Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Gardening News! Aug. 28, 2011 "Let's Make Hot Sauce!"

Making Hot Sauce!

Look, at, those beauties!
Aren't they gorgeous! Hub took the picture with his telephone so that I could show you the raw ingredients to making your very own hot sauce.
I have always loved hot sauce. My favorite is Texas Pete which is not too hot really and has a robust cayenne pepper aroma that I can't get enough of. I put it on all sorts of things. Like cottage cheese. LOL
This year, I grew 8 cayenne pepper plants just to make hot sauce out of and got my first harvest or red ripe peppers and so it's off we go to make our sauce!
Making hot sauce is actually a lot easier than you might think.
I use a blender or food processor, a potato ricer, strainer and various spoons and things.  I don't have a real recipe but tend to throw things together and taste, but you will need

Cayenne or other hot peppers
I use a few small onions but you can leave those out if you like
plenty of garlic
distilled white vinegar
canning jars and lids and rings or nice bottles.
vinyl or latex gloves if you have them

clean everything good in preparation for hot sauce making.
I didn't have any vinyl or latex gloves so I held the peppers by their stems and snipped them with scissors and let them fall right into the food processor.
you can use any method you like for chopping your peppers, just whatever you have on hand and works for you, the object is to end up with chopped up peppers.
chop the garlic and onions if you include them and put all the vegetables into pot.
I use a stainless steel pot, or enamel as the vinegar in this might bring an off flavor to the sauce if you used aluminum or iron cookware.
Add water or vinegar to the mixture, enough to keep peppers from scorching and gently bring to a nice simmer. Cover and allow to cook until your peppers and garlic and onions are nice and  tender.
You will have the most wonderful aroma in your kitchen! You may want to open a window and use a fan though if the fumes get too strong or bother sensitive family members.
It is a good idea to avoid holding your head over a boiling pot of cayenne or habanero peppers. LOL
Pepper spray works for a reason!
at some point you'll need to get your jars or bottles sterile so get yourself a water-bath going and have your containers boiling for at least 10 min. to sterilize.
Once the peppers are tender, get a big bowl and put your potato ricer over it and add the peppers. You can let them cool down a little first to keep from burning yourself.  process the vegetables and discard the skins and seeds. When this step is done you can go ahead and add your salt and vinegar and can it or, you can put this through a wire strainer to get a smoother sauce. This is helpful if you intend to use traditional shaker type bottles as you will need the sauce you come easily through the little hole.
This year, when I strained my sauce, rather than discard the beautiful red paste material left in the strainer, I spread it on parchment paper and dehydrated it to use later in chili or soups! It turned out really good to.
After straining, in order for your sauce to be table stable, it will need to be 25% vinegar. So, if you have a quart of sauce you'll want to add a half pint of vinegar to the mix. I process the sauce in water bath like for tomatoes. 30 min. pints and 45 for quarts. This year I was using a couple Grolsch beer bottles for some sauce and did them a bit differently. I processed them with the caps open because those bottles aren't designed to seal like canning jars. So far, it has worked out really well but you may want to be on the safe side and use canning jars. you can always transfer the sauce to nice bottles after opening.
I had a couple other little bottles I used too. Here's a picture for you.

 Look at that color!
there are other hot sauce making methods, here are a couple sites with good information for you to check out.
This one, at wikihow, includes tomato sauce. Even the NYT has a piece on hot sauce making!
Playing With Fire: Hot-Sauce Recipes
and of course, youtube videos!

I hope you guys will try making some of your own hot or mild or not even hot, sauces! They are a wonderful reminder in the winter of warm summer days!

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