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Recipe: Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce - FarmSteady

Recipe: Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce

Our Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce is full of complex, bright citrusy flavors. Loaded with just about any citrus fruit of your choice (we love blood oranges), this hot sauce recipe is going to be one of your absolute homemade favorites. Because when it comes to hot sauce, just being hot isn’t good enough. We want flavor in our homemade fermented hot sauces—lots of it!

Lacto-fermentation adds rich complexity to any hot sauce recipe. But, in the end, it’s the ingredients you choose that guide how the flavors will develop. Fermentation tends to mellow the crisp freshness of a pepper—which isn’t always a bad thing. How the process transforms peppers is often why fermented hot sauces taste so interesting. But if you’re looking to create a super-bright, fresh hot sauce, you’ll want to consider including ingredients that brighten its flavors and lift its apparent freshness.

Citrus does this perfectly. The selection of citrus is vast, so choose a fruit you’re excited to use and that pairs well with your other ingredients. All citrus is a a little different. Oranges are sweeter than lemons. Meyer lemons are sweeter than lemons but not as sweet as oranges. Grapefruits have a super distinct flavor all to themselves. When choosing citrus, we also take its color into consideration. This recipe uses orange habanero peppers and an orange bell pepper, so we use blood orange, and it results in one of the most beautifully vibrant hot sauces we’ve made all year.

Put this hot sauce on seafood—especially fish tacos. Crab cakes, shrimp and grits, and scrambled eggs have also been improved by a healthy dose of this Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce.

Prepping your oranges

To maximize the orange flavor, we ferment these peels and all. Which means that you want to opt for organic and minimally processed fruits and give them a good rinse before starting. But you don’t just throw the oranges into the fermenter whole. Cut the ends off the orange and then carefully slice off the peels (and reserve). Then cut the orange into segments vertically into wheels (instead of slices). This makes it super easy to spot and pop out any seeds (and looks very pretty in your fermenter).

Layer the peels at the top of your fermenter to keep everything submerged under the brine while providing a massive boost of citrus flavor to your finished hot sauce. Watch the video for more tips on prepping your citrus.

New to fermentation?

Check out our very own Fermented Hot Sauce Kit for everything you need to easily get started lacto-fermenting at home. Looking for more fermented hot sauce recipes? Check out our Fermented Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce Recipe.

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Vince - December 7, 2023

I tried this last year and it was a huge hit. I’m going to try again this year and I’m thinking of adding a little ginger.

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