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Recipe: Fermented Peach Hot Sauce - FarmSteady

Recipe: Fermented Peach Hot Sauce

Fermented Peach Hot Sauce is spicy with a delicate peachy sweetness. This homemade hot sauce recipe combines Fresno peppers with red onion and a handful of ripe (but not too ripe) peaches to make for a savory lacto-fermented spiciness that isn't too searing (if you want it hotter, swap in habaneros for a portion of the peppers).

Fresno peppers look like bright red jalapeños. They are the same size and shape, and they pack a similar level of heat (although we tend to find Fresnos a teensy bit hotter). And while jalapeños will also turn red (if you leave them on the plant long enough), Fresnos are their own pepper and not just jalapeños in a fire-engine red dress. Less vegetal and with a hint of sweetness, they pair fantastically with the delicate peach flavor of this hot sauce.

Why fermentation makes the best hot sauces

All good hot sauces start with fermentation. Every bottle of Tabasco you’ve casually doused your food in underwent a pretty substantial period of fermentation. It’s that secret sauce in the sauce. Fermenting your peppers creates an acidic, warm depth of flavor because the fermentation takes place over time, leaving you with a bright but deep complex flavor in your sauce. The addition of spices like garlic and ginger or fruits and vegetables, help to build the flavors even more. They add extra layers of umami and sweetness that mixes perfectly with the slightly sour ferment.

A fermented hot sauce is made through lacto-fermentation, a natural and easy method of fermentation. At its base, all you need to start the lacto-fermentation process is your chilies and a brine (saltwater). Lacto-fermentation is an easy process to follow, and if you use vibrant ingredients, you are on your way to make an amazing fermented hot sauce. We like to leave our peach hot sauce mixture for about 2–3 weeks to ferment. When finally opening the fermentation jar, your ferment should smell slightly sour with a waft of chili heat.

The ingredients and method

To make our peach hot sauce, we use Fresno peppers, peaches, red onion, and a brine. For this recipe Fresno peppers are the perfect complement to the peaches and are not too spicy. If you want to make your hot sauce even hotter, you can add a habanero or two. We use peaches that are ripe, but not overly ripe as they will provide too much sugar to the ferment. Peaches that have just reached maturity, with no green spots are perfect because they will provide a savory lacto-fermentation spiciness to the sauce. For this recipe we add only a quarter red onion, to help build layers of flavor without overpowering the peach..

Once you have all your ingredients, you can start to assemble your peach hot sauce. Begin with a layer of chopped Fresno peppers, followed by a layer of chopped peaches (we leave the skin on), followed by a layer of onion. Layer up your fermentation jar and try to end with a top layer of chili and not peaches. Dissolve two tablespoons of salt in a quart of water and fill your jar with the brine. Add your fermentation weight, airlock, and store in a cool dark place for 2–3 weeks to ferment.

Once your ferment is ready, transfer your fermented chilies, peaches, and onions to a blender. You can add one cup of brine to the ferment. You can also add a cup of white vinegar to help balance out the flavors in your fermented hot sauce. Blend it all up and transfer to bottles or jars. You can store your fermented peach hot sauce in the fridge where it will keep for months.

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