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Recipe: Fermented Cantaloupe Hot Sauce - FarmSteady

Recipe: Fermented Cantaloupe Hot Sauce

This fermented cantaloupe hot sauce recipe yields a finished product with such a unique blend of sweetness, heat and tang—you'll want to put it on absolutely everything. 

Contrasting the cooling flavor of a melon like cantaloupe with a really hot pepper is one of our favorite ways to make hot sauce. We use habaneros in this recipe, but if you want to turn down the heat, you can easily swap Fresno peppers for some or all of the habaneros. 

Fermentation (lacto-fermentation, specifically) is the secret ingredient that makes for a really excellent hot sauce with tons of complexity and depth of flavor. This method of natural fermentation adds plenty of probiotic gut-friendly bacteria and layers of umami flavor to the finished hot sauce.

The best part is that this fermented hot sauce is so easy to make (and our Fermented Hot Sauce Kit makes it even easier). All you need are quality ingredients and time. 

How to make fermented cantaloupe hot sauce

For this fermented cantaloupe hot sauce recipe, you'll need to gather these simple ingredients: half a cantaloupe, a large yellow onion, an orange (or red) bell pepper, a whole bunch of habanero peppers, Kosher salt, vinegar and water. 

Start by prepping your ingredients. Roughly chop the half cantaloupe into cubes and place in a large bowl. Dice your onion, set aside, and roughly chop the bell pepper. To prepare your habaneros for fermentation, cut off the stems and slice each pepper lengthwise. We usually scoop out some of the ribbing and seeds, but you could certainly leave them in for more heat.  

Now is a good time to make your brine. Add 2.5 tablespoons of Kosher salt to 1 quart of water (that's 4 cups) and whisk to dissolve completely. Set that aside. 

Grab your fermentation jar and begin packing it with the habaneros, cantaloupe, bell pepper and onion. You'll want to layer these in so that everything is mixed together. Keep layering until the fermentation jar is full. 

Top with your fermentation weight to keep it all in place. Pour the brine over everything, ensuring that all the vegetables are fully submerged. Then cover with your lid and airlock. Store at room temperature and out of direct sunlight to ferment. 

In 2-3 weeks, your hot sauce will be ready to blend and bottle. After removing the fermentation weight, you'll want to scoop out all of the ingredients (we recommend doing this with a slotted spoon) and transfer them directly to a blender. We don't need all of the brine for this step, so it's easiest to strain and separate out the solids as you go.

Once that's done, measure out 1 cup of your fermented brine and add it to the blender. Then add 1 cup of white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar works just as well, but we like the sharp acidity that comes from white vinegar. Now you're ready to blend until smooth and transfer your delicious homemade hot sauce into bottles. 

We love the gorgeous bright orange color of this hot sauce and how fruity and flavorful it is. Definitely give this one a try! 

New to fermented hot sauce?

Check out our Fermented Hot Sauce Kit for everything you need to easily get started lacto-fermenting hot sauce at home. Looking for more fruit-forward hot sauce recipes? Check out our Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce, Mango Habanero Hot Sauce, and Fermented Peach Hot Sauce recipes. 

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