Make Your Own Hot Sauce
-taken from Kitchen Gardeners International
Ingredients – hot peppers, white vinegar, salt
Preparing your peppers. You can use jalepenos, cayenne or any hot pepper you have a good amount of. If you would like to make a lot of hot sauce you may need to suppliment your CSA peppers with market peppers or from your own garden.
- You’ll want to chop off the green stems. If you’re not wearing gloves, be careful not to touch your eyes afterward. Once you’ve removed the stems, you’ll need to grind them into a medium to fine mash with a food processor or blender. I place my mashed peppers in a ceramic crock but you can use a glass or food-grade plastic container. Salt does two important things: it helps pull water from peppers (think about what happens when you salt a cucumber) and enhances their flavor. The ratio of mashed peppers to salt is not an exact science, but 30:1 should work for most peppers. Mix the salt in with the mash and pack it down to the bottom of your container. As the water seeps out it should cover the mash and prevent it from being exposed to the air. If you're not pulling enough water out to do this, you can add some salted water to your container to cover the mash.
- VERY IMPORTANT: Be sure to cover the mash with a plate which has a heavy object on it in such a way that the level of the brine is higher than the plate. The brine is the protective buffer that keeps the mash from spoiling.
- You’ll want to let your peppers ferment for at least a month to allow the flavor to become more complex and interesting. Store your crock at room temperature and be cover it with a clean dishtowel to keep out dust. Check on it from time to time to make sure that there is liquid covering the mash. After aging is finished, place your mash in a new clean and sterilized container. Add white wine vinegar to taste and age for about another week to allow the flavors to blend together.
- Straining your sauce allows you to remove the seeds and create a smooth, pourable texture. If you don’t have a foodmill or strainer you can pour your vinegar mash mixture into a bowl lined with cheesecloth, fold the cheesecloth up into a ball and twist & squeeze until the juice is extracted. The original Tabasco sauce is quite liquid, but I like mine with some pulp.
- Add the juice to a bottle and keep it in the fridge – it should last a couple of months.