Homemade Hot Sauce

Just a few of the pepper varieties I'm growing.
If you've been a follower of my blogs for very long you know I have a great love for peppers. In Pepperspeak, I'm a "pepperhead," meaning I like most everything peppery. Fresh, dried, pickled, sauced, fried, roasted, I like them all.
Bhut Jalokia, or Ghost Peppers.

For about the last 5 years if you did a Google search for the words, Bhut Jalokia pepper, you would find my blog posts at the top of the search. Now that more people are growing and writing about what was, until 2 years ago, the world's hottest pepper, rated at 1 million to 1,200,000 Scoville Heat Units. But that world record now goes to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which weighs in (in heat) at 1,200,000 to 2,000,000 heat units.
Peppers drying in dehydrator.

Pepper drying at our house is a regular occurrence in the fall months. I annually grow around 25-30 varieties of hot peppers and use most of them dried, the varieties mixed together and crumbled for winter seasoning. Some of the sweeter varieties such as Poblano, I roast and freeze.

I'm working on a new book on hot sauces and so this month I'm cooking up some new ways to use my peppers. Hot sauce is easy to make at home and you can can, refrigerate or freeze what you make.

The basic recipe I'm starting with is easy for anyone who wants to make hot sauce. You can vary it according to the kinds of peppers you have on hand, and the amount of heat you want.

Scoville Heat illustration.
For example, if you like virtually no heat, your sauce could contain Poblano, Ancho or Pasilla peppers, rated at 1,000 to 1,500 H.U. If you want a little heat, add Cascabel (1,500-2,500 Heat Units). Jalapenos and Hungarian Hot Wax will give you 5,000 - 15,000 Heat Units. Cayenne peppers rate at about 30,000 H.U. and Habanero peppers are about 50,000 - 70,000 depending on where they are grown. You can mix and match in the following recipe. Just remember, you can always ADD heat, but once the sauce is made, you can't remove it. You can vary the kind of vinegar or lime juice you use, but don't leave it out because that's what preserves it. Your sauce should contain something acidic, like vinegar, to make up about 20% of the sauce. White wine vinegar, distilled white, apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, all can be used.

Simple Basic Hot Sauce Recipe

1 - Put the following into a food processor (you will need to do this in 2 or 3 batches:

15-20 fresh hot peppers, stems removed (leave seeds in)
3 or 4 garlic cloves, skins removed
1 medium onion, cut in chunks
Pulse-blend until this is coarsely chopped

2 - Coat a medium saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil and empty the contents of the food processor into it. Saute the mixture in the skilled for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 - Add 1 cup water and 1 cup of your favorite vinegar and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt while mixture cooks.

4 - Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture into a blender (not the food processor) and blend for 4-5 minutes on high speed, or until everything is completely pulverized. The sauce will thicken slightly once it's in the refrigerator, so if it seems too thick coming out of the blender, add another 1/4 or 1/2 cup vinegar to thin (don't use water, remember, the acidity is what preserves this.

Your hot sauce is now ready for putting into jars and keeping in the refrigerator. This will keep for 2-3 months refrigerated. You can also freeze some of it in ice cube trays, then once frozen put in plastic bags in the freezer for later.


JoyceP said...

Hi, Jim: We love hot sauce, too, and this year have an abundance of hot peppers (mostly lemon and 3 degrees of Thai hot). I've been looking for a hot sauce recipe and will try yours. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Man, I'm gonna have to give this a shot. I've been growing my own peppers out back with organic fertilizer and Ive been dying to give them a try. Can't wait!

melfrmny said...

I was wondering how long the frozen hot sauce will keep..thanks so much

Jim Longs Garden said...

From my experience, hot sauce keeps quite well for 6-8 months, keeps its flavor well and the consistency is the same as when you put it in the freezer.