Putting up Thai chilies for the duration?
September 15, 2017 7:46 AM   Subscribe

My Thai chili pepper plants have done wonderfully, and I'm ready to harvest. I'd like to end up with a shelf-stable paste/thick sauce. Can I ferment these, and then puree and can them BWB-style?

I'd like to treat these pretty much as I do sauerkraut (salt-based fermenting for a few weeks, and then pack into tiny jars for canning). Is there any issue with this plan? I'm more concerned with taste/consistency than with losing any accrued benefits from fermentation. Recipes and best practices welcome, of course.
posted by MonkeyToes to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Food in Jars is a canning blog that I trust (in terms of safety) and she says that this is possible.

From an educated guess standpoint I don't think that canning it in a boiling water bath is likely to have a lot of effect on the taste.
posted by quaking fajita at 8:22 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

You'll want to check the pH for sure. Lots of fermented hot sauces (including, if I remember right, Tabasco) are acidified with white vinegar after fermentation to get the pH down into a safe range.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:41 AM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

(Fermentation Nerd Dogma here is that you actually need to be more careful about pH with heat-canned food than with live ferments, because part of what keeps live ferments safe is that active lactobacillus culture outcompetes pathogens, and killing the active culture removes that safeguard.

I don't know if the part about live ferments being safer is actual scientific truth or just a thing hippies tell each other. But the crucial point here, I think, is that even the hippies — who are not necessarily the most rigorous about food safety — agree that pH really matters once you start canning stuff with heat.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:04 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

nebulawindphone is right. I don't think this is a good idea. I'm a master food preserver. I'm not saying this to cause drama, but the food in jars lady had her...title? revoked for not following science based recipes quite some time ago. When I get home I can look up your options, there are fermented hot sauce recipes that you can use and I know I've seen sriracha type recipes that are safe. If you're interested, let me know. If you don't want to wait, I'd go to the usda or the National Center for Home Food Preservation and see what kind of recipes they have. Also, you can always use the fridge or freeze your bounty.
posted by Bistyfrass at 9:27 AM on September 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, Bistyfrass--I'd appreciate that. Fridge/freezer space is at a premium, which is why I'm hoping to can a sauce (closer to a thick paste than a pourable sauce, for preference). I do have Ball Complete, and am not thrilled with Hot 'n' Sweet Chili Sauce or Singapore Chili Sauce. Drying was a bust last year, sadly, so I'd like to have something I can open and use. Suggestions welcome.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:22 PM on September 15, 2017

Chili oil. Similar to this, but instead of dried chilis, chop up the bird chilis, cover in salt, let sit for a while, and then slowly heat in oil. No hard and fast proportions. We keep ours in the fridge (tropical climate here) and it's been chugging along for half a year now?
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:13 PM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I sent you a message.
posted by Bistyfrass at 4:21 PM on September 15, 2017

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