So, I've got a 2-3dl batch of lacto-fermented hot sauce in the works. Approximately half the vegetables in the ferment are large brown habaneros and the other half is sweet pepper, ginger and some slices of carrot to get the ferment going. So, I expect the sauce to last me quite some time.

Therefore, I'm planning on pasteurizing the sauce to extend its shelf-life. My main goal in the pasteurization is to stop the fermentation already going on. For equipment, I have a thermometer from the brewing supplies aisle, various different sizes of pots and pans, some of which can be nested for a double boiler, and an electric stove. Is there a reasonable process to pasteurize a batch of fermented hot sauce with these?

  • 1
    Just checking, you're trying to pastuerize them, not pressure can, them, correct?
    – FuzzyChef
    May 1, 2019 at 5:09
  • @FuzzyChef yes, pasteurize.
    – HAEM
    May 1, 2019 at 6:29
  • Pasteurization does not kill botulism spores, and from your listed ingredients it does not appear you'd have enough acidity or salt to keep it safe long term. You'd need to pressure can it.
    – GdD
    May 1, 2019 at 12:53
  • @GdD I am lacto-fermenting it, will it still not reach enough acidity?
    – HAEM
    May 1, 2019 at 13:15
  • Maybe, maybe not @HAEM, there are many variables at work. Do you have a food safety rated acidity tester? Is it calibrated? If you don't then you can't rely on fermentation for safety.
    – GdD
    May 1, 2019 at 13:22

2 Answers 2


According to the US FDA, normal pastuerization for fruit juice would be 160F for 6 seconds. This should be easily accomplished in a hot water bath; just heat up the water to 160f, and dip the bottles.

However, a fermented sauce made with chopped peppers has poor circulation compared to fruit juice, and you are heating bottles rather than passing the liquid through a narrow, heated pipe. So more time would be required for the heat to penetrate, possibly as much as 5 minutes. I can't find specific guidance for something like a chopped pepper sauce.

This would pastuerize the hot sauce, but not make it shelf-stable.

The criteria to bottle it, as mentioned in the comments, is how acidic the sauce is after fermentation, so you should add some form of Ph tester to your list of equipment. If the acidity is 4.6 or below, then a slightly hotter hot water bath (say, 180F) for a few minutes you could not only pastuerize it, but make it shelf-stable.


Pasteurization to make it shelf stable is simple. Just heat the mixture stirring constantly at 180F for 10 minutes, then immediately bottle in sterilized containers. This stops the fermentation and minimizes any chance that your sauce could ever make anyone sick, assuming you fermented it long enough to get down to something like 4.0 acidity on your ph tester. You can always add some vinegar before pasteurization and re test to get it to a safe level.

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