Fermentation is carried out by facultative anaerobic homofermentative strains such as Lactobacillum plantarum and Pediococcus cereviseae. L plantarum produces acetic and lactic acids as well as ethanol and gas (CO2 and H2). The peppers are then immersed in 10% brine for 4 to 6 weeks, sometimes with 0.5 to 1% sucrose as well as hot pepper cell fluid containing carbohydrates, nitrogen compounds, and minerals among other things. The cell fluid from the peppers, however, tends to dilute the brine. For this reason, it is necessary to add 1% salt daily during the first week, and three times a week during the rest of the immersion time, in order to keep the desired brine concentration (18-20%). The peppers must be completely covered by the brine at all times.
Fermentation takes place in 4 to 6 weeks. It is carried out in closed tanks, with a vent to allow gas formed during the process to dissipate. At the end of the fermentation period, the peppers, originally bright green, turn into olive green. The plant tissue also changes, taking on a translucent aspect. Acid concentration increases from 0.8 to 1.5% (expressed as lactic acid), promoting a decrease in pH. The peppers are then washed to eliminate salt excess, classified according to their size, placed in glass jars or plastic bags, mixed with other vegetables, usually carrots and onions, and covered with vinegar.
Fermented jalapeiio peppers are highly perishable if the vinegar has less than 3% acetic acid. In this case, pasteurization is necessary. It is carried out over 30 min at 71 °C (for glass jars containing 280 g of product). Finally, the product is labeled, packaged, and stored in a similar way as for pickled (nonfermented) jalapeiio peppers.
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