Jim Sherman, my gardening guru, told me to meet him at a raised bed garden this morning. He was trying to clean the place up to get it ready to plant the fall and winter crops. The last plants left over from the summer were peppers and they were out of control. There were so many red ripe cayenne and tabasco peppers he couldn’t pick them all. The birds were having a field day. He had been reading the series about Homemade Pepper Sauces on this blog and knew I could put some peppers to good use.
I have been fermenting red jalapeños up until now because I could never find a whole pound of cayenne or tabasco peppers. I was eager to try to make a pepper sauce with tabasco and cayenne peppers because that’s what they use in Louisiana. So I brought my bag and started picking. My goal was to pick enough tabasco and cayenne peppers to fill a quart jar. After a half hour or so, my back was aching, my shirt was soaking wet and I had enough peppers.
On the McIllhenny Plantation on Avery Island where Tabasco sauce was invented, the foreman gave each pepper picker a “baton rouge,” a red stick. The pickers were told not to pick a tabasco pepper unless it was as red as the stick.
I tried to follow that rule while I picked these peppers. When I got them home, I rinsed them, cut off the stems, snipped them in half with scissors and mashed them in a steel bowl with 2 tablespoons of pickling salt. After stuffing all the peppers in the jar and adding spring water, I put in a piece of sweet potato to keep the peppers submerged in the brine. I am going to let them ferment for a month. I’ll let you know how they come out.