- 3 pounds ripe red chili peppers (cayenne, Serrano, jalapeño, Fresno, or other hot chili peppers)
- 7 cups white vinegar, more if needed during fermentation process
- 6- 8 teaspoons sea salt, more if needed during fermentation process
Wash the peppers well. Cut off the stems and cut each pepper in inch-long pieces. Add vinegar and 6 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 15 minutes or so, until the peppers are soft but not completely mush. Make sure you have good ventilation during this step; do this outdoors if you can. Transfer the cooked peppers to sterilized jars. (I use canning jars run through the dishwasher, but any clean jars will do.) When the mash is cool, cover and label it, and put it in the refrigerator for several months. (There is no need to process it as you would for canning.)
Check the jars during the fermentation period and add additional vinegar if necessary to keep the mash wet. I add a teaspoon of salt to each canning jar if the mash doesn’t taste pleasantly salty.
When you are ready to bottle the sauce, combine the contents of the jars in a pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Let it cool slightly and run it through a food mill in batches to remove the seeds and skins. Taste the sauce. Add salt to taste and enough vinegar to make it pourable, if either seems necessary. Bottle the sauce, label it, and store it in the refrigerator.