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Remains of the Garden: Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce with Nasturtiums

devon 2 Comments

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Remains of the Garden: Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce with Nasturtiums

Devon 2 Comments

Lacto-fermented hot sauce with nasturtiums, two ways! A spicy red batch with flowers & a milder green batch with leaves results in sauces with herbal flair.

The gardening season is pretty much over now.  Sure, there will be some cabbages, beets, and Brussel sprouts to harvest in the coming weeks, but the potatoes, squash, corn, and carrots have long been absent from the garden.  My hopes of a pantry full of salsa and stewed heirloom tomatoes have been dashed by the ever persistent rains.  The few batches I did get through won’t be enough to satisfy our appetites through the winter ahead.  However, strangely unaffected by the Pacific Northwest rains, my row of hot peppers remained productive well into these colder, wetter weeks.  Without the tomatoes for more salsa, I had to find an alternative use for these precious peppers. Lest I let them rot away into the ground.  Inspired by my friends at Gather and Grow Forage Cook Ferment, I decided on an herbal-y twist to lacto-fermented hot sauce.

A simple gaze out my kitchen window gave me just the initiative to make something wonderful.  Like the peppers, the nasturtiums are still stubbornly blooming in the planter outside my studio.  If you never tasted nasturtiums before, both leaves and flowers have a peppery, piquant zing that is truly remarkable.  With enough peppers for a couple quart sized batches of lacto-fermented hot sauce, I decided on two blends.  First, a scorching hot batch of fully ripe red peppers (mostly red jalapenos, serranos, a few paprika and other assorted varieties) with the nasturtium flowers.  Then, a comparatively milder, but still intense variation of green peppers (Anaheim, mole, and green jalapeno) with the nasturtium leaves.

From an herbalist’s perspective, both hot peppers and nasturtiums are stimulating and viscerally warming, full of vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.  Flower essences made with nasturtium are said to clear and focus an overly busy mind, energize a tired brain, and arrest over thinking tendencies.  This is a hot sauce with some major therapeutic action.


Lacto-fermentation is a unique process that preserves the bounty of a season’s harvest.  It also encourages the presence of beneficial bacteria that promote proper gut health and immune system function when consumed.  Lactic acid forming bacteria, such as lactobacillus and pediococcus, are present on virtually every natural thing and will flourish in the right environment.  These lactic acid bacteria are responsible for foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and others, and serve to out-compete infectious bacteria in the gut.  And they make things taste really good.  Lacto-fermented hot sauce may be a little intense for the more sensitive types, but it carries a healthy dose of both soul warming heat and beneficial bacteria.

Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce

I chopped each batch’s peppers, garlic and nasturtium in the food processor until the mixtures were fine and paste-like.  After packing into quart jars, I added sea salt, spring water, and whey from a recent yogurt batch.  The whey isn’t necessary, however the addition helps to kick-start the fermentation process).  It is best to use fermentation weights like these to keep the solids submerged (preventing the formation of mold) and air lock lids like these.  Heck, there are even entire kits devoted to lacto-fermentation like this.  I intend to let my hot sauces ferment for 2-3 weeks, until the mixture takes on a noticeably lacto-fermented flavor – somewhat vinegar-y, but fully developed and “rounded”.  After that I will bottle the lacto-fermented hot sauce up in bottles like these and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Lacto-fermented hot sauce with nasturtiums is incredibly easy and a fast project to spice up a rainy, fall afternoon.  Or any afternoon, for that matter.  The only problem is that it isn’t ready immediately – my kitchen smells amazing right now, so this wait simply isn’t fair!

{I will be updating this post to include post fermentation notes on this hot sauce}.

Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce with Nasturtiums Recipe

Red Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce with Nasturtium Flowers

Intensely hot and spicy, this lacto-fermented red hot sauce with nasturtium flowers is not for the faint of heart!


  • cups finely minced assorted red peppers (red jalapeno, serranos, etc)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 10-12 nasturtium flowers
  • tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon whey optional
  • spring water

Green Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce with Nasturtium Leaves

Milder green option uses nasturtium leaves for an herbal-ly spin on hot sauce


  • cups finely minced assorted green peppers (Anaheim, mole, jalapeno, etc)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 10-12 nasturtium leaves
  • tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon whey optional
  • spring wate


  • Clean and rinse peppers. Remove stems and tops from peppers. Remove seeds and membranes if you prefer a milder hot sauce, otherwise leave intact.
  • Pulverize peppers, garlic and nasturtium leaves in a food processor.
  • Pack pepper mixture into quart jar. Add sea salt and optional whey. Pour spring water into jar until the only one inch headspace remains, poking mixture with a skewer or butter knife so that no air pocket remain.
  • Place fermentation weights on mixture and an airlock lid on the quart jar. Ferment at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.
  • After fermentation, you may re-blend for a smoother consistency, adding more spring water for a saucier texture, if needed. Bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Lacto-Fermented Nasturtium Hot Sauce


Devon is a writer and author on subjects of holistic and sustainable living. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, and her first book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, was published by Page Street Publishing in Spring 2019. Devon's work outside of can be seen at,,, and in the magazine The Backwoods Home. Devon's second book, The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen, will be published Fall 2019.

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About Me

Meet the Nitty Gritty Mama, Devon!

I am an herbalist, farmer, cook, and forager. I get my hands dirty and am not afraid to do things the "hard way". Sharing my Nitty Gritty Life with you! Read More



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