How To Make Pepper Mash

Pepper Mash

So you want to learn how to make pepper mash? Fortunately, fermenting hot pepper mash is a relatively simple process. Even Uncle Daddy can do it!

Pepper mash is made from hot peppers that have been ground, salted, and allowed to ferment with lactobacillus bacteria. Making pepper mash is similar to making sauerkraut or kimchi which is an aged hot cabbage dish very popular in Korea. It's easy to make pepper mash because the bacteria does all the hard work!

Turning peppers into pepper mash is also a preservation technigue. The capsaicin naturally present in the peppers, the added salt, and the resulting low pH (high acidity) of the finished product makes it naturally resistant to spoilage.

Although this page is for learning how to make pepper mash, please understand that this is only a description of the process. This is not a hot pepper mash recipe, formula or instruction for doing so. We accept no liability for damages for losses as a result of the use of all or part of the information given here.

How to Make Pepper Mash

Pepper Mash can be made from most common hot peppers. Use peppers like Habanero, Cayenne, Jalapeno, or other peppers with a Scoville Heat Unit Rating of 10,000 or higher. If you plan to mix pepper varieties, age them separately and then mix after the aging process.

Prepare Hot Peppers for Mashing

Peppers with soft spots, rot, or mold should be thrown away. If you are growing your own peppers in a garden and you don't have enough fresh peppers for a batch of mash you can freeze the fresh ripe peppers until you have enough.

Wash the peppers with cold water and remove the stems. Next chop or grind the peppers using a food processor or meat grinder. Process to a medium grind and not a puree. The seeds should still be mostly whole.

Adding the Salt

Salt is added by weight. Peppers with a lower Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating need more salt than those with a higher SHU rating. Hot peppers like Habaneros use a minimum of 12% salt. Milder peppers like Jalapenos use 15% salt in the mash.

Weigh your ground peppers using a good scale and then weigh out enough salt for your peppers. Stir canning salt into the ground peppers and then put them in a non-reactive container (plastic, stainless steel or glass). Results will be better if you use a container that is taller than it is wide. Canning jars are ideal for smaller batches.

Aging Pepper Mash

Put the salted mash in a tall container and pack it down. Then cover with a loose fitting lid. If using a canning jar lid, screw it on only half way. Allow the mash to sit for one hour. Stir and then pack again. Stir it again in another hour and then again after 24 hours. Pack the mash down after each stirring.

After 24 hours the salt should have drawn out enough liquid from the peppers to cover them when they are packed down. If not a small amount of water can be added to cover the peppers.

Place the mash in a cool location for fermenting. After a few days you should see bubbles forming in the mash. These bubbles are by-products of the fermentation process. If the mash gets too bubbly and rises to the top of the lid it should be packed down again. Otherwise liquid will be forced out of the lid and make a mess. Most of the fermentation happens in the first week or so with almost all fermentation complete in a month.

So now you are finished and know how to make pepper mash. Wasn't that easy?

Storing Pepper Mash

When fermentation is complete you can use it in your favorite hot sauce recipe or if you wish it can be preserved for a long period by canning as you would tomatoes.

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