How to Make Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce

Fermented Citrus Hot Sauce is full of complex, bright citrusy flavors. Loaded with just about any citrus fruit of your choice (we love blood oranges), this hot sauce recipe is going to be one of your absolute homemade favorites. Because when it comes to hot sauce, just being hot isn’t good enough. We want flavor in our homemade fermented hot sauces—lots of it!

Lacto-fermentation adds rich complexity to any hot sauce recipe. But, in the end, it’s the ingredients you choose that guide how the flavors will develop. Fermentation tends to mellow the crisp freshness of a pepper—which isn’t always a bad thing. How the process transforms peppers is often why fermented hot sauces taste so interesting. But if you’re looking to create a super-bright, fresh hot sauce, you’ll want to consider including ingredients that brighten its flavors and lift its apparent freshness.

Citrus does this perfectly. The selection of citrus is vast, so choose a fruit you’re excited to use and that pairs well with your other ingredients. All citrus is a a little different. Oranges are sweeter than lemons. Meyer lemons are sweeter than lemons but not as sweet as oranges. Grapefruits have a super distinct flavor all to themselves. When choosing citrus, we also take its color into consideration. This recipe uses orange habanero peppers and an orange bell pepper, so we use blood orange, and it results in one of the most beautifully vibrant hot sauces we’ve made all year.

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