How To Keep Fermented Hot Sauce From Separating
Nobody likes to reach for their favorite bottle of fermented hot sauce to see it has separated and become rather unsightly. Of course, after shaking it up it returns to normal. But, there has to be a way to keep your hot sauce from separating in the first place.
And, in fact, there is a solution to the problem of separated fermented hot sauce. It is a binding agent called Xanthan gum, when vigorously blended into the hot sauce it will prevent the ingredients from separating and create a stable sauce.
Brightly colored and full of explosive flavor, hot sauce adds heat and richness to a variety of dishes and is beloved around the world. Traditional (and highly popular) hot sauces like Tabasco and Sriracha are made using a fermentation process.
In the late summer or early fall, just as the leaves begin to change, produce stands, and farmer’s markets are full to the brim with fresh ripe chilies just begging to be combined with salt and left to ferment in mason jars. Healthy bacteria grow and add flavor and health benefits to this spicy condiment, and the cute bottles of sauce make great gifts.
These little jars of powerful spice have sort of a cult following with anyone that enjoys international foods. It’s always been a popular recipe to make at home as well.
While it’s easy to make a fermented hot sauce; the main ingredients are chilies, salt, and plenty of time, there is a common challenge you might face when storing the yummy concoction.
What Causes Sauces To Separate?
Oil (or fat) and water don’t typically mix, and yet we use both to create many sauces. However, with fermented hot sauce, it is the chile particles and vinegar that tend to separate. To make the emulsion of these two ingredients smooth and keep it from separating, you have to add an emulsifier to the brew. There are commercial (chemical), and natural emulsifiers that can be used, and all are pretty safe and effective.
How to Keep Fermented Hot Sauce from separating: use Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide with many culinary uses, including being a common food additive. It is an active thickening agent and stabilizer to prevent sauces from separating when stored.
Xanthan can be a bit tricky to use in your home recipes; however, because a tiny bit goes a long way. You would only use around 1/8th of a teaspoon for a full blender of hot sauce that has already been fermented. Use too much, and you’ll end up with one big gloopy mess on your hands.
Uniform mixing is essential, so it’s best to use a mechanical mixer to blend when possible. If you cannot find xanthan gum, you can also use arrowroot as a thickener that won’t change the flavor of your sauce.
After the sauce has completed the fermenting stage, dissolve the xanthan gum in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the blender with the sauce. Blend for a solid minute. Let the sauce rest for one hour before bottling, to allow any trapped air in sauce (from the blending process) to escape. Bottle and store.
The sauce will keep for a year or more.
Storage Solutions For Fermented Hot Sauce
Fermented hot sauce is a living food that is rich in beneficial bacteria. That makes it last a long time when stored correctly. Learning correct storage procedures will ensure you can make large batches at a time, and they won’t go to waste.
Hot sauce will continue to ferment long after you make it. Storing it in the refrigerator will slow the process down so that your sauce will last longer. The sauce should be stored in a container that allows carbon dioxide to escape without letting in any additional oxygen as that could cause yeast or mold to grow.
A glass mason jar with an airtight lid, set in a cool, dry place is your best bet. While uncooked hot sauce may only last a few weeks, fermented hot sauces that are correctly stored can stay good up to a year or more.
No way will you make it last that long, though, because it’s so delicious! Refrigeration of a fermented sauce isn’t 100% necessary, but it will make your shelf life a lot longer.
So, we’ve answered the questions “How to keep the fermented hot sauce from separating?” It’s time for you to get out there and make a fresh batch of your favorite fermented hot sauce. Enjoy!