Posts in Category: Peppers

Red Hot Sauce

One of our family’s homemade gifts this Christmas was my Red Hot Sauce.   In “A Peck of Peppers“, I wrote about preparing the sauce from Fresno Chiles fresh from the garden, which I did at the end of September.   Then I put the sauce in a charred oak barrel and let it sit until the week before Christmas.   I strained it and put it in bottles.   I was particularly pleased with the deep red color of the sauce.

Red Hot Sauce

This is a fermented sauce — the only thing added to the peppers is salt.    The smell is strong, and it has a slightly smoky, sour taste.  In addition to making gifts, I used the sauce in a marinade for elk steaks that we had at Christmas dinner.  I also added it to baked beans I made.   I think of this red hot sauce less as a table condiment and more as a set of rich flavors that can enhance any number of dishes — it’s earthy, yet with a call-to-attention bright flavor, just like a pepper.   It stays with you.

 

A Peck of Peppers

I had a lot of peppers ready in the garden. A peck? Probably not but about 10 pounds or so. I had six pounds of Fresno chile peppers, and the rest were red cherry peppers, cayenne and Anaheim.

Peck of Peppers

I have made hot sauce in the past. There are two basic methods, one is using vinegar up front, mashing the peppers and extracting the juice after cooking them. The other is fermenting the peppers by adding salt. I prefer the latter approach. However, I have wanted to try aging the hot sauce in a charred oak barrel and I found someone who wrote about his experience in this article.

The article described using a juice to extract the juice and I decided to try it. It worked really well. I ended up with a very red juice and a bin of pulp.

Juicing peppers

I poured the juice into the 3-gallon barrel, along with some water and salt. I should add the pulp back to the juice but it was difficult to get that pulp through a funnel into the barrel so I decided to let it ferment on its own. I’ll see if I get very much additional liquid. I will check the barrel in about a month and see how it turns out.

By the Bushel

Tomatoes are coming in by the bushel basket and plastic bins. I need to can as many as I can today before heading out tomorrow for Maker Faire NYC. Not enough time in the day…

A bushel, according to Wikipedia, is a measure of dry volume, the equivalent of eight gallons or four pecks.

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Fermenting Hot Peppers

This year, I’m trying out fermenting peppers to make a hot sauce. Last, year, I created a vinegar-based pressed hot sauce, which I liked. Hot sauces like Tabasco are fermented.

I started with a variety of hot peppers. I cut off the stems and then mashed them in a food processor. TIP: Wear gloves while cutting peppers and keep your nose back from the food proessor when you open its container at the end – the fumes will knock you out. I added salt to the mash and put it in a container meant for fermenting sauerkraut or kimchi. The liquid from the peppers, which the salt helps to produce, rises to cover the pulp. About four to six days later, you can begin to see the fermentation get started. From what I’ve read it takes about a month to finish. Then you strain the sauce and bottle it.

It’s a wonderful red-orange color. I hope it’s really hot.

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Summer Bounty

Tomatoes, table grapes, tomatillos, peppers, squash, cucumbers, blackberries, pears and apples are ready to be picked. Now what to do with it all? I made two types of salsa tonight, red and green. Nancy and I made applesauce and dried apples. There’s more to be done but I enjoy seeing it all come in so colorfully.

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Make Your Own Hot Pepper Sauce

I had never tried making hot pepper sauce so I thought it would be more complicated than it is. It is neither hard nor time-consuming and the results are truly red hot. I’ve made several batches and the one variable to play with is the amount of cider vinegar to add.

  • Basket of hot peppers
  • Cooking peppers with vinegar and garlic
  • Bottled Hot Sauce

I had a good crop of hot peppers growing in the garden. So I picked a pint of them. To make hot sauce, I cooked them for about five minutes, along with several garlic cloves in a cup or more of cider vinegar. I didn’t want to cook them very long, just enough to soften them. Next, I blended the peppers and the liquid in a food processor. (The fumes from peppers are potent so keep your head back when you open the container.) Then, I put them through a sieve to drain the deep red liquid from the chopped peppers. I let them sit a while and also pressed down on them with a spoon to get out all the juice. That’s it.

I bottled it. I could also use half-pint mason jars. I can keep it in the pantry or an open jar in the fridge.

The solids will separate from the liquid after the sauce sits for a while. I’m sure I could add something to prevent that from happening. However, a quick shake blends the sauce easily. As I said, it’s red hot and just a little bit will add heat to anything you eat. A bottle of your own hot sauce makes a nice gift, too.