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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.
Recipe: Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce
Our Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce is full of complex, bright citrusy flavors. Loaded with 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!
FarmSteady Fermented Hot Sauce Kit
15-20 habanero peppers, seeds and ribs removed
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
2.5 tablespoons kosher salt
1 quart water
1-2 cups white vinegar, reserved
Tip: habanero peppers are super hot, we strongly recommend wearing gloves while preparing this recipe.
Prep the oranges by cutting off ends and carefully slicing away peels, reserving them. Cut oranges into wheels and remove seeds.
Pack orange slices, peppers, garlic, and onion into fermentation jar. Place orange peels (skin-side facing up) atop the other solid ingredients.
Combine salt and water, stir until salt is fully dissolved to make the brine.
Add fermentation weight and pour in brine to cover. All solid ingredients should be fully submerged. Questions about fermentation weights? Check out our Fermentation Weight Guide.
Top with lid and airlock (Need help? Check out our How to Assemble Airlock Video). Let ferment for 2-3 weeks at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
Add oranges (excluding peels), peppers, garlic, and onion to blender with 1 cup of the fermentation liquid. Blend until smooth and then add white vinegar to taste. Hot sauce will keep refrigerated for at least 2 months.