Sweet Fire

I wish I had my camera with me at the farmer’s market this saturday, as my favorite farmer Mark from Thistle Whistle had a dizzying variety of peppers. I asked him what his favorites were to dry for chili powder and for a fermented hot sauce. I am out of my Liquid Fire and so I am stocking up on as many pepper recipes I can now, while they are in season.

For drying and making chile powder he suggested Chimayo and Padron peppers, which are in the dehydrator now. I just cut the green top off and slice the peppers in half, leaving in the seeds, and dehydrate. You could also leave them whole and string up to dry. Then I put the dried peppers in the food processor with the blade, putting a towel over the processor when it is on because of the flying chile powder, and store in a mason jar. Last week I dried a big batch of jalapeños, Yum!

For the fermented hot sauce he had some sweet/hot peppers called Jimmy Nardellos. They are a long twisty red pepper which look like a cayenne, but are mildly sweet with a lot of seeds. In his bin he also had some red cayenne peppers, which he said were not a fiery hot variety, and so I bought a mixture of both.

I wanted to make a variation on Harissa, and this recipe from Kitchen Counter Culture is my inspiration for this sauce.

I want to make a half gallon of this sauce so I begin by processing two large heads of garlic in the food processor. Cut the tops off of Jimmy Nardello and Cayenne peppers and pulse process in the food processor.


Add two tablespoons of real salt.


I wanted to make sure I had the right number of peppers processed to fill a half gallon jar, so I used a funnel to keep filling the jar. It took about 40 peppers.


Add two tablespoons of cumin seed


and one tablespoon of ground coriander.


I then transferred the contents of the jar to a bowl so I could thoroughly mix everything and taste. It needed another tablespoon of ground coriander and about a half a cup of raw honey.


The flavor is intense, slightly sweet, and definitely hot but not mind blowing. The lacto fermentation will begin by the salt, and I usually add about a 1/4 cup of kefir whey to kick start my ferments. This time I did not want added liquid, so I just topped off the jar with the kefir whey to keep everything under liquid. You could top off with some salt brine.


Leave in room temperature for 3 to 10 days for fermentation to take hold and then store in the refrigerator. When we begin eating this sauce, I will continue to transfer to smaller jars and keep a layer of kefir whey at the top, to keep out as much air as possible.


Sweet Fire - A Harissa-like Hot Sauce on Punk Domestics

4 thoughts on “Sweet Fire

  1. Pingback: Grassfood Recipe Page | grassfood.

  2. Pingback: Francie’s Fabulous Fermented Fish | grassfood.

  3. Your photos are beautiful. I think you are going to love this hot sauce. Once you’ve tasted it, there’s no turning back to ordinary bottled and non-fermented sauces. And it just keeps getting better as it ages– if it lasts long enough unconsumed to age…

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