Tabasco hot sauce

taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)October 31, 2010

I have a bunch of tabasco and jalape�o peppers that I would like to combine and pickle like the green/yellow pepper sauce registered by Tabasco.

Do I just need to combine equal parts water, cider vinegar and add salt/garlic to taste, then bring to a boil and pour over peppers in woozy for a frige mix? How long would they last if kept refrigerated. This is all new to me but I've been looking through a lot of these type of recipes today.

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readinglady(z8 OR)

You can, but it won't taste the same. Tabasco sauces are fermented peppers which are aged in oak (I think.) barrels. A fermented sauce acquires an entirely different flavor.

Each can be good in its own way, but replicating or even coming reasonably close to any Tabasco sauce requires using a similar method.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 1:47AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


I make a lot of hot sauce based on the recipe below, which is from a book by Jean Andrews, apparently once the Hot Pepper Queen of food-dom. ;-) It doesn't taste exactly like Tabasco sauce but it sure is good, and you can use whatever kind of hot pepper you like the flavour and heat level of.

I use mostly Hot Portugals. I don't know exactly how much a tabasco weighs, but to get the "consistency of rich cream" with 1/2 to 3/4 cup vinegar as described below I use about 1.5 ounces chopped hot peppers.

I use cider vinegar, and double the garlic cloves. Sometimes I add a peeled tomato or two (with red peppers; if you do this with a green hot pepper the sauce comes out a yucky brown colour). And I've never bothered with a sieve. I like the bit of texture of the occasional small shred of pepper.

Jean Andrews' instructions go on to suggest open-kettle sealing in a "sterilized bottle" and keeping on the shelf.

I personally have canned this hot sauce in 4-oz jars and processed in BWB for ten minutes; in 100% vinegar I, me, personally feel comfortable with it. But I have not found a recent, USDA-approved source that has tested it so I'm not recommending that.

It keeps for at least a month in the fridge (I've never had a small jar last longer than that!), and freezes well (you could do it in ice cube trays to have serving-size portions all ready to go).

And hot peppers themselves freeze well, so you could freeze them and make batches of hot sauce as needed.

I will warn you that making this stuff makes breathing in one's kitchen a little interesting! Ventilation highly recommended.


Homemade "Tabasco" Sauce
Jean Andrews

12 Tabasco chiles
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 to 1 cup herbed chili vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

In a small nonreactive saucepan, boil the
chiles and garlic in 1/2 cup of the vinegar until tender. Place in a blender with the salt and sugar and puree. Run through a metal sieve if necessary.

Dilute this paste with more vinegar until it is the consistency of rich cream.


Happy hot saucing!


    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:06AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Thank you! I don't really care if it tastes different, just wanted another easy way to preserve the peppers so I can use them to spice some meals up later on and certain foods will benefit from the addition of vinegar. I already have plenty dried and frozen. I could be wrong but I think it's just the red pepper sauce that's aged in barrels. The vinegar/liquid is fairy clear in the bottles I'm thinking of. It could be pure vinegar w/o water in fact.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:29AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


I think you'll like it!

Rereading my post above I see I wasn't necessarily clear that this is an old recipe---I think from the 80s---and that I DON'T recommend the author's suggestion of "open-kettle" canning. (That's why I cut that part off the recipe.)

And I don't have a recent, USDA-approved source for a recipe like this being canned in in a boiling water bath. I do it but my tolerance for canning risk is not zero, only very very low (which means around here I am considered something of a cowboy. ;-) )

But it sounds like you're looking for something to keep in the fridge or freezer, in which case it'd suit you just fine.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 3:29PM
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Ummm - isn't that "cowgirl" Zab? I thought I was the cowboy here ;-)

Funny to see your post today as I just made some tabasco sauce yesterday, and coincidentally used the same recipe (and I was winging it!). Came out real nice. Hopefully I'll get some more Tabasco peppers to ripen before the hard frost - these peppers sure ripen slowly!


    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 6:13PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Howdy, Tom! Nice to see y'all over here.

The problem with anything ending in "girl" is it's hard to get respect. And somehow "cowwoman" doesn't exactly inspire any either.... ;-)

Hey, if you have some real life tabasco peppers, maybe you can answer a question for me: how much do they weigh?

Jean Andrews' original recipe called for 12 tabascos, and I've been winging it in converting to the peppers I grow. I've never had a real-live tabasco, and online research revealed all kinds of info about these peppers, including length, history, and days to maturity, but nowehere a typical weight (way more research than the question was worth, as I got stubbornly annoyed I couldn't find it!).

As for ripening peppers, up here in the True North Strong and Free we've had hard frost for weeks. Had to pick a lot of my peppers green; I made a green batch and a red batch of Hot Portugal hot sauce.



    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:07AM
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Hi Z,

How about "cowlady"? Better yet, Wildlady! After all, the crazy chances you take with unapproved recipes is truly wild! ;-)

This is my first year with Tabasco peppers. The plant is huge, and the peppers grow pointing up instead of down - looks weird but pretty. The peppers are a light creamy color, and eventually ripen to a soft red. Takes forever though as I picked my first lot just yesterday.

Tabascos are the only peppers that are juicy and solid, i.e. not hollow. They are very small - mine are only about 1" long, although I believe they can get a little larger under ideal conditions. It's dark and rainy here now, but I'll pick and weigh some tomorrow to get you a weight per pepper.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 7:07PM
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spiced_ham(z5 OH)

It sounds like you want hot pepper vinegar (whole unripe peppers in vinegar) similar to sport peppers. When I lived in Louisiana, Trappeys sold tabasco peppers in vinegar, but I don't remember the Tabasco brand selling them. Basically you just pack the peppers into a jar and pour boiling vinegar over them, cap and put in the refrigerator and wait several weeks for the flavor to develop before using.

Google hot pepper vinegar for recipes.

I poke each pepper with a knife first, add a little pickling salt or kosher salt (non iodized)--optional, pour in the vinegar, cap and and cover with boiling water for ten minutes to set the lids/can them. With straight vinegar you don't have to worry too much about spoilage.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:09PM
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Okay Zabs, I picked some Tabasco peppers today and weighed them. There are 29 peppers to the ounce, or 1 gram each. Mine are only one inch long, so they may be a little smaller than typical, but I'm not sure.

I don't worry about the exact ratio of peppers to vinegar since the recipe calls for 100% vinegar with no water. The batch I made used about 3/4 cup on Tabasco peppers with 1 & 1/2 cups of vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic, and a teaspoon of salt. I added it all to a blender and liquified it, then poured it into a small pot and simmered it (covered) for about 20 minutes. When cooled, I poured it through a fine strainer, pressing the solids with a spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. I keep mine in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator - it lasts all year.

BTW, don't discard the solids in the strainer. I place this "mash" in a ziplock bag, press it flat into a thin "book", and freeze it. It's easy to just break off pieces as needed to add to dishes I'm cooking.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 5:30PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Thanks, Tom!

I haven't ever even bothered straining---I like a little texture in my hot sauce. Means I apply it with a spoon rather than from a squeeze bottle, though.

You method does sound very efficient. And removing the solids with a strainer might remove any lingering hesitation any of my less cowlady-like friends might have about the safety of canning this.

I think I read that the typical Tabasco pepper is 2 inches long (presumably they are native to a climate hotter than yours, let alone minme!), so if yours are an inch, a "typical" one might be about twice that. Jean Andrews' recipe might reasonably be considered to call for an ounce or so of peppers.

Thaks much! Happy hot sauce!


    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 2:44PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

spiced ham you are right. It was Trappeys brand. I tried google first but couldn't find one to my liking.

Tom yours sounds doable for the ripe peppers. Have you tried this with green ones? Freezing in sheets also a good idea for me, a single guy.

Z I like a little texture also. That's why I wanted to keep the peppers whole. I'll have to look for this book by Jean Andrews though and at least thumb through if I can find it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 2:05PM
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Hi Taz,

I have not tried making a hot sauce from green peppers, but it should work just as well. Some peppers will ripen quickly when placed in an oven and warmed just by the pilot light. My Tabascos reddened in just two days.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 7:37PM
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I've owned the Jean Andrews book for years too.

A must-have book (IMO) for heat lovers is "The Hot Sauce Bible" by DeWitt. Many recipes for sauces, salsas, chutneys, ketchups, curries and pastes.

Goodness only knows how many hot sauces I've sampled in the last dozen years from all over the world. Over a hundred for sure. My fav commercially mfg one is made with datil peppers.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 8:26PM
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for good discussions on hot sauce making both vinegar and fermenting.

There is much more on this web site on hot peppers. I am linking you to the sauce making. look over the entire site.

Here is a link that might be useful: hot sauce making

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:30PM
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i've been making hot sauce for 30 years under the unmarketed name of 2 hot 4 u maybe you've tried's a trick i learned from an old moonshiner who wanted his shine to taste like real whisky. dont put your sauce in barrels put the barrel in your sauce. cut a nice fresh clean piece of oak the right size for your container and smoke it a little in your bbq with your favorite fruitwood. i like apple and grapevine but mulberry is good too.put it in your sauce to age.if you ferment the sauce too it should taste a lot like mclehenneys. they just ferment thetabascos in salt and water in a barrel and strain them. i dont think they smoke their barrels but i like a bit of 30 yrs i have never gotten sick from all the experiments in canning fermenting and processing. dont know what all the fuss is about. use salt and the wild yeasts that are blowin in the wind

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 10:59PM
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Good tip ricjo22 I was wondering the other day if a few wood chips wood add more of an original flavor. Sorta like they use in wine and beer making.

Tabasco makes a mash first and then makes the sauce. They also sell mash - last time we went to Avery Island we bought some.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 6:13AM
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Found 6 Tabasco sauce recipes

The Original McIlhenny method
1947 Tabasco Sauce Recipe
Homemade Tabasco Style Sauce " Dave DeWitt
Homemade Tabasco Sauce " Jean Andrews
Fermented Pepper Sauces (Tabasco)
Quick & Easy Fermented Tabasco Sauce

Here is a link that might be useful: 6 Tabasco sauce recipes

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 4:55PM
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