In the video below I show how I harvest, ferment, bottle, and taste my own hot sauce made from pure ghost peppers. I use a combination of apple cider vinegar and distilled white vinegar during the blending and bottling stage. I also do a sauce tasting at the end of the video.
The reason that we ferment rather than pasteurize, is because we do not want to kill the good bacteria. These bacteria are called probiotic, and are beneficial for your digestive system. On the other hand, pasteurization which entails ‘heat treating‘, kills off all these good bacteria
Ideally you should use a wide mouth mason jar with some sort of airlock. There are now waterless silicone airlocks available, that screw directly on to your existing mason jars. These airlocks are maintenance free. Alternatively, you can buy a Fermentation Kit plus the mason jars. In this batch, as you can see, I mix 8% of sea salt to make up my brine. That is approximately 80 grams of salt per litre of water. This is probably a bit on the high side, but it turned out fine, and fermented in 6 days. The batch I did previously was with only 4% salt. You can use pickling salt instead of sea salt if you so wish. Do not use normal table salt (sodium chloride).
Another advantage of fermenting is that it lowers the PH of the mixture to 4 or less, which increases the shelf life of the sauce. You can use a PH Meter to check if you so wish. You should certainly have it below 4.6 to prevent spores growing. Fermented hot sauces should be kept in a cool place or refrigerated after bottling.
You can use a tiny amount of xanthan gum to thicken your sauce. It stabilizes the liquid and suspends the particles in the sauce. About 1/4 teaspoon is all that is needed for a batch of around one pint (470ml).