Want to try the hot sauces? Here’s what’s in these 5-fluid-ounce bottles filled with small-batch goodness:
Vida Verde: Is a living green chili sauce filled with active cultures, organic jalpeños, rellenos, garlic, Rocky Mountain apples, and Utah sea salt
Srirawcha: Organically grown peppers and garlic; Colorado apples; local, raw honey: mineral-rich sea salt, active wild cultures, and immunobiotic Lactobacillus strains
Boulder Sol: Organic peppers and garlic, mineral-rich sea salt, active wild cultures, immunobiotic Lactobacillus strains, Colorado apples, local raw honey
Marcus McCauley named his company Picaflor, the Spanish word for hummingbird. This flittering, pointy-nosed pollinator is believed to represent playfulness, enjoyment of life, resiliency, and in some cultures a bridge between the past and the future because of its unique ability to fly both backwards and forward. Given Picaflor’s origins and Marcus’s intentions, the hummingbird seems an apt mascot. Picaflor, which crafts and sells fermented hot sauces and pepper flakes, was born from a fortuitous event on Marcus’ farm.
As the story goes, a local farmer approached Marcus and said, “I’ve got a ton of peppers. If you can do something with them, you can have them.” Marcus recalls that there were at least 2,000 pounds of peppers. He accepted the bounty and the challenge, and started fermenting and experimenting. Before long, his garage was filled with overflowing, bubbling buckets of fermenting deliciousness. The first hot sauce he crafted was a sriracha that immediately gained a dedicated local following of his friends and family. He was now the hot sauce guy, and there was no turning back. Continue reading –>
Like many others, Marcus recommends Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, 2nd Edition by Sandor Katz. He explains, “It was really inspiring and it really opened up the world of fermentation for me. It made fermentation accessible and it gave me tools to stay healthy and preserve the harvest.”
In Wild Fermentation you’ll find recipes for staples like kombucha, kimchi, and kraut, but you’ll also find recipes for T’ej (Ethiopian-style Honey Wine), Dosas, and even Sonnenblumenkernbrot (German Sunflower Seed Bread).
Pepper Mash Recipe
Written by Marcus McCauley of Picaflor and McCauley Family Farm
This is a recipe for a general-purpose fermented pepper mash. You can use green peppers, red peppers, or even yellow/orange peppers. You can use mild peppers or hot, or any interesting mixture that your pepper daydreams concoct. You can use the mash in many ways—the only limitation is your imagination. Mix it with a tomato sauce, marinate a protein, mix with garlic and a sweetener of your choice to make sriracha, or add butter for a wing sauce.
It’s likely you can start your first ferment without purchasing any extra gear. All you really need is 1 wide-mouth pint-size mason jar and one eight-ounce mason jar with a lid. I fermented for a couple of years without purchasing anything extra. However, there are many excellent new or traditional fermentation products on the market, from wide-mouthed jar fermentation weights to airlocks to crocks. Learn more about small-batch fermentation tools in this article by Kirsten Shockey (co-author of Fermented Vegetables and Fiery Ferments) and Mara Rose of Hatch Lab.
A blend of peppers of your choice, equaling about 1.5 pounds whole, or 1 ¼ pounds after destemming and deseeding (about 3 plump medium-large bells, or about 25 jalapeños)
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
A note about salt
When measuring salt by volume, remember that not all salt is equal. One tablespoon of table salt or fine sea salt equals 1 tablespoon plus three-quarters of a teaspoon of coarse kosher salt. We are going for a percentage of about 4% salt by weight of peppers. This may seem on the salty side, but this mash is a condiment, marinade, or seasoning, so I like it to be on the salty side. Plus, not much mash is usually eaten at a time. I’ve done as little as 2% and as much as 7% depending on the end use, and how I want it to taste.
1. If you’ve never fermented before, the first step is to relax. It’s hard to mess this up. Salt inhibits pathogens, the peppers are teeming with beneficial bacteria already, and if you see any mold on the surface of your ferment, scrape it off and put the jar in the fridge to inhibit growth.
2. Destem and deseed the peppers.
3. Cut the washed peppers into chunks (about 1 inch by 1 inch) and toss with the salt in a bowl.
4. Stuff the peppers and salt into the wide-mouth pint jar and screw the top on. Let sit for an hour or two.
5. Once the salt pulls the moisture from the peppers and they are submerged in their own juices, place the smaller eight-ounce jar (filled with water and sealed) inside, press it into the peppers, and leave as a weight. If you don’t have a small jar that will fit inside the larger one, don’t sweat it. Just stick the top on the pint jar and every couple of days, use a clean utensil to stir the contents and push them down below liquid.
6. Burp the jar (unscrewing the top to let the carbon dioxide out) every day or two for a week or two. You can ferment the mash for as long as you like; it’s ready when it meets your flavor standards. Start tasting on day three so you can stop the fermentation at just the right moment.
7. When the fermentation is complete, remove the weight, combine the peppers using a blender or food processor, seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid, and put the jar in the fridge. In the refrigerator, the mash will last for at least six months.