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Red pepper and chilli sauce

  • A little tricky

Make this spicy red pepper and chilli sauce to add a tasty kick to your dishes.

Chilli sauce on cracker

A sprinkling of this will add some probiotic vigour to almost anything, as long as you don’t put it on steaming hot food, as heat will kill the beneficial microbes.

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Ingredients

  • red peppers 600g
  • chillies 3, (or more if you like it hot)
  • medium bulb of garlic 1, separated into cloves and peeled
  • pineapple chunks 100g
  • 2% sea salt

Method

  • Step 1

    You can choose any ratio of peppers to chillies; for a mild sauce, I’d suggest a minimum of  three regular chillies and 600g peppers. If you’re using mostly red peppers, you could grill half of them and remove their skins to intensify the flavour. As long  as some of the peppers are  fresh, they will contain enough microbes to kickstart the process. Remove the stalks, pips and pith, then weigh and blend all the fruit and vegetables.

  • Step 2

    Add 2% salt. So, if the vegetables weigh 875g, 2/100 x 875 = 17.5g salt.

  • Step 3

    Tip into a sturdy zip-lock bag or pour-and-store bag, or a glass jar using the bag-of-brine method. This ferment can get very over-excited, so a sealed glass jar could potentially present an explosive situation, and the valve of a vented jar could get blocked. If you really want to use a Kilner jar, consider replacing the metal catch with a rubber band that would give way long before a harmful pressure build-up could occur. As the sauce ferments, it separates, with a thick cloud of pepper mash rising to the top as CO2 bubbles get caught in it. Don’t worry about this, it’s normal.

  • Step 4

    Don’t open your fermentation vessel unless absolutely necessary. If air gets in, pepper ferments can be susceptible to kahm yeast, which appears as a white film on the top that looks like talcum powder. Kahm yeast can be removed, but it’s better not to let it form.

  • Step 5

    Ferment for seven days at a cool room temperature. After this time, re-blend the sauce, and transfer it to glass bottles (sterilise by heating at 160ºC for 15 mins) and leave to ripen in the fridge. The flavour will continue to improve over the coming months, or even years!

How to seal your ferment: four systems

  • Jar with a SteriKAP, which includes a plastic disc to submerge veg
  • Kilner jar with a smaller jar added to the top
  • Any old jar with a bag of brine and a rubber band
  • Vacuum-sealed bag
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