Updated: May 2, 2018
Although our regular season has ended, we still have some projects to wrap up: a fermented Thai chili and carrot hot sauce inspired by the hot sauces I ate in Belize, and a fermented jalapeno-garlic paste that our friend Jami introduced us to.
I adore Thai chilies, and Sean loves hot sauces of all kinds, so we went crazy when planting our pepper garden this year. We had so many bell pepper and jalapeno plants (maybe 20 plants each!) we weren't sure we'd be able to get through all the fruit. but with the amount of salsa we made, we actually used every last bell pepper. Right at frost, I picked the last of the jalapenos--about 10 pounds worth.
The next day, I pulled up all the chilies, so I could pick the fruit when I had time. A few days later, Sean dug the last of the carrots, and with a 5-gallon bucket half-full of Thai chilies, I knew we needed to make a hot sauce.
Sean worked on the hot sauce, I worked on the jalapeno-garlic paste, and by the end of the evening, the air in our house was on fire with the capsaicin. It was lots of fun!
Now we have the paste and sauces fermenting in my great-grandmother Mae's old Red Wing crocks.
It's fun to think that perhaps she fermented pickles or watermelon rinds in these same crocks 100 years ago, on the homestead settled by my great-grandfather Joe. Her technique was probably different, and I'm sure it was more about survival and putting up food for the winter than fun, but carrying on the tradition of preserving our own food is an important part of what we do out here at Blackshire Farms.