Do you grow your own hot peppers and make your own fermented hot sauce with them? Have you picked way more peppers from your garden than you know what to do with so just froze the extra for later use? Or maybe your peppers plants grow inconsistently, so you freeze the ones you have until you have enough to make hot sauce.
And now maybe you’re finally ready to use them. Can you make fermented hot sauce from frozen peppers you have stocked up?
The short answer is yes you can, but you’ll need the help of either some fresh ingredients or starter liquid from another ferment to help the good bacteria grow and speed up the fermentation process. Read on to learn more.
Can Frozen Peppers Be Fermented?
The extremely cold temperatures of your freezer will have likely killed off most of the bacteria that conduct fermentation or really slowed down their growth. Because of this, fermentation may be very slow to start or may not start at all.
But, you can add in some fresh peppers (or really another other fresh vegetable, depending on the flavor profile you want to achieve) to introduce the bacteria you need. Many people add shredded carrots or even garlic or onion.
If you have other jars fermenting (maybe other vegetables or sauerkraut), you can also use some brine from those as a “starter” (this refers to a starter culture of bacteria that you can use to kickstart the fermentation process).
Another way you can speed up fermentation is by adding whey. Whey has many strains of Lactobacillus, the “good bacteria” you need to carry out fermentation. As an added bonus, it also rounds out the flavor of your hot sauce pretty nicely.
If you want to add a bit of sweetness, raw honey can also promote the growth of the bacteria you need for fermentation.
In addition to adding something to boost fermentation, when using frozen peppers, you may want to allow it a bit more time to ferment than usual, since you’re working with less bacteria.
Can You Make Hot Sauce From Frozen Peppers?
If frozen peppers can be fermented (see the previous section), then you can definitely make hot sauce from them.
You’ll most likely get the best results by fermenting fresh peppers instead of frozen peppers. This is mostly because fresh peppers will ferment much faster, which will decrease risk of contamination.
Also, frozen peppers might change the texture, as they’re more mushy and less crunchy compared to fresh peppers. However, this is more relevant if you prefer a chunkier hot sauce with more texture. If you usually blend your hot sauce until smooth, this won’t matter so much.
All that aside, fermentation will bring back a lot of the flavor and brightness that might have been lost while the peppers were freezing. So, fermenting frozen peppers to make hot sauce can definitely be done and should give you pretty good results!
As you can see, you absolutely can make fermented hot sauce from frozen peppers.
You should definitely use the tricks I highlight above about kickstarting the fermentation process because it will be very slow otherwise.
A pro tip if you plan to freeze more peppers for fermented hot sauce in the future: vacuum sealing the peppers or storing them in a freezer bag with all air removed will help in preserving freshness!