How to make a delicious chilli hot sauce by harnessing fermentation

It might sound daunting, but fermentation can be used to make hot sauces packed with flavourful compounds, says Sam Wong

Humans 3 August 2022

Four small bottles of chili hot sauce made from fermented dry de Cayenne chilies. Jar with fermentation process and dry chilies in front.; Shutterstock ID 1766916452; purchase_order: -; job: -; client: -; other: -

Shutterstock/Fotema

HOT sauces are popular all over the world. Many are produced by fermentation, using microorganisms to add depth of flavour and create sauces offering more than just a kick of chilli heat.

The burning sensation comes from capsaicin, a molecule that activates heat receptors. As Clare Wilson explained in her science of gardening column a fortnight ago, Capsicum plants may have evolved the ability to produce capsaicin to deter mammals from eating them, but our species has developed a perverse taste for the pain it brings.

If you are following Clare’s tips for growing chillies at home, you might …

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