The Sign Your Fermented Hot Sauce Is Safe To Eat

From a dash on scrambled eggs or savory avocado toast in the morning to mixing it into your aioli to add a spicy kick to a warm panini, hot sauce is a condiment that can be used on a number of foods. Everyone has their preferred heat level, but if you can't get enough spice or you want a more flavorful sauce, personalize the elements of your hot sauce by making a batch yourself. While it might at first seem like a daunting undertaking to make your own hot sauce, it's not too difficult to make from scratch, especially if you make it utilizing one of the oldest forms of food preservation — fermentation

If you opt to ferment your own hot sauce, just remember as a beginner there's a learning curve. When it comes to any type of food preservation, it's important to know the signs of when something isn't safe to consume, as well as what signals that it's healthy and safe to eat. One of the easiest ways to tell if your fermented hot sauce isn't safe to eat is to give it a quick sniff. Fermented foods have a distinct, slightly sour smell, but if your fermented hot sauce has a bad smell akin to rotten food, it's not safe to eat and should be thrown away.

A key indication of proper fermentation

Making a fermented hot sauce is as easy as adding your favorite peppers, garlic, or onion for extra flavor and covering it all with a brine. Once you've combined all the ingredients in a jar with a loose-fitting lid, place a weight on top of the ingredients to make sure they stay beneath the brine while it ferments in a cool, dark location. It can take anywhere from five days to a few weeks to ferment, depending on your flavor preference. You'll know it's safe to consume when the brine has a cloudy appearance and there's a slight tart smell when you remove the jar's lid. These are both signals of a healthy fermentation process.

Your senses will provide cues that your fermented hot sauce isn't safe to eat. Some things to watch for include mold or fuzz growing on the peppers, if the peppers feel slimy to the touch, or if it has a rancid taste. If you experience any of these issues, it's best to toss the batch of hot sauce. However, if you've achieved healthy fermentation, all that remains for you to do is puree the contents of the jar in a blender or food processor until the hot sauce is at your desired consistency, then pour it into a clean glass bottle or another jar and use it as you would any store-bought hot sauce.