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First, ferment the serrano peppers. Process your fresh peppers in a food processor. If you don’t have a processor, use a mortar and pestle or simply rough chop them. Pack them into a jar, leaving at least 1 inch of head space. The peppers may rise a bit when fermenting.
Next, mix 1 quart unchlorinated water with 3 tablespoons sea salt. Pour just enough brine over the peppers to cover them, pressing them down a bit as you go. Discard or save any remaining brine for another use. It is important to keep the peppers covered with brine to avoid spoilage. Check this daily.
Screw on the lid and set the jar away from direct sunlight to ferment for at least 1 week. Ideal temperatures are between 55-75 degrees F. The most active fermentation period is between 1-2 weeks, sobe sure to monitor it during this time. “Burp” the jars often by unscrewing the lid a bit to let out some of the accumulating gases. Or, use an airlock or membrane for easier fermenting. See our page, “How to Make Fermented Pepper Mash”, for further instruction.
After 1-2 weeks, the fermenting activity will diminish and the brine will turn cloudy and taste acidic.
Pour the fermented serrano peppers, including the brine, into a pot along with garlic, vinegar and tequila. Bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. NOTE: If you feel the brine will make your hot sauce too salty, you can strain the peppers and use fresh water instead, just enough to cover the peppers in the pot. Or, use a combination of brine and fresh water.
Cool slightly then add to a food processor with the lime juice. Process until smooth.
Strain the mixture to remove the solids, if desired. Pour into hot sauce bottles and enjoy.