Homemade Hot Sauce

This year, the owners of the apartment complex we live in decided to plant a community garden. It’s been pretty great thus far; I’ve been able to use unending amounts of mint, lemon balm, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, etc. But perhaps the best part has been the incredible firecracker chili pepper harvest. Ever since I worked as a waitress for a local Thai restaurant, I’ve been addicted to spicy cuisine. Since none of the other residents seem to want said chili peppers, I took it upon myself to gather most of the crop. I’ve already made chili infused simple syrup for cocktails, and chili infused olive oil. And today I decided it was time to make homemade hot sauce.

My recipe is based on a combination of information sourced from Emeril Lagasse and random Google searches. But honestly, making homemade hot sauce is really super simple! All you need is a bunch of chilies, salt, and vinegar. I added in onion and garlic to make things more interesting in addition to a combination of white and apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar should balance the intense bite of the sauce with a bit of sweetness.

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To begin, I stuck the chili peppers under the broiler for about 10 minutes until they started to blacken and bubble a bit. As the peppers were doing their thing, I sauteed the onions and garlic for roughly two minutes before adding in a cup of water. Once the peppers had enough time in the broiler, I chopped off their tops and added them to the onions and garlic, along with another cup of water, to the stove top.

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This is the part of the process where you need to make sure your windows are open, and fans are going! The steam and oil from the chilies will take over your kitchen and may make it a bit difficult to breath. So be careful!

Cook the peppers, onions, and garlic until the water evaporates. When the water is gone, the ingredients are ready for the food processor. Blend, blend, blend, until smooth, while adding in roughly a cup of vinegar. I used 3/4 cup of white, and 1/4 cup of apple cider. Add the salt as well, and taste as you go. Once the batch is ready, add the mixture to a sterilized canning jar, sealed with a lid. I left the seeds in the sauce, because well, I like it really, really, hot. If you want the sauce less hot, it will need to be strained through a mesh sieve.

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Now comes the hard part. Waiting at least two weeks for the hot sauce to ferment in the fridge. Every time I open the door I just want to try it, but patience is key! I’ll be sure to post an update to see how everything turns out. Once it’s ready, it will keep for about six months.

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So, just to recap what is needed:

Half an onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup of vinegar (3/4 white, 1/4 apple cider)

Dashes of salt

1/2 pound to a pound of chilies depending on how hot you want the sauce

A  broiler pan

A saute pan

A sterilized jar/lid

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