Making Hot Sauce

SUBHEAD: How to make two levels of hot sauce using Hawaiian and Habanero peppers. 

By Juan Wilson on 9 March 2017 for Island Breath -

Image above: Habanero plant in the yard only stands about 12" high. All photos by Juan Wilson.

For the last few years I've been using two varieties of hot sauce for cooking and accenting food. One is not so much a sauce as the essence of the hot peppers preserved in oil, salt and vinegar. It is quite hot. The other variety is more aptly called a sauce and includes carrot and tomato juices.

This project started with a pepper plant that started, likely by a bird dropping, in our back yard many years ago. This kind of plant is often called a "Hawaiian Chili Pepper" here. It looks like a small "Tabasco Pepper". The plant has grown over six feet tall and in season (now) can deliver a handful of peppers a day. These peppers, if like Tabasco, are about 35,000 - 50,000 on the Scoville Scale of pepper hotness.

Pepper Oil Recipe
I've used these peppers in cooking for some time but in the last few years I've been preserving the peppers in a mix of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt Pond Sea Salt and Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Submerged in the mix of preservatives the peppers can be kept for years.

Image above: Besides rinsed off peppers the ingredients for pepper oil include olive oil, cider vinegar and sea salt.

Years ago I've planted a few Red Habanero pepper trees. Red Habanero peppers are much hotter peppers. On the Scoville scale they rate 350,000 - 580,000, or about ten times hotter than the Hawaiian peppers. Since these plants began producing fruit I've added them to the Hawaiian pepper jar with more oil, vinegar and salt.

I have been using 32 once glass Clausen sauerkraut jars for holding this pepper mix. They are stout wide mouthed jars that let you keep an eye on things, like keeping the peppers submerged.

I don't consume the peppers, but use the resulting pepper oil. You must use this on food with some precaution. Usually if I want to add some real hot zest to a hot dog I will dip the tip of a fork into the jar an eighth of ab inch to collect just a few drops. Shake off the excess oil and lighting touch the dog at a few point along its length. That's plenty hot for me.

Image above: Jarred Pepper Oil in 32 ounce Clausen sauerkraut jars can last for years.

Problem Cooking with Oil
For a while I tried cooking with this oil, adding some to a frying pan of chile or whatever. The problem is the oil when it is heated can cause breathing problems if you are near. Linda, my wife, could not be in the kitchen when I created any vapors or smoke with the heated pepper oils.

The solution was to make a diluted sauce that could be sprinkled onto heated food in a fry pan that would endanger breathing.

Hot Pepper Frying Sauce
Over a few years my wife and I have bought Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon 4 Packs of wine. We save the bottles and caps. Each is about 6 ounces. A good size for a hot sauce bottle. We removed the labels and cleaned them up.

Image above: Bottled Pepper Frying Sauce. A shaken and used bottle is front and center of four unused bottles. Each usually last about a week or two before empty.
I got out two dozen Barefoot bottles and into each bottle and through a small funnel I added about a teaspoon of the pepper oil from the Clausen sauerkraut jars. Then I added the following ingredients to each bottle.
2 ounces of fresh carrot juice
2 ounces of V-8 juice (eight vegetable but mostly tomato juice)
2 ounces of filtered water (to rim of bottle)
Cap the bottles and they can be stored without refrigeration.

Note that when filling 24 bottles of hot sauce at a time I multiplied the ingredient quantities of one bottle by 24 and added them into a large mixing bowl. Once satisfied with the flavor I ladled the mix into the 24 bottles through a funnel. I keep the sauce bottles in a cardboard box in the garage/shop until needed.

The resulting bottled sauce needs to be shaken before use. It can be added to a frying pan with some olive oil before frying meat or vegetable. It can also be added after you start cooking. And it can be sprinkled on food after it is cooked.

It may smoke a little in a hot pan but won't gag you.

It also adds something delicious to almost anything I'm cooking. If the results are nor spicy enough I just dip a fork tine into the original oil source and drag it across the food on the plate.


See also:
Eight Acres: How I Use Herbs - Chili


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