Making Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce from Over-Fermented Salsa

hot sauce

Do you remember when I made a huge batch of lacto-fermented salsa from on-sale tomatoes? That was over a month ago and this past week I had a half-gallon of the stuff still staring at me from the counter top. Because we don’t have workable refrigeration space on our off-grid homestead, most of my vegetable ferments remain on the counter top until they’re eaten up.

So, this batch had been sitting for about five weeks in 80-100 degree temperatures and you know what? It was still good. I had it in the Fermented Vegetable Master with Ceramic Weights and there wasn’t a lick of mold in sight. The flavor, however, was very tangy and mushy due to the higher temperatures.

We would have eaten it as is, but I thought there might be a better use for it – and I was right. This instantly lacto-fermented hot sauce is delicious!

Here’s how I made it.


I wanted to capture the benefits of the ferment along with the twang and flavor of the brine. So, I decided I’d try to press the salsa through a fine sieve. You could use a blender to simply blend it all together, but I went with our off-grid option.

It actually worked really well! I used a sturdy ladle and out came the brine with most of the vegetables turning into a puree. Once I had a big bowl of puree/liquid to work with, it was time to flavor and bottle it.


To a scant pint of this liquid I added about a teaspoon of ground cayenne, a generous pinch of salt, and a good splash of raw apple cider vinegar for extra twang. The result is a fresh, spicy sauce that we immediately used over bean tacos for supper.

I had another quart of the liquid and so I repeated the process. We really like hot sauce on beans, tacos, and rice dishes in our home; so I’m glad to have three pints of fermented goodness to pass around the table now.

Have you ever made fermented hot sauce?


Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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  1. says

    Nope, I haven’t made hot sauce yet, but I will try and remember that one! I have had extra juicy (runny) salsa a few times, though. In those cases I strained out most of the liquid into separate jars. I then add the “salsa juice” to soups, or use it as liquid for cooking rice – instant Mexican rice!

    • says

      Judith – I didn’t need to refrigerate it. Though we did go through most of it within a couple of weeks. The temperatures here were 80s and 90s, though, and the brine tends to rise to the top of the jar while the “slurry” that is the ground tomatoes and cayenne sank. This created a great means of keeping the sauce from molding.

  2. Lisa says

    Would this work with salsa that had been canned, it if sat at room temp for a while?
    I am kind of doubting it, but just curios what you think
    Love all of your recipes.

    • says

      Lisa – That’s a great question! You can make lacto-fermented ketchup from store-bought canned tomato paste, so I don’t see why you couldn’t do it with canned salsa.

      Here’s the difference, though. I turned already fermented salsa into hot sauce. The bacteria was already present. Canned salsa is essentially dead, so you’d need to add a culture starter. I was just eyeing up a case of canned tomatoes that we need to eat up and thinking of culturing it into hot sauce with kefir whey. If I give it a try, I’ll post about it.

      Please share any experiments you might try, Lisa!

  3. Lisa says

    I had a small bit left from a pint of canned salsa that I made a bean salad with. I added a bit of salt, some ACV, and some cayenne. After a couple of days, it tastes good, but a bit salty.
    So, I opened another pint of canned salsa, pushed it through a fine sieve added 1t cayenne, a bit of salt, about 2T vinegary kombucha, and the “experimental” hot sauce.
    I figure between all of that, I will have some good probiotics.
    I can’t wait to see if this works. My 86 YO father loves anything hot enough to make his skin curl.. If this works, Look Out!

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