I used to be afraid of fermenting my own foods, but as with anything, practice builds confidence. I now have about a half dozen each of fresh jalapeno and hot banana pepper plants flourishing in my garden, providing lots of opportunities to make easy, probiotic-rich sliced peppers and hot sauce! A couple spoonfuls of fermented peppers or hot sauce go well with just about any meal, and have many benefits, as explained by Dr. Mercola at drmercola.com:
“Traditionally fermented foods like grass-fed cheese, kefir, miso, natto, olives, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, and yogurt are some of the oldest and healthiest foods on the planet. The term “fermented” may sound unpalatable but this ancient preparation and preservation method — which involves breaking down carbohydrates and proteins using microorganisms such as bacteria, molds, and yeast — produces delicious food.
More importantly, these “functional foods,” contain probiotics that can be beneficial to your overall health. Beneficial bacteria in fermented foods help boost your overall nutrition, support digestion, and increase B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase, and lactic acid.”
Easy Lacto-Fermented Jalapenos or Hot Pepper Sauce
Makes one 16-oz. mason jar of peppers.
Ingredients & Supplies:
- 1 ¾ cup washed and sliced jalapenos (for less heat, remove some of the seeds after slicing, or use banana peppers; don’t slice peppers too thin – just a little less than ¼” thick for jalapenos, or up to ½” for banana peppers. (Use heavy kitchen gloves when slicing jalapenos, or double up on the disposable gloves!)
- 1 large clove garlic, sliced
- 2 ½ teaspoons unrefined, coarse salt (like celtic sea salt or kosher salt)
- filtered water
- one washed and rinsed 16-oz. mason jar with lid and band
- zip-lock snack baggie
- Extra brine for snack baggie: Put 1 ¼ tsp. of coarse salt into ½ cup filtered water and stir till dissolved. Set aside. (For larger quantities of peppers, mix 2 ½ tsp. coarse salt per 1 cup of filtered water. Set aside.)
- Place garlic, jalapenos (or any other hot peppers), and salt in a 16-oz. washed and rinsed mason jar (no need to sterilize with boiling method).
- Fill with filtered water, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. Put on lid and band, and shake to dissolve salt. Open and pack down peppers under water.
- Place a small zip-lock snack baggie over the top of the peppers, and pour the extra brine into the bag, enough to fill to the top of the jar. Close the baggie, expressing the air. Close the lid, making sure the peppers and garlic are completely submerged. (The brine in the baggie is in case the bag leaks, so it won’t ruin your peppers.)
- Cover tightly with lid, then leave on the counter (away from direct sunlight) for 4 days, with a dish underneath, in case some liquid leaks. (If lid bulges too much, loosen to let it vent for a second, then tighten lid again, but it shouldn’t be necessary.)
- After 4 days, open lid over sink (because of pressure inside jar). Replace lid and place in refrigerator. (If you won’t be eating the peppers yet, keep the baggie in the top of the jar, to keep everything submerged.) Fermentation will be slowed down a lot with refrigeration, so the peppers will be good for quite a while. The hotness will mellow after sitting in the refrigerator for a while.
- Enjoy probiotic-rich fermented peppers with any meal! If you prefer, put peppers and the liquid in a blender to make a nice hot pepper sauce to go with meals.
After sliced peppers have been eaten, put probiotic-rich liquid in a squeeze bottle to pour over food as desired!