Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce
This pineapple habanero hot sauce is a fun change from typical hot sauce. This is a fermented hot sauce. It's a bit magical, in my opinion. You put some peppers, onion, pineapple, salt and water in a jar and 5-10 days later it's tart and flavorful. You'll want to put this on everything. This recipes makes enough to share and these bottles are the perfect shape and size for delicious and unique gift giving. You can make it as hot or mild as you like. Make sure to wear gloves when preparing this... did I mention to wear gloves?! The oil from the hot peppers can burn your skin and if not, it'll burn your eyes when you rub them and believe me, you touch your eyes more than you think. I've had a few people in classes think it wasn't necessary and they regretted it!
4 garlic cloves
1 lb peppers: mixture of orange bell peppers and habaneros, cut into 1 inch chunks *see notes
1/2 onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 lb. pineapple, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks, about 1/2 pineapple
3 cups non-chlorinated water
1 1/2 Tbsp. non-iodized sea salt
2 wide mouth, glass quart jars
1 tsp. lime zest
2 Tbsp. lime juice
6 Tbsp. honey
2 wide mouth, glass quart jars
1. Divide ingredients between two quart jars, starting with the garlic cloves.
2. Wearing gloves, remove the stem and de-seed the peppers.
3. Cut the peppers into 1 inch chunks and pack down tightly into the jars.
4. Cut onion into 1 inch chunks and pack down tightly into the jars.
5. Cut pineapple into 1 inch chunks and pack down into the jars.
6. Mix the water and salt together. Cover jar contents with the brine, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace. Press down on the jar contents, to release any trapped air bubbles. Add more brine, if necessary.
7. Place a lid on the jar and turn back just slightly, so developing pressure can escape. Place the jar on the counter, at room temperature, with a plate under the jar to catch any bubbling over that may occur.
8. One to two times a day, tighten the lid and turn jar upside down,. The salty brine keeps nasty bacteria from developing. Everything under the brine is protected from bacteria, but food exposed to the air is more susceptible Coating the surface ingredients with the salty brine discourages surface mold growth, even though surface ingredients will float up again. Afterward, turn back the lid just slightly to let the developing pressure escape.
9. Ferment at room temperature for a minimum of about 5-7 days in the summer and about 10 -14 days in the winter. Fermenting is a bit faster in the summer than in the winter. Thinner slices also ferment a little faster. The brine should turn from a clear to cloudy liquid. It should also taste tart, rather than just salty. Cloudy brine and tartness are your cues that the good bacteria has taken over and done its job. I also usually wait until the ferment is not quite as active; less bubbling action.
10. Drain and reserve the liquid. In a blender, blend drained contents of the jar, 1 cup of the fermenting brine, lime juice, lime zest and honey until very smooth.
11. Strain the hot sauce through a fine mesh colander into a container, for a smoother, thinner sauce. When just the pulp remains, press the pulp against the sides of the mesh colander and scrape the puree off the bottom of the colander into the hot sauce. Repeat until the pulp is very dry and no puree comes out on the bottom side of the mesh colander.
12. Store hot sauce in the fridge for up to a year. The hot sauce is acidic and tends to rust metal lids. For that reason, I recommend a plastic lid for long term storage.
You can play around with the pepper ratios. Just keep the weight to 1 lb. total weight after cutting the stem out and de-seeding the peppers. I usually do about 6 habaneros and 3-4 orange bell peppers, but I'm a wimp when it comes to heat. If you like heat, you could use 1 orange bell pepper and the remaining amount habaneros. The fermenting process does take some of the heat out of hot peppers.
Before you buy the peppers, weigh them and get a few ounces more to account for removing the stems and seeds.
Check out a Scoville scale for heat levels.
I've fermented this for much longer, but I don't think it's necessary. You'll get good complexity and probiotic quality with the time listed above. You'll notice that the recipe does not call for vinegar like non-fermented versions do. That's because the fermenting process produces the acidity; it's a bit magical, really. The added lime juice is for flavor and is optional.
Some people use fancy fermenting jars; I've tried them, but I've found that shaking the jar 1-2 times a day is sufficient to keep bad bacteria in check. Keep things simple. It's been done for thousands of years, you don't need any fancy equipment.
I've left the jar in the fridge for several months after fermenting, before getting around to blending it. This is a low stress kind of a recipe. You get to it, when you get to it!
Don't throw out any unused fermented brine. It's great to drink if you feel a cold coming on, or have been exposed to someone who's sick. The garlic, onion, and capsaicin in the probiotic brine packs an immune boosting punch! You can also add it to soups and sauces for extra flavor. Store it in the fridge for up to a year.