relies on natural bacteria, the same lacto-bacillus microbes that help make sauerkraut, kosher dill pickles and yoghurt. These bacteria convert the natural sugars found in the peppers into lactic acid which preserves the fermented sauce. They thrive in a brine solution that kills off most of the nasty bugs. Just like vinegar in a non-fermented sauce, the lactic acid also kills harmful bacteria and gives a long shelf-life.

Fermentation takes the edge off the pepper heat, producing a more mellow and satisfying taste. As I’ve said before, my goal isn’t too burn your taste buds, but to deliver heat with the best flavour. Aside from the mellower heat, fermentation results in a more complex, balanced (and delicious) flavour.

Another fermentation benefit is the retention of more nutrients in the end product. Unlike cooked sauces, ferments are pasteurized which means they’re not boiled, but heated to a specific temperature for at least 20 minutes. Because the chilies are partially digested by the bacteria, there’s no need to cook the sauce to soften them. This preserves nutrients that are destroyed by higher heat. Many people claim fermented foods are better for gut health due to the probiotics naturally created by the process.

Three hot sauces you’ll love!

Now that you’ve got a little background, here’s a pitch for my 3 fermented hot sauces. Each one is made in small batches from the best local ingredients.

Fresh habanero peppers
Beautiful fresh habaneros for Hellfire sauce

My Hellfire Habanero is made from fresh Huron County grown habs along with a few jalapeños or serranos. Fermented for at least 2 or 3 months, the sauce is perfect for anything where you want a blast of heat and the unique habanero taste. Habanero sauce and it’s cousin scotch bonnet are popular for Caribbean cuisine like jerk or oxtail. I like to use it for chicken wings – combine a few tablespoons with maple syrup in a large bowl. Toss the piping hot wings right off the grill to coat evenly. Of course, you can always add a dash of Hellfire to your Caesars too. The heat level is pretty close to Tabasco sauce.

Muskoka cranberry farm
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh in Bala, Ontario

I call my Cranny Pepper sauce, the “All-Canadian” hot sauce. It’s a savoury ferment of Muskoka cranberries, spices, maple syrup and a blend of sweet and hot peppers. It has a mild heat with bit of sweetness. It’s awesome on chicken or turkey, but that’s not all. Try it on vanilla ice cream, or make a salad dressing by mixing it 50-50 with your favourite vegetable oil. This is the sauce for those who like a mild heat that’s super tasty.

Red jalapeno and chipotle
Fresh ripe jalapeño transformed into a chipotle, providing the punch for Chipotle Madness

Third in the lineup is my Chipotle Madness sauce. Made from my own chipotles blended with fresh onions and garlic, this sauce delivers heat just shy of the Hellfire and a delicious rich smoky taste. Use it on anything grilled. Blend with mayo for a fantastic taco sauce. It works beautifully added to braised beef or pork dishes as well. I make the chipotles by slow smoking the ripe jalapeños over maple, plum and applewood, then drying them until they have the texture of raisins. They pack a real punch of fire.

A couple more things . .

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Chipotle Steak spice

With it’s deep smoke, heat and sweet, chipotle is a natural ingredient to make a great steak spice. In this post, I’ll give you inspiration for making your own steak spice blend using Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle along with our Sweet Smoked Paprika and other herbs and spices.

Don’t be afraid to tinker with the quantities and build your own custom blend. I like the texture of the dried minced onion and garlic but you can use powder if that’s what you have on hand. If you’re not a cumin lover, cracked black pepper is also terrific.

Season the meat an hour or so before you start cooking. This allows it to come up to room temperature and also lets the salt work it’s magic. I like to add some extra salt – the recipe is low salt by design. Put a generous coating of seasoning on both sides and the edges too. Use your fingers to press the seasoning into the steak.

filet with mushroom-pepper sautee and baked potato
Filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms and peppers with a baked potato

Whether you’re cooking on a BBQ grill or on the stovetop, be sure to start out with high heat to get a nice sear on both sides for about 2 minutes each. Finish it off at a lower temperature, either on a cooler part of the grill or in a pre-heated oven until the steak reaches your desired level of doneness. A cast iron pan works great by the way.

Finally, take it off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before tucking in. It will cook a bit more while resting, so take it off the heat a few minutes before it’s completely cooked to your liking.

Chipotle Steak Spice

Chipotle and smoked paprika combine with herbs, salt and spices to make a delicious steak seasoning
Keyword Hot Smokey Chipotle powder, steak spice, sweet smoked paprika
Prep Time 5 minutes


  • 1 tbsp Hot Smokey Chipotle
  • 1 tbsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt substitute any coarse grained salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried minced onion onion flakes or powder are great too
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated dried garlic use garlic powder instead if you like


  • Blend all the ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  • Store in an air-tight jar or spice bottle. This recipe makes about a 1/4 cup.


Treat the recipe as a guideline. This makes a mildly spicy seasoning. Adjust the heat by adding more or less chipotle powder.
The salt in this recipe is intended to be low so you’re in control. Add a little extra when you season the meat if you like.
If you’re not a fan of cumin, sub in cracked black pepper instead. 
You can also include dried herbs like Mexican oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary or whatever you like.
Season your steaks an hour or so before cooking, and allow them come up to room temperature. 
While it’s tempting to start eating them right away, let them rest for 5 minutes or so after taking them off the heat.

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Hellfire Habanero is back!

My new batch of Hellfire Habanero hot sauce is in the bottle and it’s as fiery and funky as ever. Made from 100% Ontario habaneros and serrano type chilies, you can use this sauce on just about anything. A little bit goes a long way!

Hellfire hot sauce photo
Hellfire Habanero sauce adds fire to any dish

This sauce is naturally fermented in small batches with just 3 ingredients – hot chilies, water and salt. Think of it as hot sauce peeled back to it’s essence. The lacto-fermentation produces it’s own natural vinegar that lends a tangy acidity to complement your savoury dishes. Unlike sauce that is highly processed or cooked at high temperatures with added vinegar, fermentation helps retain nutrients like vitamin C.

For the best “suicide” wings, put a couple of tablespoons of Hellfire Habanero in a bowl and toss your hot grilled (or baked) wings to coat evenly. To lower the fire, simply combine some Hellfire with your favourite BBQ sauce.

To guarantee quality, every batch is bottled in a licensed commercial kitchen and safety tested by a leading government-certified laboratory.

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New Products from Bluewater Pepper Farm

As promised in my previous post, I’m thrilled to announce my new Sweet Smoked Paprika and Cranny Pepper Sauce products are now for sale! If you are a little shy of the heat, these are for you.

I make the smoked paprika from super sweet shepherd peppers using apple and maple smoke. I think you’ll love the result, a deep smoke flavour that will add savoury sweet and a nice dash of colour to whatever you’re making. Since there’s no heat, add as much as you like without fear! Pair this paprika with my Hot Smokey Chipotle, and you can dial up the heat as much as you want. Like all my spices, it come in an eco-friendly, resealable packet.

Sweet Smoked Paprika

Bluewater Pepper Farm Sweet Smoked Paprika adds smoke, sweet and colour to any dish

I call my Cranny Pepper Sauce the “All Canadian” hot sauce. Made with fresh cranberries, sweet and hot peppers, spices and maple syrup, it has a nice balance of savoury, sweet and acid with a shot of heat at the end. Like my Hellfire Habanero sauce, this one is fermented in small batches to develop flavour and natural vinegar. My tasters raved about it, and I hope you’ll love it too.

Cranny Pepper Sauce

You’ll find lots of ways to use our Cranny Pepper Sauce with it’s balance of mild heat, sweet, acid and spices.

On top of my new products, there’s fresh stock of Mexican chilies, oregano, Jerk Chipotle Seasoning, and more. Watch for a new batch of Hellfire Habanero soon. In the meantime, there’s a few bottles left for sale online and at Out of the Blue Fish and Seafood Market in Bayfield and Bad Apple Brewing Company just north of St. Joseph.

Bluewater Pepper Farm Products

Visit the store and check out the selection of spices and hard-to-find Mexican ingredients

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Autumn update from Bluewater Pepper Farm

With Fall comes harvest season and so I’ve been busy processing the beautiful peppers grown by Masse’s Fruit and Vegetable farm in nearby St. Joseph.  Between smoking and drying batches of jalapeños and shepherds and starting the mash for fermented pepper sauce, it’s been a busy time.

I’d like to thank everyone who’s purchased my products for the first time as well as many who have come back for second and third orders. In a few posts this summer, I told you about 3 stores in Bluewater where you can buy my products. I’m pleased to say it’s been an encouraging success. Between retail sales on online sales, Hellfire Habanero sauce and Jerk Chipotle Seasoning are currently sold out (though more is on the way). There’s still plenty of Hot Smokey Chipotle, Chili Powder and Whole Leaf Oregano, plus a few whole Ancho and Guajillo chilies.

In addition to the fantastic jalapeños This year’s pepper crop includes sweet shepherd peppers (upper right in the photo). Watch for a couple of new products in the coming weeks that will show off the natural sweetness and delicious flavour of these field-grown shepherds.

I spent 2 solid weeks in October smoking this year’s peppers. Aided by some glorious fall weather I was able to process few hundred pounds! Oh, and there’s another batch of my Hellfire Habanero hot sauce fermenting away. Watch for it in the next couple of months – I don’t want to rush the fermentation.

All Canadian Sauce!

After a lot of trial and error, I created a new sauce recipe that will nicely complement the Hellfire. It’s a savoury ferment of sweet and hot peppers, cranberries and spices. The acidity of the cranberries and fermentation is balanced with maple syrup – I think of it as the All-Canadian sauce. The heat will be mild, so if you can’t handle the hot stuff, this one’s for you. Watch for it to be available some time in November in time for the holidays.

Picking up fresh cranberries was a great excuse for a road trip to Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery. It turned out to be a perfect Fall day for taking a hike through their sugar bush and exploring the cranberry bog where they’re grown.

Muskoka cranberry farm
Clockwise from top: The cranberry “plunge”; The “test kitchen”; Path through the Muskoka woods in full Fall glory

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Shop local food this Summer

Masse Fruit and Vegetable Farm is now open for the summer season! Now more than ever, it’s important to shop local food. Not only is it fresh, healthy and tasty, but you help support your local economy.

Right now at Masse’s you’ll find beautiful strawberries and other ultra-fresh produce grown in fields surrounding the store. Buy local meat, baked goods and more. Located in South Huron, they’re just off Hwy 21 at St Joseph on the Zurich Hensall Road. They’re all set with appropriate public health measures in place too. Check out their Facebook page for regular updates.

Masse’s also grows the awesome ripe jalapeños I use to make Hot Smokey Chipotle. You can buy all my Bluewater Pepper Farm spices at the Masse store. Look for my new fiery hot sauce coming soon – made from habaneros grown on the farm.

New! Chipotle Chili powder

I’ve been experimenting with Chipotle Chili powder blends for many years. Now you can buy some for yourself from our store. Use it to make chili con carne, season taco fillings, create a taco sauce, grill meats and much more.

Our Chipotle Chili powder is blended from the finest ingredients, including our own Hot Smokey Chipotle we make ourselves from Ontario jalapenos. We marry that with imported ancho, guajillo and cascabel chilies and top quality Mexican oregano, cumin and garlic. Each batch is processed and blended by hand, then sealed in a convenient 30g zip-lock packet to preserve freshness.

In Mexican cuisine, a myriad of different types of chilies are used to make all types of regional dishes. Ripened chilies are dried and often smoked, developing complex flavours you won’t find anywhere else. Furthermore, every type of chili has a distinct flavour and heat profile, some mild and others fiery hot. To use them they are typically toasted a bit, then ground into spice powder or re-hydrated to make adobos. marinades and dressings.

Unfortunately, it’s rare to find quality chilies in Canadian supermarkets, but a high quality chili powder is the next best thing. Few of us have the time or ingredients to start from scratch anyhow. When cooking with Chili powder, you’ll extract maximum flavour by heating it in a little oil or on browning meat before adding any liquid ingredients. Make the aroma bloom!

Chipotle chili powder closeup
Bluewater Pepper Farm Chipotle chili powder

Our Chipotle Chili powder produces mild heat, but you can kick it up with more chipotle, hot sauce, cayenne, etc. There’s no salt added, so you control the seasoning.

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New spices for your quarantine cooking

Time to shake up your spice drawer!

With so many of us in lock-down and cooking more at home, it’s a perfect time to try some new spices.  Whether you’re bored and looking for inspiration or an expert looking to expand your repertoire, I think you’ll love these Bluewater Pepper Farm spices.

Order some Hot Smokey Chipotle, a versatile Mexican inspired spice made from Ontario-grown jalapenos, smoked over apple wood chips. Use it in combination with your usual spices to add a kick of heat and smokey sweetness.

Try my Jerk Chipotle Seasoning, a balanced blend of tropical spices, and Bluewater Pepper Farm signature chipotle. Make a classic jerk marinade or use it as a rub for grilled meat and fish.

To help you get started, here’s a collection of recipe ideas. Of course you’ll find tons more great recipes online. Above all, experiment and add a little fun to your food while we’re all in quarantine.

Oh, and watch for some new spice products launching over the next couple of months. Sign up for my mailing list to get recipes and be the first to hear about the new products.


Jerk Chipotle Seasoning

Real Jerk seasoning – buy it here!

You can now get my Jerk Chipotle seasoning from the Pepper Farm shop! If you crave the taste of authentic Jamaican jerk chicken, then you’ll love this spice blend. I make it by hand from the finest spices and herbs, including fresh ground Jamaican nutmeg, pimento, and cinnamon. A healthy shot of my Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle, delivers the flavour usually associated with the long, slow bbq that makes genuine jerk. Follow my recipe to make jerk marinade for chicken or pork.

Hey, don’t stop there, this spice blend makes an exotic rub to enhance a range of meat and vegetarian dishes. Try using it in vegan burgers, meat rubs, spreads and casseroles. This blend has a mild to medium heat level, with the chipotle lending some fire.

I’ve tried jerk spice blends you can buy at the supermarket, but I’ve found they tend to fall short on flavour (some bordering on insipid). That’s likely because the first ingredient is salt, and the other ingredients are sourced with low cost in mind rather than quality. This product contains NO salt. You’re in control of the sodium and you only pay for top quality spice!

I’ve been testing various formulations of jerk seasoning for a few years now and I’m confident people will love this blend. I grind the whole spices as needed during processing so you aren’t buying stale stuff! Sealed in a convenient zip-lock package, you’re guaranteed maximum freshness.

Bluewater Pepper Farm is open for business!

Buy spices from Bluewater Pepper Farm’s online shop

I’m excited to announce the opening of my online shop! Buy my Hot Smokey Chipotle and (new!) Jerk Chipotle right here. Just click “Shop” from the main menu.

Payments are securely processed via PayPal. You can choose to pay from your PayPal account or, just use your credit card with no need for an account. No payment details are shared with this website.

Your purchase will be shipped to you via Canada Post. For now, I can only send to customers within Canada, but I’m working on expanding coverage to the US and other countries. With the eco-friendly packaging, I’m able to reduce plastic significantly plus ship to you by regular letter post. This provides reliable shipping at low cost with delivery typically 1 to 3 days. The trade off is you will not be able to track your purchase.