Making Haberno peppers milder via fermentation in Saurkraut
This is only the second time I've made saurkraut. I use a couple of
Glad-ware disposable containers to hold the shredded cabbage/salt/sugar
mixture, one for the cabbage and one placed on top and filled with
water to weigh it down. Some air might find its way in through the
edges, but it doesn't seem to hurt anything. I let it ferment in my
50-60 degree farenheight stairwell for about a week and then eat it
over the next week. By the middle of the eating week it seems to be
about as sour as it's gonna get, but is still crunchy.
The first time I made saurkraut, I had never even eaten saurkraut
before and didn't know if I would like it. I found that I love it. On
a hot dog, or in a grilled ham and cheese sandwich or just on it's own.
I'd shun cole-slaw for saurkraut any day.
Anyway, this post is supposed to be about peppers, so here goes:
Haberno peppers are damn hot. When I first ate one, as a kid, it was
on a dare. Holy crap! It was frikken HOT. I couldn't imagine what
possible use they might have. What dish would not be positively ruined
by these peppers in any quantity you could see without a microscope?
They were selling these things in cartons at the store, when one pepper
was strong enough or multiple meals. People must just eat these things
to show off their manliness, I thought.
That was, till years later when my father in law put a few in a pot of
spaghetti sauce and bell peppers. The Habernos made the whole pot of
peppers and sauce hot, and tasted great. Also, he introduced me to
eating habernos raw with spaghetti and meatballs, - a bite of meatball
with a bite of pepper. That was still very hot, but the meatball
cooled things off and made it a treat.
My latest Haberno pepper discovery is that when cut into quarter inch
wide pepper 'rings' and fermented in saurkraut, they become suprisingly
mild. I used about 4-5 peppers to one whole cabbage. I cut the
peppers into such large pieces thinking that if they were too hot, they
might not ruin the whole batch of saurkraut if they could be easily
In fact, the whole batch, cabbage and peppers ended up at the same heat
level. Ordinarily, this would mean a ruined dish. No other dish I
know of can withstand that pepper to mild food ratio. But although
the peppers themselves are no hotter than the cabbage, the saurkraut is
at a pleasantly hot but not painful level at all. It's still yummy on
a hot dog, and can even be eaten on it's own without a milk chaser.
It's spicy but not crazy-spicy at all. I was amazed.
I wonder if it's the acid? Maybe pickling would have the same effect?
Or maybe it's something about the fermentation process... I don't know.
But I do know that there's no reason to be afraid of using lots of hot
peppers in saurkraut. I think I am going to try doubling the
pepper/cabbage ratio next time. I was actually aiming for something
much hotter than I ended up with, though it was still good.