In September we were fermenting like wild – especially hot peppers and hot sauces. In late September we shared that we were taking a few of our hot pepper concoctions, tossing an airlock on the top and letting them continuing to ferment. Two of the three jars were left as-is and we added whole garlic cloves to another (effectively making a pickle within a pickle).
It’s been a full three months since we started our experiment and I’m pleased to share that all 3 have remained shelf stable and continued to develop their flavor. I’ve tasted all three an am pleased to share that they are:
- getting better
- appear completely stable
The ‘refermenting’ with the airlock is significant because it allows a more complex flavor, offers the ability to store them on the shelf (as opposed to in the fridge) and the airlocks have prevented mold that can appear if food ferments too long.
The flavor has developed further. If you’re a fan of fermented food, you know that it has a unique taste; hot peppers become a w unique combination of savory, sour, salty and rich. I was afraid that the extra fermenting would be overwhelming. The airlock slows fermenting and the result isn’t outlandish at all. The most interesting result has been the peppers that had the garlic added to them; the time has brought the flavours together and rather than tasting like hot sauce with pickled garlic, it tastes like hot-pepper-and-garlic sauce.
The process has been simple – I have learned to check the water level in the airlocks. I’ve had to top them up two or three times because of evaporation. If you let them evaporate completely, oxygen will enter the jars and you are prone to develop mold. If that happens (it did happen to me once in one of the jars), skim the mold off and continue (this is common in ‘regular’ fermenting).
I’m really happy with the results so far and I plan to continue the experiment to see what will happen. I’m also tempted to add some further flavor to layer in other tastes (but so far, I’m resisting).
Have you ever fermented anything for a long time (with or without an airlock)? Would love to hear about your experiences if you have!