In the post Pepper Harvest there is a picture of the peppers used to start this hot sauce. It takes a few steps to get to the finished product but the sauce turned out hot and flavorful. I ended up with 1.25 pounds of peppers when the stems were removed. Keep in mind that every utensil used preparing hot sauce needs to be non-reactive (stainless steel, glass, or plastic), no aluminum or copper cladding.
First the recipe per quarter pound of peppers:
- 1/4 pound hot peppers (mine were cayenne and Tabascos)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- vinegar as required
Simple recipe full of strong flavors. Be prepared, some will consider the smell extremely strong and could develop burning in the eyes while preparing hot sauce. First cut the peppers, onion, and garlic up slightly and add to a pot with the salt.
Gently warm this mixture, stirring often, over low heat until the salt and heat starts to bring the water out. Continue over a little higher heat to cook until the onions start to become translucent and most of the water has been evaporated off. Stir often to avoid burning the mixture. If you can stand the vapor coming off the mixture this can be done quickly at higher heat while stirring continuously, otherwise expect 15 to 20 minutes.
When most of the water is cooked off, add just enough vinegar to cover the mixture.
Remember it's easier to add more vinegar later than it is to take it out. Bring this to a boil, cover and simmer until the peppers are very soft (about 15 minutes).
Next use a food processor to puree the mixture.
If you wanted to generate more heat in the sauce you could let this set over night or for a few days to extract more heat from the seeds. Otherwise, next the mixture goes through a food mill to separate the seeds and any remaining skin from the pepper. A fine colander could also be used but the food mill will be quicker. Again, make sure the food mill or colander is non-reactive.
At this point look at the consistency of the sauce, if it's thicker than you want simply whisk in more vinegar. If it's too thin, place it back on the stove and simmer it down to where you want it. Also give it a taste to see if it needs more salt. The amount of salt can be affected by the type of pepper and the brand of vinegar so a taste at this point is necessary.
Now all that's left is to bottle the creation. I used Woozy bottles that can be purchased easily online along with additional caps and dripper attachments to reuse the bottles. It can just as easily be canned in regular canning jars. The Woozy bottles and lids will seal using the hot water canning method but can not stand the heat of a pressure canner. After hot water canning in the Woozy bottle the sauce can set on the counter and be good for several years.
Caution should be used in making hot sauce. This is a very fragrant recipe when heated and adequate ventilation is necessary. Some recommend bringing in a spare fan or even doing the cooking outdoors, maybe on the side burner of a grill. Anytime I am cutting up this many peppers gloves are required. The capsaicin from the peppers may irritate the skin or at a minimum become a hazard if you rub your eyes, or any other area of your body with sensitive skin for that matter.