It’s hard to keep in the heat when it gets so cold here in the winter, so I try and stock up on as much heat as I can. I bought two large bags of jalapeñoes from my favorite farmer Mark of Thistle Whistle and lacto fermented half of them and dehydrated the other half for jalapeño chile powder, which is also fantastic.
I like to lacto ferment with honey, and also use honey in my kombucha at times, and many people say you cannot lacto ferment using honey because of its antimicrobial properties. This article from Cultures For Health will set your mind at ease.
My friend Jackie, who is a jalapeño expert, enjoying a jalapeño with every single meal, says the jalapenoes with the little ridges of the outside of them are usually the hottest. The smooth ones he thinks taste like a tomato (but not always!)
I think it is a waste to take out the seeds and membranes, which pack the most heat, because if it is way too hot, you just use less in a recipe and it goes farther. No, you don’t need to wear a gas mask or rubber gloves or a hazmat suit, just be careful when you are slicing them and try not to touch any of the open slices. Wash your hands well and remember to suck it up when you take off your contacts that night, because it will hurt.
I added one heaping tablespoon of real salt to this jar which is a bit more than a half gallon.
I usually add kefir whey to ferments, to speed up the lacto fermentation, and I added about 3/4 of a cup. (I have lots of kefir whey stored, but am raw milk poor, as the new baby calf, Salomon, drinks most of it. He got kicked in the teeth yesterday, very badly by the horse, so I am not sure he is going to pull through, poor thing.)
Pour on about a half cup to a cup of raw honey.
Fill the rest up with filtered water, secure the lid and leave in room temperature for up to 10 days, then place in the refrigerator. No need to stir everything, as the honey will dissolve and you can gently swirl everything around, but don’t want to break up the slices. Let the pressure off the jar everyday.
I am excited about my simple discovery of a better way to hold down my ferments and herbs that I preserve in apple cider vinegar and honey (not always with honey.) I have some old glass mason jar lids and the standard small lids fit perfectly inside wide mouth jars, and the wide mouth glass lids fit inside larger jars like this one I used for the jalapeñoes.
If you don’t hold the fermented vegetables, or herbs down under the liquid, they will discolor or could even grow mold. I have decided not to preserve herbs in oil anymore, because the tendency for them to grow mold on the top is pretty high.
I turn the lid upside down, so air won’t be trapped underneath it.
Then press down until everything is held under the liquid.
You can find these old glass lids for about $1 at a junk shop.