My partner Christopher is the pepper king in this family. While I focus on tomatoes, he takes on peppers, mostly hot chiles. This year he grew Scotch Bonnet, Jamaican Red, Caribbean Heat, Giant Cayenne, Tabasco, Thai Dragon, Jalepeño, Pasillo Bajio, Poblano and sweet Bell. Because our season was extra short this year, he went to great lengths to boost his pepper production, laying down extra compost, mulch and even going so far as to place sheets of reflective aluminum foil under each plant for more sun light. His efforts paid off big. We have been swimming in almost as many peppers as we have tomatoes!
As peppers turned red in September, we started processing various batches of fermented hot sauces, some made with a single hot pepper variety, or a mixture of hot and sometimes sweet. We made one batch with three kinds of habanero chiles (Scotch Bonnet, Jamaican Red, Caribbean Heat) in one jar and then a single variety of Tabasco chiles in another jar. A mixed batch of all the chiles, plus a few sweet banana peppers, is sitting on the counter right now.
The beauty of fermented hot sauce is that it has that lovely sharp tang to complement the hot spice, lending a musky undertone that is all to familiar in the popular Tabasco brand pepper sauce. The best part for me is that I can add new chiles to the batch as they ripen. Unlike crazy canning and processing required by other produce, you can just leave the mash on the countertop during harvest and deal with it later. Once fermentation slows (no bubbling and it smells and tastes good), a slower fermentation can continue in the fridge. Fermented hot sauce just gets better with age.