Some Like it Hotter

Canning season is officially upon us as the garden is now in full production gear – too much for just eating fresh - so I am freezing, drying, canning & pickling for use in the colder months. Although we grow some hardy greens in the garden in winter, we do not have yet an area big enough to put a lot of root crops that would feed us throughout the cold months. So between now and frost is the time to process all those summer crops for later – as an alternative to winter greens, carrots, pumpkins & winter squashes (and apples): peaches, nectarines, plums & berries; tomatoes, peppers, tomatoes, hot peppers, zucchinis, tomatoes…

Monday morning is now officially designed as “weekly canning morning”. Since I do not have a pressure cooker, I only can high acidity fruit (including tomatoes); other excess crops are frozen or pickled (and then canned): cucumbers, okra, beans, peppers. No sweet corn yet… but soooon…. real sooooon…. (that is if various critters don’t get to it before me!). Yesterday was the first tomato canning of the season, with 5 quarts and 7 pints of sauce made.

The hot pepper crop is also particularly abundant this year. Of course it helps that I planted 2 dozen hot pepper plants (DON’T ASK!). Well, to be fair, there are some anchos in there, and, really, I would hardly call those “hot” – but that’s how the seeds are classified. Nonetheless there is a fair amount of jalapenos and cayennes. Nothing too exotic or super hot: I did not plant scotch bonnets or habaneros … this year.

So what to do with all those hot peppers? Full of vitamins by the way. If you don’t believe me, check here for nutrition information. According to elook, 100g of raw Jalapeno peppers provides a lot more of several major vitamins than 100 g of Florida oranges: 73% of the average daily requirements for vitamin C (77% for orange), 25% of vitamin B6 (2% for orange), 16% vitamin K (0 %) and15% of vitamin A (4%). Of course, 100 g is about 3 ounces, so it’ll take a serious appreciation of all things spicy hot to eat that much in one seating!!!

My Dad always loved hot chili peppers, fresh, dried, pickled, cooked. And I mean hot. He was famous for it: for loving them and for making quantities of hot sauce. When I was in college and back home for the summer, my friend Marie-Laure would always ask for one of his hot sauce jars to take back to school. It was THAT good. (she always also begged my mom to make her octopus wine stew – but that’ll be a story for another day – maybe). Dad was enthralled when he came to visit us here in Virginia to find hot pepper jelly in the store – and now I am tasked to bring some each time we go visit him (that, and Jack Daniel!)

Ingredients for homemade hot sauce

A couple of years ago, I finally asked Dad for his “recipe”. He uses oil, so it should be refrigerated. Use whatever hot peppers you have or like; you can mix them, just make sure they are all of the same color, or the sauce will look “muddy”. I also make a very similar one but uses vinegar – your choice – and add some garlic, which results in a taste close to the Vietnamese –style hot sauce that you buy in the grocery store.

On to Gusto’s Hot Pepper Sauce (Sauce de Piment Confits de Gusto)

A note of caution on jalapenos and other hot peppers: I know the provenance of my jalapenos, so I am not concerned about the current salmonella scare. If yours are not home grown or you are unsure of their provenance, skip to another type of peppers. Finally some people are very sensitive to the capsaicin in peppers – especially the really hot ones: so handle with care, wear gloves if needed and please don’t rub your eyes or change your baby’s diapers after handling hot peppers!

Both sauces will keep for several months in the fridge, and are very versatile. Any time, you want a little heat, spoon some out: mixed with a little mayonnaise, on top of rice and curry, with an omelet, with salsa, over grits, in your ham sandwich… don’t limit yourself to the obvious.

3 jars of homemade hot sauce

Gusto’s Hot Pepper Sauce

Yield: approximately a cup/250 ml

  • 1 ½ cup (375 ml) of hot chili pepper, stemmed
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • A 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • Olive oil to top off

Put chili in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Through feeder tube, add the salt and ginger. Process until desired consistency is reached. I process finely, but I don’t juice. I want to see tiny pieces of hot peppers. Carefully open the food processor: don’t breath in the hot oils!

Transfer the chili mixture to a glass jar (do not use plastic or metal). Cover with oil making sure to stir to let air bubbles escape.

Keep refrigerated.

And for a variation:

Sylvie’s Hot Red Pepper Sauce

Yield: approximately a cup/250 ml

  • 1 ½ cup (375 ml) of hot red chili pepper, stemmed
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • A 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 gloves of garlic, degermed, if necessary, and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons (or more) white wine vinegar

Put chili in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Through feeder tube, add the salt, ginger and garlic. Process until desired consistency is reached. I process finely, but I don’t juice. I want to see tiny pieces of hot peppers. Carefully open the food processor: don’t breath in the hot oils!

Transfer the chili mixture to a glass jar (do not use plastic or metal). Cover with vinegar making sure to stir to let air bubbles escape.

Keep refrigerated.

10 comments

  1. Vanille says:

    That’s my mum who is used to eat chili everyday with her meal. Completely addicted ! I’ve lost this habit since years now…

  2. Alexandra says:

    This is great! I have three pepper bushes that have produced like wildfire, and I had no idea what to do with most of the crop… Now I do! Thanks!

  3. […] of the South-East Asia cuisines. Finally, fresh chilies can be frozen or turned very easily into fiery sauces ready to enliven a soup and warm you up from the inside on a frigid day. Got it? There, three more […]

  4. […] with blue corn cheese quesadillas and hot sauce on the side. Posted in Cookery, Meat/poultry Recipe, Vegetable recipe, locavore […]

  5. […] 1/2 teaspoon hot chili paste (I use 1 Tablespoon of this sauce, but figured most people may want to tame it a […]

  6. […] a teaspoon of Vietnamese-style hot sauce, or 1 or 2 bird chilies, sliced […]

  7. […] Hot Peppers. This year: Jalapenos, Fish & Bird. We make these hot sauces. […]

  8. Mitzi says:

    How long does the pepper sauce last in the frig? Months?

  9. sylvie says:

    Mitzi, it has kept several months for me. If you are concerned about keeping it that long, you could freeze the peppers and make hot sauce as you need.

  10. […] – Hot chunky sauce, with lots of ginger. Recipe here […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>