Let's Make Hot Sauce Discussion

koreykJuly 18, 2007

I wanna make a hot sauce like the Tabasco type. Watery and hot and flavorful and ready to sprinkle on pizza and other foods. This is not about Hot salsa or other thick type sauces.

I would like to begin with an excellent posting by Kendra on another thread. It seems excellent and worthy of discussion. I hope Kendra does not mind moving it over to a new thread.


Posted by ardnek710 z6 stlouis (My Page) on Sun, Jul 15, 07 at 18:32

koreyk>>the vinegar is a preservative that keeps the acidity of the final sauce low enough to prevent microbial and fungal growth outside of a refrigerator setting.

Generally speaking in a home made hotsauce, salt is irrelevant although in the quantities that Tobasco uses, it also is a preservative.

If you don't want to add vinegar at all to your hot sauce, you probably need to ferment using lactic acid fermentation (whole long other discussion, not going into here..:)). This also provides you with the required low acidity to store outside the refrigerator.

If you don't mind storing in the fridge and possible having to throw some away if it goes bad you can pretty much do whatever you want and don't have to add any preservative agents

We make hot sauce that is vinegar based. We put the chile pods whole or sliced into jars filled with 5% vinegar(kind you buy at store) and store the jars for atleast 6 months. This allows the vinegar to mellow and the chile flavor to infuse. Then drain the vinegar off (but save it), put the softened peppers in the blender/cuisinart and blend until smooth. Add the vinegar back to the mix until you get a consistancy that you like. Add any other flavorings you want (i.e. garlic, cilantro, tomato, onion etc) and mix.

Depending on what you add and how acidic it is you can store outside of the fridge or inside the fridge.


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The first question revolves around the two basic processes of lactic acid fermentation and vinegar based. What do people prefer and why. What are some differences. Is it worth the effort and expense and time to ferment the peppers. Maybe the fast easy vinegar method is just as good.

Does anyone have anything to add to what Kendra shares here.

I might want to strain the seeds and pulp out of the mixture so it flows better. Maybe I should consider leaving bits and pieces of seeds, cilantro and onion in the sauce and use a bigger bottle to pour it out. a touch of sweetner might be nice. sugar might ferment. splenda is no calorie.

How about cooking the peppers to soften them up immediately and finish the hot sauce in one day or so.

NO SALT sounds kind of radical. has anyone made sauce with NO Salt at all.

What hot peppers have people liked to grow and use to make a sauce.

I am thinking of doing a pressure cook. Put some into quart jars with or without vinegar and pressure cook the peppers in the jars. Remove let cool down and hopefully they are mushy and ready for the blender food processor. process and add a little vinegar and let sit to mellow.

One advantage is I can then pressure cook the garlic cilantro, onion etc and make them ready for the blender also.

Right now I am using between 1 and 2 gallons of hot sauce myself. that is close to a 5 ounce bottle every week. Although I have a half gallon plastic bottle with a squirter on top. The same kind you see with mustard and katchup at some counters or hot dog stands. You push down on the plunger and out comes the hot sauce.
What recipes have people liked in general. I am not sure on tomato but garlic, cilantro and onion sound good with some sweetener might be good. just a touch of sweetner to take some of the bite out and smooth the taste.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 10:27AM
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Here is how I do it:

1 - Pick peppers
2 - Cut off stems
3 - Add peppers to sauce pan
4 - Add kosher/sea salt to roughly 10% - 15% of volume of peppers
5 - Add enough vinegar to cover peppers
6 - Bring to a boil and boil for 5 - 10 minutes
7 - Remove from heat
8 - Puree the mixture (blender etc.)
9 - Run the puree through a mesh strainer
10 - Bottle and enjoy

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 5:20PM
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ardnek710(z6 stlouis)

some answers from my perspective:

1.straining seeds/pulp--we do it both ways depending on what type of chili. We also will use an immersion blender to smooth out the mix before deciding whether or not to strain.

2.cooking them to soften them ahead of time works also, we just like to let the vinegar mellow for a while and the capsaicin to extract out of the chile into the vinegar. However, you could do this in one day and you might want to use a rice wine vinegar or a white wine vinegar instead of traditional white or cider. As long as you are using 5% or stronger vinegar you are okay.

3.we don't add any salt to alot of the hot sauces or if we add any salt we don't add until we are at the blending stage and it is just to taste.

4. fave peppers for hot sauces include, chocolate habanero, datil, fatalli, purira, jalepeno, large black pequin (or any pequin), francesca, red savina, chiero recife, hinkle hatz

5. if you use vinegar to can your peppers you only have to use a Boiling Water Bath. If you use some other non acidic liquid you would have to use a pressure canner. Any other ingredients lowers the acidity of your product and depeding again on whether you pack vinegar in the jars or some other liquid you may have to use the pressure canner instead of the Boiling water bath. But either one should sufficiently soften up the peppers (garlic might take a while to soften to the point you can mash it easily). Note cilantro loses flavor when heated and may be best added after the rest of the sauce is finished. You could also add some sugar if you like to taste or splenda and you should not have to worry about growth problems as long as it is a small amount.

6. can't help with recipes as we don't follow any recipes and most of our sauces are almost pure pepper mash with just enough vinegar to keep it safe and liquid. We also usually combine different peppers after we puree for different flavor combinations.
Also these sauces can be smoked on the bbq pit (something we do with quite alot of them to add a nice earthy smoky flavour)


    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 6:25PM
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I am using your method of putting sliced peppers in vinegar and waiting a few months for them to be ready for sauce. After pureeing, how do I boiling water bath if I am keeping the sauce in the 5oz woozy bottles? Caps on while boiling? How much headspace? How long in the bath? Also, do you need to keep the jars of sliced peppers and vinegar in the refrigerator, or are they ok in the pantry?


    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 8:51PM
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nuggs(8a (AL))

This discussion is relevant to my interests. I'm currently freezing up my overabundance of habs and it occurred to me that I should make sauce out of them so as to enjoy them during Winter months, but I have never tried this before. In addition to Bryce's questions I'd like to ask the following:

☆ Should the final product be controlled for pH before bottling by addition of vinegar if necessary?

☆ Given that pH has been established at or below 4.0, and that bottles have been properly sterilized and sealed, how long is the shelf life in a room temp cabinet, how long in the refrigerator?

☆ Where is a good place to buy bottles / caps?

Many Thanks,

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 11:07PM
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ardnek710(z6 stlouis)

lets see if I can answer this stuff..:)

You don't need to use a boiling water bath if you are bottling in 5 oz woozies. You want to make sure the ph of your sauce is below 4. If that is the case, you need to heat your sauce up in a stock pot to 185 degrees. Then you pour your hotsauce into the woozy jars hot out of the stock pot and put your caps on. Thats it. The woozy bottles in the home kitchen are designed to be used for a product with an acceptably low ph.
If you don't know what the ph of your sauce is or you know it is not low enough than you can use regular canning mason jars and these are the ones you would use in the Boiling water bath (pint jar with 1/2 inch headspace, probably 10-15 minutes).
We actually use the mason jars to hold the vinegar and the sliced peppers while in storage and we put them in the Boiling water bath so we can store them in the basement for long periods of time (these would be quart jars with 1/2 inch headspace for 15 minutes in BWB). Althouth theoretically, if you use all vinegar of 5% or stronger you shouldn't have to seal the jars of pepper slices or keep them in the fridge, they should be stable in the pantry or a cool dark location. Then after we puree and verify ph level we heat up and bottle in the woozys.

nuggs>>yes the ph should be tested and should be below 4, we use vinegar to accomplish this. As far as shelf life on a properly sealed item, right now we are opening jars of chopped chile and vinegar (yet to be pureed) that were sealed in 2004. If you check the USDA or Ball canning websites, they will tell you 1 year shelflife, but I know our properly canned items last for alot longer than that.
We also freeze all our extra pods every year, that way you can enjoy them anyway you want during the winter, you can make sauce, you can thaw and dehydrate into powder, or you can chop up and add to stir fry or any other dish you are cooking at the time.

bottle suppliers,
www.peppermania.com (good friend, excellent person to deal with and really cool stuff on their site)

www.specialtybottle.com (good customer service)

There are others out there, try googling "hot sauce bottle" or "woozy bottle"


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 12:17AM
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nenewbie(6a MA)

Just a note related to consistency. I have made sauce with both fresh peppers blended up and mixed with vinegar and other ingredients as well as dried peppers then blended into a powder and mixed with the same ingredients. If you are looking for a consistency like Tabasco or Franks I recommend drying the peppers and then blending them into powder. When I did this the consistency was very even and when I blended fresh peppers I always seem to end up with a lot of settling. I will say the one sauce I made with dried peppers did not have the taste I was looking for but at this point I am working on the assumption that it was related more to the peppers and other ingredients than the fact that I dried them.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 2:01PM
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I bought a juicer this year to help with making some hot sauce!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:10PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Koreyk...you wild man! That's going thru a lot of hot sauce! I'm guessing you even put this stuff on cereal.

I agree with Ardnek that if properly canned, your stuff will last longer than 1 year. I've pulled jars of my salsa out that were 3 or more years old and they were fine. Nice addition concerning the flavor loss of cilantro when heated. Always wondered where the heck that went!

I put in a chocolate and red habanero this year and want to try some sauces. I normally used them to make jelly. Thanks for the links to bottle suppliers.

I live in Columbus, Oh...home of one of the main "fire" dudes CaJohns Fiery Foods. We go there occassionally during our lunch hour and sample new products and old favorites. By the time we are ready to leave, everyone has a major sweat going!

If possible, I'd like to hear from those whose attempts did not turn out so well or not at all. What happened? What did you learn? Thanks all.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 7:45AM
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Wonderful thread on making your own sauce, thanks. I make my own sauces as well, and have a complete setup just for production. I age my mash for about a month in a salt and vinegar solution and add spices and water and cook at 200 degrees F for about a half hour. I have a stainless steel kettle I made out of an old beer keg to cook the sauce in. I have a spigot welded into the bottom and once the sauce is cooked I open a valve and pass the sauce through a continuous feed blender to puree'. The blender pulverizes everything so I do not need to strain out the solids. Of course my sauce is a little thicker than water. Overall it works pretty good. I make about 3 gallons of sauce at a time wich works out to about 9 or 10 cases of 5oz woozies.

I'm still looking for a good source for waterproof labels for the 5oz woozies though. Anybody know of a good place online to have them done??

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 3:41PM
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This link may be helpful in finding labels;


    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 7:27PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

How are you folks measuring PH in your sauces?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 12:59PM
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ardnek710(z6 stlouis)

I use a ph meter. I bought it on ebay, although they sell them all over. It was about $35. Comes with some calibrating solutions and operates on batteries.
litmus paper is not exact enough for these purposes


    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 9:42PM
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I find it interesting that no one is fermenting the peppers. Tabasco claims you have to ferment them for 3 years. Everyone seems to have instant recipes. Same with pickles today. I had some home made pickles that were superb and only 2 days in the jar.

I wonder if there is any difference in fermented and quick hot sauce. Is the flavor really so much better as Tabasco company claims after 3 years in a barrel. I doubt it. But it should be better if fermented ????

Lactic acid is suppose to have a smoother taste then vinegar. I really like pickles more than cucumbers. although both are good the pickle has a special taste and flavor. I would think the same would happen if you fermented the hot peppers. But no one seems to do that.

Anyone out there fermenting hot sauce the old fashioned way???

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 10:36PM
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> Anyone out there fermenting hot sauce the old fashioned way???

Yes & no. Will reply more later as am really swamped at the moment.

In the meantime.....

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

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 10:51AM
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John I went to the web site and read about chili sauce causing botulism. Your link gave no clues on the right way to make hot sauce. Anyway toward the end it said.

About 25 cases of food-borne botulism are reported in the United States each year. Most stem from food canned at home, CDC officials said.

Symptoms include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness that moves down the body, according to the CDC.

Eventually, paralysis can cause a person to stop breathing and die, unless supported by a ventilator. Most victims recover after weeks to months of care.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:24PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

They paint such a pretty picture don't they? I believe if you follow a few specific rules and procedures with canning, things should be okay. I've never had any problems with canning my salsa..except that one time a jar was in the fridge for quite a while. That seemed to produce a few of the above symptoms!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 7:00AM
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> Your link gave no clues on the right way to make hot sauce.

Sure didn't. OK... fishing with the grandkids tomorrow & hoping to start a new hot pepper ferment this weekend. I have a lot of Datil pods ripe and ready to pick. I have a TON of C. chinese ready to pick and use too.

You will need (for my method) some sourdough hooch or Kefir whey for a bacteria starter. If you already know how to make sourdough starter... great, if not I'll post a link. (I DO NOT use packaged yeast) Carrots, sour apples, onions & canning salt are other main ingredients. Raisins & celery sometimes too. Or you can ferment just the peppers and add ingredients later if you decide to process (can) the mess.

Contrary to instructions, I make sourdough with 2 parts distilled water to 1 part organic flour as am making for the hooch and not for baking.

A search of my gardenwebbie userid will most likely give a lot of hits for fermenting.


Here is a link that might be useful: sourdough starter

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:54PM
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I can get everything.

My local health food store sells kefir starter in packages.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 6:40AM
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It might be Sunday before I make this. I've made very similar to this concoction before and turned out reasonably well. Here is one of them:

The ingredients don't have to be exact. What I think is important is keeping the water to contents ratio at two to one since I won't be using weights to keep the mash compressed and will rely on occasional shaking to release gas bubbles and prevent frothing.

By weight

4 parts peppers
1 part onions
1 part carrots
1 part sour apple (Granny Smith)
1/2 part tomatoes

Liquify in blender keeping track of the amt of water added. I want 2 liquid oz water to 1 liquid oz ingredients. I use distilled water.

For each 28 oz of above mash add to the blender...

1 tbs canning salt
2 tbs sourdough hooch or Kefir whey
A couple grinds fresh black pepper
6 leaves fresh Mexican Oregano
2 garlic cloves
3" celery
1/8 cup raisins

Pour into canning jars or woozies and tighten caps and lids finger tight like you would for canning. Leave at least 1" space between mash and lid for pints and woozies. For quarts leave 1 1/2" space.

Place in warm place out of the sun. Peppers want over 80 for a fast start. In 2 or 3 days you should notice bubbles occasionally rising to the top. I give the containers a good shake every day or two and then bang the bottoms on the table to settle the mash. A week or ten days at 80° and is ready for a month or more in my 45° fridge.

If things go smoothely will end up with a sauce that is 3.4 to 3.8 pH and will taste good.

Dried Kefir starter works well and that is how I used to do it. Takes an extra day or two for the fermentaion to get started over using fresh Kefir whey. Fresh sourdough hooch is abt a day faster than Kefir whey. A tbs dried starter per quart will work. I've used less and I've used more.

Now to go pick the pods....

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 10:59AM
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looks good john

do you keep the lids on tight the entire time. I worry the bottle might explode from pressure. or do you open to releave the pressure.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 10:16PM
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> do you keep the lids on tight the entire time. I worry the bottle might explode from pressure. or do you open to releave the pressure.

I keep the lids on tight. For a while I was purposely trying to get a jar to explode by tightening down extra tight. Never happened. And all too often juice would still squeeze out along with the gas especially with sauerkraut and hot pepper mash. Adding more water to the recipes seems to have corrected that. Plus I keep an eye on them and shake if necessary.

Now I tighten only finger tight like one would for regular canning.

Occasionally I open one at the end of the 1st week or 10 days to sample pH and taste. Then into the 45° fridge for a month or so. I've never seen kahm yeast mold develop because of this short period of air contamination. I expect because of the already low pH and that the mash continues to ferment in the colder fridge.

Woozy bottles I've been warned are more likely to explode than canning jars and if you check them closely you can see that the manufacturing is rather crude on the 5 oz bottles especially.

Made the mash yesterday and is in the fridge. Going fishing this morning and will add the starters and bottle it up today. Pictures and exact recipe should be coming soon after.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 6:21AM
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I would rather ferment in a quart and then bottle into woozies at the end. Well I will have to give it a try and then in the mist of the battle maybe have a question for you.

Unfortunately my pepper crop is very disappointing this year so far. I definitely will wind up with a small crop. Not enough peppers of one variety to make a batch. I am going to have to mix peppers to get a batch. This is disappointing for me. Even my jalapeno are not doing well. Although I can do a small jalapeno batch that is not really too exciting. I would prefer a good batch on some other ones.

well come to think of it there is still 2 months to go to freeze. there is time for a crop. hope things go better now in the pepper garden.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 7:15AM
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I rather prefer pint jars for all my fermenting.

If you do decide to pour into woozys after fermenting in a quart jar then the woozys should be hot packed water bath processed for storing at room temps. Or kept under refrigeration immediately assuming the pH tests out 3.8 or lower.

Ended up with 3 pint jars this morning. Head space was about 1 1/2" and I think just right for pints and quarts both even though I think said 1" for pints earlier.

Taste test of the mash before fermenting went as usual... too salty and not crazy about the taste even though plenty hot. When finished I'll probably once again say needs salt. LOL And the taste will be much better. A hot yellow onion would have been much better than the Vidalia that I used. Ticks me off that I didn't use a hot yellow or red.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 1:28PM
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well I just got done making a sauce using my juice-man... Freaking awesome! You get the juice from the peppers and still have pulp left over to make seasoning! the sauce I am eating right now has a great pepper flavor! Wish I had more stuff to mix it down.... Have most of it in the fridge with Vinegar mixed in and some garlic.

Eating chicken and using the sauce as a dipping sauce right now and boy am I sweating like a *^%&^%

I used a bunch of different peppers this time, however next harbvest I'll make seperate sauces for each pepper.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 12:39AM
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Beautiful jars. How do you get to print words across your pictures. Awesome.

Web of HotSauce

Sounds awesome. I thought it might not work. so you have one of these juicer items that will turn everything into juice. never used one but I know where I can borrow one. I assume your recipe is pepper juice and some vinegar and garlic. love the garlic.

can you put garlic through the juicer

I always thought the juicer would be good to make some carrot juice to add to habs for sauce. I think it is the caribbian sauce that uses carrots with habs if I remember correctly. John used some carrots in his sauce. I thought the carrots are so hard. so put them through a juicer and use the juice.

Now I never did this so maybe it is a lot of trouble.

Have you used the juicer to make other juices to add to the hot sauce.

Now John uses some tomato and tomato juice is easy to make. That might be good to try. Hot Bloody Mary.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 8:22AM
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Last night I only used peppers in the juicer. I added some garlic from a jar of minced garlic (I forgot to buy garlic at the store when I bought the vinegar last night) and added a small amount of Rice Vinegar. Some advice though get a mask cuz I coughed and sneezed madly!

You do get a good amount of pulp left over that you can turn into seasoning or whatever you want.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:20AM
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what do you mean turn into seasoning. I am going to guess you mean to dry it out and grind it up into a powder.

But how to dry it out if it is tiny particles already?

Thanks for the tip. I forgot about that problem. I have had some serious problems indoors. even strong stuff outdoors. but with strong peppers like habs I like to work outdoors.

How is the clean up on the juicer. I never used one but dont want a big job of cleaning up for a few ounces of juice.

Overall I think the cook and bottle method is the best and easiest and fastest. Boil it up good and push through a sieve and all done. no mess with a juicer. John wants to ferment but that seems the most work. Your juicer idea still sounds like a bit of work. But the simple boil and bottle with vinegar looks really easy.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 1:41PM
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> John wants to ferment but that seems the most work.

I don't think anyone will disagree with that! LOL

And then to top it off, I dehydrate almost all of the pepper mash fermentations for powder. Dehydrating the leftover pulp is a great idea.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 2:10PM
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What do you mean by this.

>>And then to top it off, I dehydrate almost all of the pepper mash fermentations for powder. Dehydrating the leftover pulp is a great idea.>>

Do you mean you take the quart of hot pepper mash after fermentation and then dry it out to a dry powder. If so that is incredible and how can you do it.

I have taken the stuff and put through a sieve and then take out the pulp and seeds and put that into a separate jar and use it on my food. tastes good. nice and thick and pulpy. But I can not imagine trying to dry down the entire quart of juicy watery hot sauce.

I have dried whole peppers and then ground them up in a blender. that seems more practical then drying an entire quart of wet hot sauce. But drying habanero and other chinese seems to lose the flavor and only keep the heat. I like the flavor. So keeping it wet to retain flavor seems better.

Bye the way. This is turning into a great thread on making hot sauce. Thanks to everyone on their inputs.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 4:02PM
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> Do you mean you take the quart of hot pepper mash after fermentation and then dry it out to a dry powder. If so that is incredible and how can you do it.

It's kinda simple. I line my trays with Saran Wrap and pour the mash in. Oddly enough, the more watery the mixture the better it turns out. I also dehydrate cans of cheese sauce for powder additive. And brick cheeses. Tamarind beans were a challenge, but doable.

Is it worth the trouble? Keeps me somewhat amused.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 4:42PM
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John we need more info. do you use ice cube trays or plastic trays. do you put it out in the sunshine or in a dehydrator. can you show us a picture of doing this. This I find very interesting. Does it stick to the saran wrap. do you heat it on the stove to cook the water away. how deep do you pour the mash to wait for it to dry out.

This is simply an amazing idea John. I would never think of this idea. really cool idea.

I have no idea what you mean by dehydrate cans of cheese sauce for powder additive. what kind of cheese sauce and powder additive to what. This is an amazing whole new ideas. really cool here John.

do you put dry cheese powder into the hot sauce. That might sound cool. I love cheese of course and it goes well with hot peppers.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 8:50PM
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How is the clean up on the juicer. I never used one but dont want a big job of cleaning up for a few ounces of juice.

Clean up is easy as heck! took all of 8 minutes to juice 42 peppers, that is also including the time to cut the stems off, and rinse off the parts on the juicer. Much much faster than you could ever imagine. The sauce that I didn't use tasted even better today after sitting in the fridge a day to blend together more. Can not wait till Saturday for this party where wings will be made with the stuff!

Trust me.... you WILL get a heck of a lot more than just a few ounces of pepper juice! I used a ladle full of sauce last night for the chicken tenders, 8 tablespoons for the burgers just a couple hours ago and still had enough to fill up 2 1/2 5oz bottles. I added maybe 2oz of Vinegar...

these peppers were used

and I will probably fill a 5oz spice jar with the pulp that is drying out right now

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 11:26PM
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WOW those peppers are absolutely Beautiful. Amazing that you have so many red ripe peppers already this early. Nice growing. I see cherry of course. One red c chinese or red habanero type. Jalapeno red green and purple jalapeno. could the one yellow one be a Lemon Drop? Looks like serrano in the upper right area.

I can not be sure on the long ones in the middle looking a little like a short straighter cheyenne and a couple of wide dark purple harder to see.

That all should blend together beautifully. I do tend to like the pulp better than the watery juicy hot sauce. The pulp seems to have more intense flavor. It also looks great spread all over the food. Even the seeds give it a nice look to me.

Mest year my project is to get some good true mexican serrano seeds and some Tabasco among my mix.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 7:48AM
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well there is more than enough pulp left over you can add to the sauce if you want. but the stuff I made had enough thickness too it.

No Serrano this year, the dark ones are black Hungarians. No Purple Jalapeños, they are the Black Hungarians as well. I wish I had more Tabascos growing this year but oh well.

I can not wait though to make a pure Lemon Drop pepper sauce!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 10:25AM
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An update on the ferment...

A very good start for the kefir. The sourdough starter must have been a bit inactive. After I fed it when removed from the fridge should have let stand at room temp for a couple days to make sure was up to par. Little gas bubbles have collected around the mash particles making them float above the water level in the kefir jar. This is why conventional fermenting instructions always tell you to weight down whatever you are fermenting. I'll probably put all 3 jars down in the cooler basement tomorrow. The sourdough ones are working, just a little slower.

I use Adobe Photoshop or PhotoDeluxe to edit photos & put the text on them.


They make special tray inserts for fruit leathers and liquids. Even when I use these inserts I line them with Saran Wrap or more recently a food service wrap that I get at Sams because is wider. A very thin layer of liquid whatever is poured in. Maybe 1/8" or a little more. Using the plastic wrap makes it easier to remove. Many of the concoctions that I'm drying need to be turned over and it helps to break them up into smaller pieces at the same time. Sorry, no pics.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 1:01PM
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OK cool John so you use a dehydrator.

the kefir jar looks like she is bubbling right along.

I was thinking about the dehydration and the fact that you include carrots and garlic and tomatoes etc in the recipe would give some body to dry out. Then I kept thinking that maybe one could dry out really dry some bread crumbs and add that to the hot sauce and dry it out again. of course some bread crumbs in the hot powder should be acceptable and it might make drying it out much easier. What do you think John. I would take some nice rye bread and dry it out really good and grind up the bread crumbs real good in a food processor and blender. and sieve it to get out all the bigger pieces. then mix with the hot sauce and dry it all over again.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 8:03PM
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Another update...

Just wanting to illustrate what a successful ferment start looks like. The bubbles can be much smaller, but we want to see some evidence of activity.


My ferments have never needed any additions for dehydrating for powder. Dehydrating fresh garlic, cheese, tamarind beans etc sometimes needs a flow agent such as silicone dioxide or something else to help with clumping. Similar to adding rice grains to our spice containers to absorb moisture and keep the spice loose enough to shake out. Usually I use panko bread crumbs. They are very light and have almost zero flavor. Same thing that I use for breading fish fillets etc before frying.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 3:33PM
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Nice picture John, Easy to see the bubbles around the edge inside the jar. I hope you let the pressure off the jar.

Interesting the pulp was floating before and now is settled to the bottom. I will be looking for a jar of hot sauce to arrive any day now.

I want a jar of your hot hot hot sauce. I think you called it.

OhMiGawd I think I'm Gonna Die.

That one should be hot enough.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 11:34PM
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I am very new to the world of making hot sauces. I tried and succeeded without a recipe, but I had no idea what I was missing by not fermenting first. I would love some basic guidance on how to ferment a batch of my own peppers. I am very proud of my yield off of 6 plants and I would like to put them to good use.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 1:00AM
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well I just made my first buffalo wing sauce. I used my awesome juicer again! Everyone that likes to make pepper sauce should have one of these things! I should get a free one just by telling so many people the wonders of this unit. my 2nd batch of sauce of the year is already GONE! So even though I have hundreds of peppers to ripen and pick... I dun know if any of it will last long it'll be used up so fast......

BTW I did the crazy.... drank the juice from 3 peppers, they were Black Hungarians not too hot of a pepper but hot when juiced....

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 3:54PM
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this sounds terrible. If you eat the sauce as fast as you make it you will be in withdrawl symptoms all winter. Every one here on GW will have to send you a few pounds of hot peppers to satisfy your addiction.

Can you give us the make and model on this unit and maybe the approximate cost. I think some of us want to look this up. I ask because if I get one I want one that works smooth and is easy to clean. I do not want to simply buy one at random.

What kind of recipe did you use on the buffalo wing sauce. I thought it was pretty much cayennes and tomatoes maybe. probably add some onion and garlic. How well did I guess. of course there is vinegar.

here is a recipe on internet called the greatest buffalo wing sauce. http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1839,132191-246195,00.html


2 cups of dry cayenne peppers (50 grams)
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of chopped onion
1 chopped garlic
1/3 cup of chopped tomato
1 cup of white vinegar
1 stick of butter
1 bottle of Lousiana Hot Sauce
1/2 of the juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of honey
1/4 cup of ketchup

This recipe is one of a kind. Ever since I ventured into making my own kind of chicken wing sauce, my wife, my friends and my family won't stop coming over to have some of this delicious finger-licking good special sauce. And here's how you make it:

you will have to go to the web site to read the rest of this one.

This recipe does not make sense to me. it adds

1 bottle of Lousiana Hot Sauce

which I would guess is about the same as the rest of the recipe. weird.

with all that butter you better keep it in the refrigerator. It will not keep long.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 9:13PM
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Well if you look at the picture above of the peppers I used the first time. That was aboot what I used for peppers. More Super Chilies and a couple more Habanero. I ended up with just under a cup of juice from the peppers. I added maybe 1/3 cup Rice Vinegar, added till there was aboot 1 1/4 cup total. I also added a teaspoon of minced garlic b4 I added the Vinegar. I did the boil thing then put the lid on it. Let it set for 1 1/2 days and added 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs margarine. heated up till butter and margarine was soft enoiugh to mix together. after mixed throughly put in fridge stirring occasionally. let set until I cooked the wings the coated them and ate! I ate more than everyone else.... Supposedly they were too hot :rolls eyes:

But the juicer itself is a Juiceman Jr. I got it on sale for $39.99. It was well worth the $39.99 I paid. There are more expensive ones that claim to get more juice out of your veggies... proly not enough to worry aboot though when dealing with peppers. Oh and BTW make sure ya use a mask or use it outdoors....

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 1:27AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

What about the cleaning up part? I've seen they can be a real pain in the butt to clean up.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 6:54AM
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Woke up yesterday to a really nice example of what I call "frothing". If left alone the gas bubbles and mash on top would be forced out of the tightly sealed lid. This is why I make a watery mash and leave so much headspace. A few shakes of the jar and things will settle back to normal with the gas on top escaping as the pressure builds to a certain level and the mash staying in the jar. Weighting down the mash would prevent this. I prefer not to weight.

A very nice looking start and about time to make some decisions such as how many days do I want to leave at high temps before putting in the 45° fridge and do I want to open one jar to take a pH measurement. Really no need to open as I know from past experience that I have a nicely acidic ferment going on and it will measure below 4 and continue to drop even lower in the fridge. However, I want to try something. Xanthium gum. Will it stabilize the mash? Do I add it before putting in the fridge or after the mash has finished aging and fermenting? Guess will try both ways as have 2 jars of kefir starter mash going.

Maybe tomorrow or maybe the next day will put into the fridge.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 7:58AM
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So I ask what is Xanthium gum. I am going to do a google search instead of waiting.

First the spelling is Xanthan gum. Although both spellings seem to be used. From Wikipedia

One of the most remarkable properties of xanthan gum is its capability of producing a large increase in the viscosity of a liquid by adding a very small quantity of gum, on the order of one percent. In most foods, it is used at 0.5%, or even as low as 0.05%. The viscosity of xanthan gum solutions decreases with higher shear rates; this is called pseudoplasticity. Foods need high viscosity at low shear rates to be stable but, when consumed, they must not seem thick and heavy in the mouth. Due to the pseudoplastic properties of xanthan gum, it can seem thin in the mouth (fairly high rates of shear) but still have good stabilization properties. Unlike other gums, it is very stable under a wide range of temperatures and pH.

In foods, xanthan gum is most often found in salad dressings and sauces. It helps to stabilize the colloidal oil and solid components against creaming. Also used in frozen foods and beverages, xanthan gum creates the pleasant texture in many ice creams. Toothpaste often contains xanthan gum, where it serves as a binder to keep the product uniform. Xanthan gum is also used in gluten-free baking. Since the gluten (found in wheat) must be omitted, xanthan gum is used to give the dough or batter a "stickiness" that would otherwise be achieved with the gluten. It is also a preferred method of thickening liquids for those with swallowing disorders, since it does not change the color or flavor of foods or beverages.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:44AM
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* Posted by ohiojay z6 OH (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 6, 07 at 6:54

What about the cleaning up part? I've seen they can be a real pain in the butt to clean up.

The one I have is very easy to clean! It only becomes hard to clean if you let the stuff sit overnight, I did once... If you clean right away it'll take all of 2 minutes to clean.

Don't forget you get lots of pulp/mash left over that can be used as a seasoning as well!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:58AM
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Ok, all you guys are amaznig!

I stumbled on this thread off a google search and joined up right away! This is Great!

As I am truely a veteran chef, preparing meals in mass quantity-vs-home canning I'm a rookie.

#1. I've been researching a ton of ways to properly preserve bottled hot sauce. I've developed and tested about 6 different recipes for creating hot sauce. My goal is not to produce product that will not burn your face off but truely add flovor to foods with heat. As previously mentioned through out this thread woozie bottles dont seem to be sealable in the same fasion an old fasioned ball mason jar. currently I'm using a food processor to chop all my peppers ( yes grown in my own garden) I have 8 different varieties I'm experimenting with. place the chopped peppers in a pot with vinegar, salt, and any other flavor profiles I'm looking for. Roasted garlic, onion, lemon rind, etc.
I cook this down for approx 3-4 hours to achive the consistancy I want using a commercial hand held power blender durring the cooking process. I strain this thru a fine screen strainer, bring back to a boil, add any sugars I feel I need about a half hour before the cooking is done, I then continue to the canning stage using the 4 to 6 oz ball jars with caps and rings. I process the jars in boiling water for 15-20 min and cool, all my caps have been popped down nice-nice by morning and the flavor profiles of the sauces are increadable.

I found a company that has a 12 oz sauce bottle with a plastisol lined lid that will seal and create a vacume if processed properly (ie heat sealed like a mason jar lid and ring) the company is Freund container easily googled the jar part# is 49014 and the lid is part# x38-400GM It cost me $10 for a samle of 3 bottles to play with and to purchase volume the jar and lid will run about .69 each (min purchase is 96ea)

Thank you for all the great inspireation!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 6:15AM
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What ratios are you using..pepper mash to salt, vinegar, sugar..etc?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 10:02PM
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I had a lot of Kung Pao peppers this year. I let mine dry so I would have enough to make a big batch. I also had a lot of College peppers. I took a large turkey fryer and filled it half full of dried Kung Pao peppers, stems removed and filled the other half with red ripe College peppers, stems removed. I then poured enough white vinegar over the peppers to half fill the cooker then added 2 cups canning salt.
I cooked the contents to half its volume and let it cool just enough to where I could handle it to puree in a blender adding just enough vinegar as it pureed to get the consistency of thin ketchup. I strained it in a coarse strainer then a finer strainer and canned it in half-pint and pint jars processing them in a hot water bath for 30 minutes. It made 3 gallons and a pint.
I funnel it into hot sauce bottles as I open the jars to use it. It is the prettiest bright red, just the right amount of heat and the perfect consistency to stick to whatever you put it on. Much better than what I made last year out of red Serranos and apple cider vinegar.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 10:46PM
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Sounds great to me. If my memory is correct, the kung pao are hot and the college 6-4 New Mexico type pepper are very mild or no heat.

Scoville: 7000-12,000

Long, skinny red pepper similar in appearance to the cayenne. The Kung Pao Pepper is a fairly recently introducted hybrid with excellent mildly hot flavor and is often used in Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Fruits are very long, to 6-9", dark red in color, with thin walls. Plants are fast-growing and vigorous.
Origin: Hybrid.
Maturity: 80-90 days


History: New Mexico 6-4 is a selection from New Mexico No. 6, developed by Roy Harper, and later tested during the early 1950s. It was released to a local green chile processor in 1957. The variety release committee at NMSU recommended dropping the 4 from New Mexico 6-4 and it became officially known as New Mexico 6 during the 1960s. This product currently goes under both names and sometimes "College No. 6".

Description: New Mexico 6-4 has a mid-tall plant size with the branches starting low on the ground. Pods are large with a thick smooth flesh, oblong, bluntly pointed and small based with rounded shoulders.

Characteristics: Pod size averages from 6 to 8 inches in length to 2 inches in width, with a thickness of approximately 3.8 mm. New Mexico 6-4 has a mild to medium heat level ranging from 1,000-1500 scovilles. The color level is 127 ASTA. Averages approximately 55,000 to 57,000 seeds per pound. Good for canning, freezing and drying.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 6:15AM
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shelbyguy(z5 IL)

New Mexico No. 6. - Breeder: R. Harper.
Vendor: New Mexico Crop Improvement Assn.
Parentage: selection from local chile.
Characteristics: Open-pollinated, mildly pungent New Mexican type with long, smooth, relatively fleshy pods; vigorous compact plant, heavy foliage.
Similar: New Mexico No. 9.
Adaptation: Southern and southwestern United States.

New Mexico. Agric. Expt. Sta. Press Bulletin 1041. 1950.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 10:08AM
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Anyone have a good hot sauce recipe that I can adapt for my Naga Jolokia peppers? (the Capsicum frutescens, not Capsicum Chinese!)
They arent ripe yet, so keep that in mind, but they dont seem very hot... So keep that in mind... Maybe there is some other use for them, but really I have no ideas (i ordered the wrong seeds, now Im going to be stuck with hundreds of these pepper pods!)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 4:55AM
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woo hoo! I'm trying the fermentation method. I have 1 qt of pepper mash fermenting with sourdough hooch and 1 pint using the kefir whey. The kefir fermented fast and after a week or so I put it in the fridge since it seemed to stop bubbling. The sourdough is still working away so I left it on the shelf over the gas stove - prolly the warmest place in the kitchen. I'm also doing a jar of sliced jalapeno's fermented in brine - I used the sauerkraut directions in the ball blue book - just to see what would happen. For my pepper mash I followed John's basic proportions but used what I had on hand; cucumber, tomato, green tomato, onion, jalapeno's, dried habs, dried apricots. smells great! Can't wait to try it!
Thanks for all the great info!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 9:46AM
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If the fermentation is done then it is time to eat what you have. Take it out of the fridge and put it on a sandwich. good and thick. now take a big bite. if your mouth is on fire then it worked.

Quick grab the ice cream in the freezer. Now you have just had lunch with dessert.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 11:54AM
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Here are a few of my favorite recipes I found on the web.

Basic Hot Pepper Sauce

3 c Distilled white vinegar
2 lb Cayenne OR jalapenos Seeded and chopped
2 ts Salt
Simmer vinegar, salt and peppers at least 5 minutes. Process in processor. Store in a glass bottle. Put in a dark cabinet and let age at least 3 months. Strain when ready to use.

Chile De Arbol - Picante Sauce

60 chiles de arbol (dried)
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons shelled pumkin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 large allspice berries
2 cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Cup Water
Stem the chiles, roll between your fingers to loosen seeds. break in half, remove seeds and place in blender. Toast Sesame seeds and Pumpkin seeds separately and place in blender. Pulverize all the ingredients together until mixture is smooth and orange. Strain thru medium sieve, pressing and working solids to release there liquids. add one cup water and place in clean jar. Wait 24 hours for flavors to develop.

NOTES : This recipe came from Rick Bayless (Authentic Mexican, Regional cooking from the heart of Mexico). Its the same that I've gotten from friends in Mexico. You see this sauce in the stands in markets in Mexico. Use it like Tabasco (much better though!). Nothing fancy just plain and simple, my kind of sauce

Chiltepin House Sauce (Salsa Casera)

2 cups Chiltepins
8 cloves garlic -- (8 to 10)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Refrigerate for one day to blend the flavors. It keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator Note: Also called Chiltepin paste.

Chiltepins are those exceedingly hot and tiny little peppers that look like small red berries. Makes 2 cups

Habanero-Chipotle Sauce

4 habaneros (insides removed)
2 chipotles (soaked in just-boiling water for about 15 minutes)
3 cloves garlic
1 small apricotsome of the water from the chipotles
some apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp salt or less
I added enough liquid (vinegar+chipotle water) to make about 3 oz of sauce.It didn't come out very spicy and the chipotle and apricot flavors really overwhelmed the habaneros. The next time I'd probably leave in the insides of the habaneros or add more of them, or both.

Homemade "Tabasco" Sauce

12 Tabasco chiles, * I used cayenne
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup herbed chili vinegar, ** I used apple cider
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
In a small nonreactive saucepan (I used Visions by Corningware), boil the chiles and garlic in 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. Pour into a nonreactive saucepan, bring to a boil, then pour into a hot, sterilized bottle to within 1/2 inch of the rim and run a sterlizied knife around the inside of the bottle to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and seal with a scalded top. Store in the refrigerator after opening.

I got this recipe from Red Hot Peppers by Jean Andrews. Simple to do. Smells up the kitchen with the hot vinegar. My DS had to run upstairs to get away from the fumes. It was really smelly but it looks like the real thing once it is done.

Orange Rocket Hot Sauce

1 lb Tabasco chiles, chopped [or other hot pepper variety]
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
You can use chiles other than Tabasco for a different-tasting sauce.

Note: The recipe for true Tabasco brand hot sauce is a long-guarded secret. In addition, the Tabasco folks make a hot pepper "mash" and let this ferment long before the peppers are used in their secret recipe. This process is what gives Tabasco brand pepper sauce its unique flavor.

This recipe does not attempt to replicate that sauce. Instead, this is a standard Louisiana hot sauce recipe. If desired, you can add some garlic powder and/or onion powder to flavor the sauce somewhat. Ground white pepper added is also a nice touch.

Combine the chiles and the vinegar and heat. Stir in the salt and simmer for 5 minutes. Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add more vinegar if the sauce needs thinning. Allow to steep for a couple of weeks before using. [Note: Store in a dark place, or in light-resistent bottles as the sauce will discolor otherwise. Dark beer bottles work well, in fact. My husband home- brews beer and even has a bottle capper, so we sterilize the dark beer bottles and cap them with caps he buys through his homebrew supplier. The bottles can be processed in a boiling-water bath for extra safety and for longer storage.

Tequila Hot Sauce

15 Habaneros Chopped -- (15 to 20)
6 cloves Garlic minced
1 Medium Onion Chopped
4 Lemon boy or golden Tomatoes Diced -- (4 to 5)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Cup Tequila
Now combine all in sauce pan and cook down. Let cool and strain into canning bottles with ceramic type lids. yields 4-5 small bottles. This is really good on eggrolls or any thing you like sweethot sauce on.

enjoy, farmer_ron361:)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 12:21PM
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Thanks for sharing farmer_ron!
I am going to try the Orange Rocket, and the Tequila Hot Sauce...
I will try the orange rocket recipe with my naga jolokia

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 8:47PM
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Hey all,
What a great thread, I really appreciated the pictures, it makes it much easier. Hey Ron:) I tried some of his recipes for hot sauce, they are awesome. I made the orange rocket but I used dried arbol chilis instead with some tabasco. I made a sweet hot sauce using a combination of peppers. I seeded and roasted guajillos and jalepenos then cooked them in vinegar with fresh cherry and cayenne peppers with onion and garlic, and green apple. Added salt and pepper and honey and put it through the blender, it was awesome. the sweet smoky spicy made for great sandwhiches. I hot water canned them and stored them in the fridge, down to one jar(sniff). I definately want to try the fermenting, thanks so much fro the detailed explanations. I let a bunch of my tobasco peppers turn red, to see the difference in flavor, I have always picked them green before. I had to run for the hose, I mean they are much hotter! I strain the seeds and solids out of my hot sauces and put the mash in jars and add about 1/3 hot olive oil, then store in fridge. I use the hot pepper oil for stir frying and cooking. Take Care. Lisa

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 12:33AM
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Bump up to the top of the list. I like the first posting by Kendra.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:34AM
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I've been making my own hot sauces for about 18 months now, sometimes bottling them in woozies, sometimes just doing a small batch that goes into the fridge. In that time I've scoured the internet for safety info, tips and techniques which I'll share here in case it's helpful for others.

Since a lot of this thread is on fermentation, I'll mention these wonderful "Harsh" German stoneware crocks [http://www.wisementrading.com/foodpreserving/harsch_crocks.htm]. They come with weights for keeping the vegetables below the liquid line, and the special lid uses a water barrier to allow gases to escape and keep out air. I'm on the verge of ordering one this week, initially to make pickles, but I"m sure eventually to ferment chilis.

I also just placed my order for a PH meter this morning (from these guys: http://www.eseasongear.com/ ... good prices, free shipping). I've been putting this off a long time and just trying to use my judgement on my sauces being vinegary enough to get to a safe PH. But I'm enjoying less vinegary concoctions these days so it was time to have some proper measurement and look for ways to get to a safe PH through other means (citric acid experimentation is what I'll explore once the meter arrives).

So here's my short list for bottling my sauces in woozies (always using new caps, though for something I'm only refrigerating and using soon, I fudge and wash/reuse old caps).

Wash and sterilize the woozies (or any glass jars you use) in a rapidly boiling water bath. I think ten minutes of a hard boil is probably enough, then I leave them simmering until I'm ready to pull a bottle and fill it.

Get your sauce down below 4.6 PH, 4.2 preferably, 3.8 or lower is even better... As mentioned, it appears from my research that citric acid and/or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) can help lower the PH w/out affecting the flavor noticeably. More vinegar content of course does this too. It sounds like the vitamin C helps with color retention, but I think it also lowers PH.

Bring your sauce up to at least 185 degrees fahrenheit (to kill yeast/molds) -- probably good to hold it there for five minutes...., immediately pour into the hot sterilized woozy bottle, screw on cap and turn upside to kill sanitize cap liner. The boxes the woozies ship in are perfect for holding upside-down hot sauce bottles.

The sauces I've bottled a year ago (even before I was able to test PH) all appear and taste fine still. Again, I'll feel better about this once I can test accurately. Also, be aware that if your PH meter does not compensate for temperature, then you should attempt to measure around the range the manufacturer quotes (for the meter I bought, that's 68 degrees fahrenheit). I have no idea how drastic the PH reading can be off based on deviations in temperature.

One final tip: Assuming the photo I'm embedding below comes through (my first time posting at gardenweb so not sure about it...) you'll see that some of the bottles have more airspace (between sauce and cap) than you want. Even though I fill the bottles nearly to the top, it's only recently I've realized I need to get air bubbles out before going to bottling stage. The air is introduced primarily through the blending process. So now I'm using a combination of time and gentle tapping of the container holding the sauce to help drive bubbles to the surface. It's an ongoing learning process. Goes w/out saying that I hope my contribution here helps someone else, and most importantly... does not contain inaccurate information with respect to food safety practices.

Finally, a few of the inspirations I've used for concocting sauces pleasing to my palate and those I share them with:

I'm a fan of orange habs and cayennes, so I use those quite often. A few days back I had the weber going and roasted whole tomatoes, habaneros, thick slices of yellow onion, and a red bell pepper (wood chips also tossed on the coals). After removing skins from tomatoes and serious charred areas of other vegies, it all went into a blender with some fresh garlic cloves, cider vinegar, salt, cumin, black pepper, a little pineapple juice and a little brown sugar. There may have been fresh cilantro and one or two other minor flavorings. After a couple days the sauce tasted fabulous. I ended up with about two pints and am down to one already. Actually, I think I pulled about six cayenne peppers from the freezer and just slightly toasted them on the cooler part of the grill for this concoction.

Yesterday I had a bunch of fresh jalapenos and though I'm not a fan of pure jalapeno hot sauces, I tried altering that basic chili flavor with tomatillos and onions. This was all done on stove top (I really need to get a portable burner for the patio to use during the short summer months here in the Catskills...). I chopped the chilis, onions, garlic and tomatillos and sweated in a few spoonfuls of oil in a stainless saute pan. As the moisture of the vegies decreased, I added some salt and a bit of vinegar, a little chicken stock, then a cup or so of distilled water. all this cooked on very low simmer for 20 minutes. Into the blender until homogenized, and when I finish writing this post, I'll pull it from the fridge and adjust with vinegar and water (salt, etc) to get to the consistency and flavor I'm looking for. Pre-adjustment tastings had excellent flavor with only moderate heat level (I can always kick that up more at the end with dried chilis).

Last year I tried a chocolate/coffee sauce (one bottle batch only, given how out there the idea was...). I used powdered espresso in small amounts, and a bit of mexican sweetened chocolate. The chilis were habs. It was interesting but not something I'd turn to frequently.

My next experiment is to try a homemade ketchup with chipotles en adobo. I hate ketchup mostly because it's too sweet, so I'll be trying to reach something ketchup-like that suits my tastes. I'm planning to use some maple syrup, a wee bit of good quality tamari sauce, and some blend of balsamic and cider vinegars. (Plus the chipotles...) From Chili Peppers & Hot Sauces


    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 1:44PM
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medcave(8 Tx)

You might want to head over to the Harvest forum and check out all the links on Annie's Sauce. Even sauces with the correct amount if vinegar (acid) need to be processed in a Boiling Water Bath at the least. Inversion is not an approved method for sealing jars.

Her recipe will also give you the correct ratio of peppers and onions that should be used in a tomato based sauce.

Best to check out this website (below) for instructions and approved recipes too. Your methods are potentially unsafe. Sorry.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 2:04PM
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Wow !! I don't know whether to feel stupid or brilliant. you guys are so scientific with your ph and acidity and so forth.
lemme tell you how i do it.

As far as my best one last year i just took a bunch o habs, some paprika (for color) and i put some ginger and cinnamon on a whim. just enough vinegar to give it liquidity. this resulted in excellent heat with a sweet after taste. my friends could not get enough of it.

I took another bunch of jalapenos & habs squeezed in some limes (to taste) excellent again. i'm a heat freak mind you.

then there was another that i took a bunch of habs (surprise !) and blended them with a small can of pineapples, juice included & pinch of ginger. this resulted in a sauce that was great for "hawaiin" style wings or ribs.

there were more experiments involving garlic, different kinds of onions and so forth, but those mentioned above were the best of last year. I never added any preservatives or anything, no one i gave them to got sick. i just kept them refrigerated and ta-da. i'm still eating some of the leftover not so great ones now and no problems.

at any rate, everyone do what you do and have fun in your gardens !!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 3:03PM
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medcave(8 Tx)

I do the same thing with the pineapple slices, juice, and ginger. Marinate various peppers, onion slices, tomato halves, then toss them on the grill. Great stuff! But it's used up in a few hours, not stored.

You might want to check out the pickling section of the HCHFP website (below) for your vinegar based sauce, since that is basically what you are doing. It needs to be processed for safety too. You guys are playing with fire (pun intended)as botulism can be deadly. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Ive just started experimenting with making my own hot sauce being unsatisfied with the taste, price, quantity and heat level (the last 2 often being inversely proportional) with what I could buy locally. First I went off this hot sauce that I had really enjoyed from a store (14 bucks for an under 200ml bottle), had a few habanero types a bhut and some other ingredients. I can get orange hab's easily where I live during spring-fall, and dried red savinas all year so I decided to make a red savina sauce since this was during the winter. I read about fermenting and whatnot, but I just figured id make it more "fresh" or so to speak (not that I dont like that flavour).

So I looked up a few sauces on the internet, looked at the other ingredients in my sauce I was basing it off of and started. Vinegar, garlic, some onion, the red savinas blended up, a bit of salt and black pepper, and some brown sugar. Blended it up, put it in the bottle and gave it a taste. Wow, was it hot and incredibly sharp. 2 large glasses of milk later, I figured the fresh blended garlic and onion was the main culprit. So I didnt use it for a couple weeks. I "rediscover" it or so to speak after a while, give it a taste and its great. The sharpness has really gone down and the flavours have mellowed out and all had a chance to get to know eachother. Better than anything ive bought which meant it was a sucess. . . and on the first try too!

So now it was time to make a big batch. Same basic ingredients (I never measured, just sortof eyeballed the quantities and adjusted if it looked like too little), used maple syrup instead of the brown sugar and added some lime zest and the flesh minus the seeds. Blended it all up (was 2L worth), gave it a taste. Once again, 2 glasses of milk later It was way too sharp but the taste was there, although I couldnt taste the maple syrup. Fast forward a month or so, I crack it open and its even better than the first try. This bottle has lasted almost a year, the flavour hasnt changed much at all since I started using it so it seems to be quite stable. A bit of oil settles at the top (a few mm's) but a quick shake takes care of that; theres no settling near the bottom either. Was a great sucess with friends and family (at least those that could handle it), was quite popular with my older sisters university pals - they even did some tequila habanero sauce shots!

A few weeks ago I realized I was down to 1 franks red hot bottle worth of the sauce (I like those bottles for using it) so It was time to make a new batch. Got a ton of orange habs from the store since the previous batch was missing that fruity fresh taste of habaneros. What was different this time was the amount of citrus. The 2 tastes of the hab and lime go so well together that I decided to make it more fruity/zesty. Blended up a bunch of lime zest and flesh, the orange habs. Used sweet onion for a bit less of that onion bite, garlic, brown sugar (the amount of maple syrup needed for the maple flavour to get through would end up making it way too sugary), popped in some of the red savinas to bring the heat up a bit as well. Probably missing something but that was basically it. Put it all in the jar and gave it a quick taste. Was really sharp (milk was required as always) but it was tasting really nice, so its been sitting in my cupboard ever since. Actually let me go see how its doing

*gives it a taste*

Oh my, thats incredibly hot. The lime and fresh habs go great together as expected. The bite of the hab hits SO quick, its amazing. Usually it builds up, plateaus and then goes down, but this is like getting shot with a capsaicin bullet! I love it.

Ive also tried adding flavours to the sauce (so ill pour out some into a smaller container and experiment with that incase of failure) and Im not sure how much I can improve on it. Adding some fresh blended pineapple gave the older sauce a fruity boost, but I found it to be a bit too sweet. I read about adding liquid smoke and tried it . . . that was probably the worst of the experiments. Even just a small bit really made it taste quite off putting. One idea id consider next time would be perhaps slow smoking some habs and using those. If I could get that smoky/charcoal flavour in a bottle, I think id be in heaven.

Next growing season Ill be able to use some fresh grown peppers (uncle found me a scotch bonnet plant, and is searching for a habanero one) instead of bought which should be nice. Ive also got a mystery plant (that is "supposed" to be thai chilis), ill have to wait till some fruit matures to see what it really is.

Thats the first one with all dried red savinas. Its quite thick (sometimes hard to get out of the bottle) and almost finished. I had to add a little warning sign since a few roomates while I was at school thought this was just plain franks hot sauce. After that they didnt touch any sauces/spices of mine!

Thats the newer one with mostly orange habs and lots of lime. Much more free running and feels alot spicier.

Both have a strange looking colour because of the webcam im using, the good camera is out taking pictures of motorcycles racing.

Although both sauces are incredibly spicy when just eating plain, its much different when on food. I can add it straight on pizza which gives it a great flavour, or use it in various sauces to really spice them up - great on homemade hot wings. My immediate family still complains sometimes when I make something and use a bit too much of this (general consensus is awsome flavour diarreah inducing heat. . . perhaps I should look into those heatless habaneros), but I could barely handle it initially. Now things that make most people sweat are a nice tingle on the tongue.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 6:48PM
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green_grocer(5b - MI)

I've never really cared for Tobasco or Frank's as they tend to have way more vinegar flavour than I care for, and the Tapatio isn't too bad.

The last couple of years I have been making my "Mike's Way F**kin' HOT Sauce" with the wide variey of left-over garden peppers I have after canning salsa, and I think you'll all rather enjoy this. Most of the peppers tend to be habs, cayennes, tabascos, and usually a few cherry bombs for added sweetness. (most any red/orange/yellow pepper will work well)

All I really do is oven-roast my peppers for about 10-15 mins until the skins get bubbly, then throw them into a gallon zip-lok bag or two for half an hour or so, so I can skin them easily. Peel the skins and cut off the stems of the peppers (seeding is optional, depending on how hot you want the sauce) and throw the whole batch into the blender. I pulse/puree this mess with just enough vinegar to allow it to flow well, then put it all into a large sauce pan with 1/4 volume of water, add some galic powder, sea salt, and onion powder to taste and allow to simmer for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. When all is said and done, I process in half-pint jars in a BWB for 15 mins, and let it set for a week before using. There will be a little settling depending on how liquid it turns out, but a good shake before using will bring it right back to a usable consistency. I have thought about using the xanthum gum for stability, but haven't used it yet. My cousin and I are about the only 2 people who can handle the heat of this sauce, and the roasted red pepper flavour is outstanding. He puts it on pretty much everything, and is always begging me for my half of the jars.

But, getting back to the OP; having a little higher water level to the sauce when you process, and either fine-mesh straining or ultra-blending should result in your shakeable (almost drinkable) way hot sauce of your own.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 4:38AM
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a lot of great tips and recipes listed in this thread but does anyone have a simple recipe to make Naga/Bhut Jolokia sauce? preferrably one that only uses that pepper.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 5:31PM
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green_grocer(5b - MI)


I think you'd find my roasted pepper sauce would be ideal for naga/bhuts exclusively.. the only downfall may be the eating away of your cast iron pots... lol.. and the burning of your uhhhh... sinuses, yeah, i mean sinuses. I have always felt roasting of the peppers brings out their complex fruityness, and after trying my very first naga today (thank you, NJA) I think that the sweet hot palette of nagas and bhuts would be ideal in that kind of sauce. I'm looking forward to making some myself come next year ( or maybe this fall if'n I get enough pods in trade or elsewhere...)


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:52AM
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i dont like the idea of roasting peppers because i want to keep the production as simple as possible. maybe i will just pickle them and offer some to friends. i plan on doing the same with my habaneros.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 1:44PM
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I never roast my peppers. I make hot sauce and throw the entire pepper into the vinegar. Almost always this works fine. If you wind up with a problem do not panic. You can filter everything through a kitchen stainless steel strainer. this will remove chunkey pieces and skins and seeds leaving a very smooth product. Or you can do what I do and that is to not push the pulp through the strainer but keep as much pulp as possible and eat the pulp. Yummy. The liquid part becomes nice watery smooth hot sauce.

I do the easy method also. I grind up the peppers and put into vinegar. All done. But you can do more. mostly wait for the flavors to blend. I sometimes add a pinch of sugar to help take a sharp edge off the hot sauce. Sugar is no problem with all vinegar.

Pickling peppers is a lot more work and room or jars then grinding them up for hot sauce.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 1:26AM
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for anyone experiencing color seperation ie. the sediment from your sauce settles to the bottom and the rest is a relatively clear liquid.Fermentation is a way to solve this problem as well as to mellow the taste.I had this problem and couldnt get a consistent look to my sauce like tobasco or texas pete had.Until I tried fermentation and voila! problem solved.I usually store mash for a minimum of 6mos.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:45AM
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We've been making our own hot sauce for a short while now and seem to have experienced a weakening in the heat after a few weeks stored in the fridge. Basically we're making it with a combination of peppers, tomatoes, garlic, lime juice and a few other things, boiled to a mash then run through a blender. Initially it has the heat we're looking for but doesn't seem to hold it's original heat level. Anyone else experience this or is it our imagination?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 6:53PM
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I began fermenting Habanero peppers 8 days ago. I used a food processor with salt (about 1 tbsp per pound. I have several jars working and one / one gallon crock. I opened the crock which only has a small plate over the top and noticed white and black mold. I took the layer of mold off, it was a solid skin covering the entire top about 1/8 thick. The layer of mold smelled odd; however, after I removed it, everything smelled as it should. Is this ok?
I only used habanero peppers and salt so my fermentation started slow and the juice was below the peppers. Now the juice is above the peppers and slow fermentation is observed.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 3:34PM
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I had some Habs I was fermenting and forgot about them. 90days later there was thick layer of black mold. Removed it and about a 1/4in of the top layer of chiles. Tasted and it was great!

4days into a sriracha fermentation, 1lb fresno chiles + 1oz red Hab flakes, 2 gloves garlic, 3 tsp kosher salt, 2tbsp coco palm sugar

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 12:36AM
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Love that jar, I need to find a few.
I used to make wine but a 3 gallon carboy is a bit large.
Thanks for the info, the mash tastes good so It should be fine. Fermentation has picked up in the whole batch, can't wait.
I made a vinegar based raw instant habanero sauce to use while I wait. My recipe came out great.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 11:45AM
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During the off-months when I cant enjoy my peppers fresh, I use my canned ones to make thinner and thicker type sauces. I have to admit I'm a little heavy on the garlic use, I love the combination of flavors it provides.
I drain the vinegar, salt, and turmeric solution off the peppers, onions and garlicand puree them in a food processor. I add the mixture to a saucepan with a little of the vinegar solution and bring to a boil for a few minutes, then strain it thru a fine colander to separate the solids from the liquids, adding a small of small amount of powdered pepper to the liquid, and use each for their own purpose.

The pic on the right doesn't show it well, but it has quite a few hab's in, reeeaally kickin up those jals and veggies.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 1:40PM
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esox07 (4b)

So pretty you might not want to eat 'em.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 2:28PM
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HELP ! HELP! , hello all , I have blended together a great habanero pepper sauce mixture, with vinegar , honey, hab. pepper, salt, and garlic, and I mixed this mixture with a local name brand chilli sauce, I have kept about 25 litres in total ( in 250ml bottles) in my home shelf's for my personal use for some time now, like 3 months or so, opening a bottle to use now and then , ( after opening I refrigerate the bottle) . . now the problem is after the 4th month family members want a bottle or 2 of this sauce , then friends want, and I cannot refuse . . but the major problem is once they start opening the bottle caps , a hissing sound is heard and the sauce starts moving towards the opening, like a shook Bottle of ice cold coca cola . . the thing wants to explode, and some did . . PLEASE! PLEASE ! tell me how do I avoid this from happening again, because I had to throw away all of this good sauce, just because it started building up gas . . any kind of help will be highly appreciated . .

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:37PM
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I can't really give you specific advise, but, sounds like you have an infection of some sort and it's fermenting. You need to be sure you're following guidelines on safe food preservation. Particularly if you are storing it at room temperature.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:57PM
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I have been growing/fermenting hot peppers for sauce a few years with great results. This year my husband suggested we run peppers through a juicer instead of the cuisinart. The slurry looked OK, but when I went to strain/cook it, the oil floated to the top and the sauce stayed watery even after reducing it by 20%. Anyone know what happened? Only ingredients are peppers, salt, vinegar.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:43PM
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I make a lot of refrigerator salsas, and use little vinegar, mostly Goya Bitter Orange juice, like is used in the Oaxacan habanero salsas. This is my current favorite.
2-cups dried Numex Suave Orange habaneros
5-dried Ghost peppers
1-small onion, sliced thin
2-medium carrots, sliced thin
6-cloves garlic, smashed
1-teaspoon white pepper
1-tablespoon table salt
1-1/2 cups Goya Bitter Orange juice.
1-cup water, maybe more

Put liquids in blender, add salt and white pepper, and all dried chilies. Process until smooth. Do this first so they can start reconstituting.
Preheat oven to 425 and place rack in next to highest position. In a large bowl, toss chopped onion, carrots, and garlic in a little olive oil. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, and spread veggies evenly over it, place in oven, and roast for 20-25 minutes or until some charring takes place on the onions. Remove, and let cool for five minutes. Pick up parchment paper, and funnel veggies into blender and process until smooth. You may have to add more water if it gets too thick Taste for seasoning, and store in fridge. This lasts me about a week or so. You can also use fresh habs and ghosts sliced in half and roasted with the veggies, but it does require a good vent hood on your stove.
Damn, forgot to add the pic...

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:43AM
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Awesome Thread, started almost 7 years ago. With lots of great information.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 8:55AM
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TFortune(7a North AL)

There is a restaurant here in town that the wife and I love that makes their own house made hot sauce. the strange thing about it is that to me, at least, it tastes just like pickle juice. I have often wondered how they accomplished this, and am curious if anyone here has ever tried something like this. I'm not sure if the best way to go about it is to start by putting peppers in old pickle juice for a while and then make hot sauce from those peppers, or by substituting some of the vinegar in the hot sauce recipe for pickle juice straight from the jar of pickles. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 4:40PM
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You can use pickling spice in your vinegar to give that taste.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:33AM
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TFortune(7a North AL)

Thanks! Do you think soaking the peppers in pickle juice would have any efftect, or would it just be wasting my time?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:10AM
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If I was gonna experiment, I'd slice some jals thin and put'em in the pickle juice and refrigerate for a week or so and see what happens. Otherwise, just make a pickle brine and do some whole peppers.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 5:40AM
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TFortune(7a North AL)

I've got some red and orange habs floating in pickle juice now, and I'm goign to let them mellow a little longer before I try making them into sauce.. I'll let you know how it turns out...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:12AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

My latest sauce is a real hit. A pint jar full of Carolina reapers, destemmed and cut in half, vodka poured in the jar to cover, shake it to get all the air bubbles out, then top it off again with vodka. Put the lid on and put it on top of the refrigerator or someplace like that for a few months. Then drain it, drop it in the blender, add enough of the reserved vodka to make it the desired consistency, strain it and eat it. If you can..lol...

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:36PM
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