Tasty fermented hot sauces

3 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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