What is salt brine fermentation?
Salt brine fermentation is a method of food preservation through alchemical transformation. By submerging food in a rich solution composed primarily of water and sodium chloride no microorganisms can act on it but lactobacillus. This lactobacillus activity seems to have a remarkably positive influence on many things people like to eat, making them even more interesting and enjoyable to eat, not to mention more healthy due to their probiotic influence. The family of salt brine fermentations contains many favorites such as saurkraut, miso, and kimchi. Whereas salt brine fermentations are bacterial, alcohol and vinegar fermentations are due to the action of yeasts.
What is a salt brine fermentation chile sauce?
My salt brine fermentation chile sauces, as well as all other salt brine fermentation chile sauces that I know of, are vinegar based sauces created by diluting a salt brine fermentation, after separating out the seeds and skins, with a vinegar, usually in a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3. My dilution is 1:2. Some commercial varieties use white vinegar. I feel that brown rice vinegar allows more prominence to the chile’s flavor. Furthermore, I believe the medicinal qualities of rice vinegar are superior to white vinegar. The vinegar fully sanitizes the sauce giving it long shelf life, but at the expense of the probiotic benefits of the lactobacilli which are killed along with everything else.
The components of salt brine fermentation chile sauces are never “cooked”. Temperatures in excess of room temperature are not required, therefore there is no loss of vitamins, enzymes, or any other nutrients that I’m aware of. A check of any quality herbal medicine reference will verify my claim that chilies are potent, near panacea medicinals. Therefore I feel supported in my claim that these sauces are highly effective medicinal tinctures in addition to highly satisfying condiments.
Why do you spell chili c-h-i-l-e instead of c-h-i-l-i ?
Chili is and Aztec word but there is no definitive record of its classic spelling (whatever that means). England spells it chilli. I choose chile for three reasons: 1) It feels right to me, 2) I want to separate it from “chili”, the bean and meat thing, and “chili powder” as a seasoning for chili, the meat and bean thing. I also offer a collection of single chile powders with exceptional individual personalities. 3) It is an afront to loose the name of an heirloom chile to a salt brine chili sauce brand name through copywrite law (Tabasco). I refuse to have the sweat of my brow associated with a brand name high end restaurant franchise. (It is worth noting that in the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the spelling used is “CHILE”.
How do you use fresh chilies?
In cooking, there are few opportunities not to use chilies.
– Use as the main dish. Who hasn’t heard of the Italian Street Fair favorite, the sausage and pepper hero?
– As a vegetable side; for example, sautéed with garlic, onion, and perhaps fresh ginger root. Choose a mild variety for bulk and add a variety of similar flavor to adjust to your heat preference, or mix a wide variety of flavors and colors for exciting taste and visual enhancement.
– As a main ingredient in stir fries, soups, omelets, etc.
– As a flavoring, for instance, in oil for poping corn, or in rice as in the Venezualan favorite Arroz con Aji Dulce.
– As a garnish. Chop fine and sprinkle over beans, greens, stews, soups…………..
How can anyone even think of salsas without chilies? And how can anyone think of tomato season without salsas?
– In salads
– As hor d’oeuvres, for instance, cracker, tomato, green jalopeno, garnished with finely chopped onion and cilantro, parsley, basil, or papalo.
– Extract chilies of your choice in a high quality vinegar for use in salad vinegretes, on greens and beans, and for cooking applications.
– Make a sugar syrup.
– Add a few to a bottle of vodka, gin, tequila, or the liquor of your choice.
How do I use the salt brine fermentation chile sauces?
It is a condiment. You can put it on almost anything you want, or add it to almost anything. You might not want to add to ice cream or other sweets such as brownies where the vinegar flavor might clash. For these applications I recommend the powdered form.
– In salad vinaigrette.
– As a cooking ingredient such as stir fries, beans, or greens.
How do I use the powdered chile?
– Use the same way you use ground black pepper. (I suggested this in reply to this question from a farmer’s market client. He responded by constructing a lazy susan for his dinner table with a hole drilled to accommodate my four dram vials and bought a complete set). (The word “pepper” is associated with chilies because the original European invaders of “The New World” mistakenly associated chile powder with this spice that they were familiar with).
– Try Trinidad Perfume, Aji Amarillo, or Boldog Paprika on popcorn; Fatali blended into peach ice cream, or Tennessee Cherry Chile blended into chocolate.
– Bake with it, in brownies, cakes, etc.
– To flavor jellies.
– Use as a medicine in gel caps.
– Powder your socks for long stays outside in frigid weather to increase circulation and thus keep your toes warmer than otherwise.
– Cooking spice (obviously).
What are the health benefits attributed to chilies?
Jethro Kloss devoted 12 pages in his herbal compendium, BACK TO EDEN, to chile’s herbal benefits, more attention than any other herb except Lobelia Inflata. So if you are interested in specifics I suggest you reference a few good text of herbal medicine. It is usually listed as “capsicum” but may be listed as “cayenne”- realize that they are using it as a generic term rather than a specific varietal. The active ingredient is considered to be capsaicin, sometimes referred to as capsaicinoids indicating that several molecules are involved. Extracts are available, but it is assumed in herbal medicine that there are usually other components that participate in the herbs efficacy. Therefore, I recommend that you use the “whole herb” to maximize its medicinal benefits.
Chilies are very high in vitamin C (more in ripe than green), vitamin A (more in red than yellow, and most of the B vitamins (especially B6). They are high in fiber and its sugars are in the form of complex carbohydrates. They are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
– Chile acts as a “carrier” to deliver other herbs’ medicinal components into the system.
– Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal stimulant
– Anti-depressant (tryptophan – serotonin pathway)
– Painkiller (endorphen production due to benign masochism/constrained risk effect, by blocking substance P transmission, and perhaps other unidentified mechanisms.
– Improves vision
– Strengthens immune system
– Fights cancer (and probably reduces the risk of cancer) (By detoxifying cancer causing compounds such as free radicals, and promoting the death of cancer cells).
– Reduces the risk of developing diabetes
– Powerful anti-inflammatory
– Excellent linament ingredient (reducing pain as well as inflammation.)
– Improves gastro-intestinal health (healing as well as soothing to mucous membranes; heals ulcers. Improves regularity by strengthening peristaltic process)
– Facilitate weight loss (Speeds metabolic rate, thus burning more calories; increases fat burning; appetite suppression) (Ironically, it is also considered an appetizer)
– Strengthens the heart without increasing heart rate
– Promotes circulation
– Protects against heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism (By decreasing cholesterol, triglycerides, and platelet aggregation. Helps dissolve fibrin, a clotting substance)
– Reduces hemorrhaging internally and externally (Externally, apply powder directly to wound)
– Cures hangovers
– Helpful in kidney ailments.
– Useful in colds and other respiratory ailments [Discharges mucous from lungs and sinuses (Internally use with ginger root. or, for the brave, snort powder up the nose) (This is a practice in the Amazon Basin, perhaps dating from Paleolithic times, not only for relief from congestion, but also as a carrier of other herbs, in particular, hallucinogens. It is delivered up the nostrils from a reed blown by an assistant. Coincidentally, it is currently mixed for snorting with cocaine and is known as “the pink fix”.)]