Preserving the Harvest: Explore Fermentation with Chef Jayson


Ever wondered how to create your own signature hot sauces and pickled treats? Chef Jayson discusses the nuances of homemade preservation. From perfecting salinity, to experimenting with unique blends, join us as he shares his techniques for mastering the art of fermentation and preservation.


0:00 Welcome to the Kitchen

0:56 Jalapeno Brine

3:00 Revisiting the Plums

5:34 Adding the new Brine

6:42 An “Egg-celent” Mistake

7:20 Making Garlic Powder

7:57 The Unveiling

8:28 We have Pickles!

9:38 What’s in the Jar?

11:56 Green Siracha

12:09 Thanks for Joining Us


Chef Jayson (00:03):

Welcome back to the kitchen. We’ve got a bunch of different projects going on right now. We had an issue with one of them and so we wanted to talk about it and then show you the solution. No pun intended. You’ll get it when we get there. Anyway, I wanted to show you a few things. Over here in our Clay Crock, you can see the date, 7/20. So this has been two weeks. Usually you can eat fermented, whatever. After about a week or so, it starts taking on a pretty good flavor. Now, I jammed this thing full of garden peppers. Like perppercinis, banana peppers, some pickles. Like cucumbers, well, they’re pickles now, I hope. And a few other things. I think we threw some garlic and some onions and peppercorns and, you know, other pickling things in there. So we’ll get to that. All right,

Chef Jayson (00:56):

I just made this one today. This is going to be a new this is a new ferment. We’re gonna turn this into a green sriracha. A green fermented green jalapeno sauce. To match along with our red sauce here. So that’s actually been going since 7/9. So next Thursday actually we’ll get to bust this bag open, ’cause it’ll have been going for a month. You can see that color, you can see how watery it is. That means it’s working. This is the next one that I did. 7/21, so this is two weeks old as well. I did it the same day as the crock. And you can see it’s a little bit mushier. These are all peppers from the garden. Red peppers, red jalapenos. And because it’s been so dry in Arizona, they just didn’t have as much water weight as these fresnos that I picked up from the store. This one I just did today. This is, you can see the recipe there.

Chef Jayson (02:05):

This is something I haven’t done before. I just wanted to kind of throw in, start kind of notating all the different amounts. So when I hit that magic amount, like oh, this ratio of peppers to onions or to garlic or whatever it is, then I’ve got it written down. I’ve got all my batches written down in a separate book. The gram amount that goes into it, the salt percentage, all that stuff. And that, like you said, you, or like I said, when you when you find that one that you really like, that perfect balance of sweetness or or spiciness and garlic or whatever it is, you want to be able to recreate that. So this one I’m pretty excited to start. You know, those carrots are down there at the bottom for sweetness. Same with the onions. So I think this one’s gonna turn out really nice.

Chef Jayson (03:00):

So the issue that we had, do you guys remember in the other video we did, it was probably two or three ago. We showed you that we were curing green plums. I know you probably thought that these were some kind of cool olive, like a castelvetrano or something, but this is actually an un-ripe plumb. So we have been working on curing these since the middle of May. And I don’t know if you can see on the side there, there’s the kind of these black smudges. So I had this in a 20:1 brine, meaning 20 ounces of liquid to 1 ounce of salt, which was the recommended dose, so to speak. So it said every couple of weeks or so you want to change out your brine. So the last time I changed it out, I think I might have screwed up the salt percentage because when I came back to change it out again, it was completely covered with mold on the top.

Chef Jayson (03:56):

Now we know mold is the enemy. We don’t want to eat mold, we don’t want it all over us. We don’t want it in our food. We do a lot of preparation. This piece of gear here is specifically so it doesn’t get mold and bacteria on the inside. And by the way, in here, whenever you do airlocks, it’s beneficial to use vodka or everclear. Some high proof, clear alcohol because then you don’t ever have to worry about contamination. Anything gets in this top. Like I pulled out a fruit fly. You know, I’m sure he was wasted by the time he did cross that rainbow bridge. But anyway. Hard proof alcohol in your airlocks. So getting back to the plums. So after doing some research, I decided to increase my salinity. Meaning I’m gonna go from a 20:1 ratio to a 10:1 ratio. And see how that works.

Chef Jayson (04:58):

A 10:1 ratio, nothing should grow in that. That is like saltier than the ocean, I think <laugh>. So I’ve already got my brine ready. I took some of the water, I measured it out in grams. 3000 grams of water and then a 10:1 ratio would be?… Do the math in your head. I’ll wait for you… 300 grams of salt. Pretty easy ratio actually. So I put a little bit of water in a pan. I throw my salt in there just to dissolve the salt and then I’ll pour the rest of the water in so it cools down really quick. Little trick for you.

Chef Jayson (05:34):

I’m actually gonna transfer to a new vessel. So let’s just pour those in. I have already rinsed these really well. And I’m just gonna pour this right to the top. Now. just like eggs, if you get floaters, bunch of floaters kind of want to take those out. So these are all pretty much sinking. I don’t have too many floaters. Or really any floaters. Nothing deliberate though. You see, they’re kind of sinking. So there you go. We’re gonna put this back in the dark room, dark cool room. And we’re gonna see check on it in a couple of weeks. So you guys will see whether the brine, increasing the salinity helps. Hopefully it’s not the plums that are just bad plums. Sometimes you get ’em. Come from a bad neighborhood.

Chef Jayson (06:42):

So I guess disregard the floating olive or floating plum thing. I’ve read that about olives. You know, just get rid of them. And I guess it’s like there’s air in the pits and it can end up turning everything bad. Makes sense. Same thing with eggs. You know, you can tell a fresh egg will stay at the bottom. And as the, as it gets old, that air pocket on the bottom of the egg, gets bigger and bigger and bigger, as the egg gets older and shrinks inside its shell. So when that air pocket gets bigger, that means it’s gonna float to the top. Makes sense. So anyway, we’re gonna put these away.

Chef Jayson (07:20):

And if you were wondering, I do keep all my garlic and onion scrap, ’cause I’ll put this in the dehydrator, dry it out and then I’ll end up with my garlic powder. This is just straight garlic husk powder. Looks like the stuff you buy at the store, right? It’s ’cause it is <laugh>. I don’t think they’re over there peeling all that garlic when they’re making garlic powder, they’re just taking that root ball off and throwing the whole thing into a dehydrator. So anyway, I always keep a little container in my fridge here, so when I’m working throughout the day, I can just chuck them in there.

Chef Jayson (07:57):

All right, now let’s do the unveiling And…Ooo…

Chef Jayson (08:02):

No mold. Oh, little bit of… I don’t think that’s mold. I think it’s called kahm yeast. You don’t see anything flowering or fuzzy. That’s definitely a good sign. Kahm yeast is totally natural, totally normal byproduct of pickling and fermenting.

Chef Jayson (08:28):

So I want you to check these out. We’ll pull the weights out. There’s one. There’s, it smells so good. This… Just double check the sides. I saw that right there. That’s actually the leftover sharpie from when I drew the circle to cut this out. I was a little worried for a second. But this is a piece of dehydrator tray that I just cut out. Check it out. Looks like a pickle to me. Oh man, it smells so good. We’ve got jalapenos in here. You know, I was a little worried about these ’cause there’s air in the middle, but what I did is I took a knife and I pin put a pinhole in each one. So you can see, right there.

Chef Jayson (09:38):

Nice. I mean, there’s tomatillos in here, there’s garlic in here. So now I can actually take these and use these for different sauces. I can cut up a little bit of pickle and add it to like the salmon salad that I made yesterday. Little bell pepper. Great for eggs. You know, so this is like a little cornucopia of pickled deliciousness or fermented deliciousness. But I mean, this is actually how you make pickles. You know, the big pickle companies, besides like the refrigerated ones, VLASIK or whatever. They have swimming pool sized vats that sit outside and they fill ’em with pickles or cucumbers and salt water and they just let ’em sit there.

Chef Jayson (10:24):

There’s birds … in it and there’s leaves falling in it, but it’s so salty that nothing’s gonna grow in it. You know, this is the history of the world, remember. Maybe they finally put some cheese cloth or something over the top of it. But what they’ll do is they’ll take that giant vat, take it to a processing facility, rinse them, clean them, and then pack ’em in new jars with new brine. And that’s how, that’s how our pickles come. I mean, this is not a new process. This is just a process that has been kind of forgotten on a home level, because we’ve gotten very used to all of our food being pasteurized, all of our food being canned and frozen and whatever. So when you grow your own stuff and you have abundance of vegetables, you don’t want all that work that you did to go to waste.

Chef Jayson (11:16):

So these are great ways. Even if you’re not a big hot sauce fan, you could make it, it doesn’t have to be hot, hot sauce. You could make a red pepper sauce, doesn’t matter. But what’s fun is when you do these things you can give ’em to your friends. You can give them out as holiday gifts. You can you know, it’s pretty cool to receive something like that from somebody because this is all made with love. Love, time, energy. The whole process from growing the peppers and the onions and the garlic, to getting to me, to turn it into a product like this for the end result of…

Chef Jayson (11:56):

This is a beautiful green sriracha that we made a couple weeks ago. Two, three weeks ago. And I have a jar in my fridge along with the red sauce and I can’t stop putting it on everything. It is ridiculous.

Chef Jayson (12:09):

So I I think we’re gonna let this go for probably another two weeks or so. We’ll say 30 days is kind of the magic number. More than likely, like with this, this is kind of squishy. It was already really big and kind of overdone to begin with. You could see this other one that looks like a pickle, right? You know, this one was a little yellow and it’s probably kind of squishy, so I’m gonna turn it into relish or something. But yeah, I think about you could eat it after about seven days. I personally like about 30 days on the ferments. So hopefully you guys have learned something today and we’ll see you next time in the kitchen. Take it easy.

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