I’ve learned a bit since embarking on making my own Sriracha hot sauce. While my sauces will be fine, I will do it differently in the future. What I have done is generally the low tech, wild fermentation method that inherently includes many opportunities for failure. I’ve read both sides of the fermenting debate, however, and discovered proponents of both sides, and a lot in the middle. Some adventurous souls embrace the primitive ways. These are the rather basic methods used for thousands of years, and the thinking questions the need to fix it if it ain’t broke. These folks eschew the use of such things are airlocks, starter whey, and careful measurements. I get the impression some of this is motivated by an idealized view of the old ways combined with frugality. Some are just cheapskates. But others, wisely, desire to learn how to do this fermenting stuff with minimal tools and supplies.

There is the tool school. These are the folks who really take it to the next level, studying obscure and expensive fermentation textbooks and buying all sorts of gadgetry like airlocks, Ph testers and special containers for a perfect ferment every time. There is great merit in this school as well, and they are a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience. These folks will ferment anything and not get sick or die doing so.

I fall between the two.

I’d like to learn all I can about best practices, safe practices, proper and precise measurements, anaerobics and microbiology. But I also realize I have limited time. I also know I want to be able to make enjoyable hot sauce, and maybe learn some fermenting as a preserving skill as I go. Thus, I have purchased some airlocks, and will make future batches in a more precise way. I will use different jars and age much longer.

As it is now, my Sriracha took about a week to get bubbly, but now, after two full weeks, seems to have slowed down its fermenting. My other sauce (I made a second sauce mash the next day, a similar sauce with cherry peppers, habaneros and brown sugar) is still bubbling away and smells like a garlic and pepper paradise. I’ll process them soon, and will report back.

There is a wealth of information at this forum on making hotsauces, and while it is sponsored by a commercial entity (thus the learn toward the careful, precise fermenters), it has a great intro to hot sauce making here.

Here’s my bubbly brew enjoying a nice aging process:

Cherry-Habanero-Garlic mash brewing away, look at the bubbles, a sure sign of fermenting goodness.
Cherry-Habanero-Garlic mash brewing away, look at the bubbles, a sure sign of fermenting goodness.