There is nothing I love more than spicy food, and near the top of my 30 Before 30 list is homemade hot sauce. Midwest Supplies, where we purchase most of our beer making ingredients, also sells ingredients to make your own hot sauce. One of the first times we were in there, we saw a hot sauce making kit. I assumed I needed this because I had no idea where to start when making my own hot sauce (uh, hello, internet??). We didn’t purchase it that day since we were buying so many other beer brewing items, but the next three or four times we went, they were out of kits. I couldn’t possibly pick out my own ingredients and wing it, could I? So finally, the last time we were there picking up more bottles, the kit was there! Nate said I could get one as part of my birthday gift, YES!
After reading through the ingredients and instructions, I realized I really didn’t need a “hot sauce making kit”. Here is a list of what came in my kit:
- 3 Hot Sauce Bottles
- 3 Pair Black Nitrate Gloves
- 1 oz whole dried Habanero chili peppers
- 1 oz whole dried Morita chipotle chili peppers
- 1 oz whole dried arbol chili peppers
- 1 oz cayenne powder
- 1 oz jalapeno powder
- 1 oz aji amarillo powder
- pH paper 2.8-4.4
Now I know for next time. The only additional items I needed to get started was fresh tomatoes and Xanthan Gum. I’ve never heard of Xanthan Gum previously, so I did a little research and learned that it’s generally used in gluten-free baking and sold at specialty grocery or health food stores. This meant I couldn’t just pop over to Cub or Rainbow, I had to make a Whole Foods trip. Boy, do I love Whole Foods! Unfortunately, I can’t really justify doing all my shopping there; it’s not quite in the budget. Plus, the closest one to me is about 25 minutes away.
The next day I was looking forward to making hot sauce after work all day long. Nate would be at class, so I’d have the kitchen to myself, not that I don’t normally, but I just really like to cook in an empty house. I got the Xanthan Gum and my fresh Bushel Boy tomatoes and I was ready to start making some hot sauce. Nate and I both like heat, but I’m quite a bit more tolerable to it than he is. I thought this was the perfect excuse to make two kinds of hot sauce. One with lots and lots of heat, and another with a healthy combination of fire and flavor. The first one I made was the later of the two, which was a Garlic Hot Sauce. The recipe is from Midwest Supplies and came in the kit. I think I’ll start with a few of these before I venture down the experimental hot sauce path. I can’t wait for that!! I also made a Red Hot Chipotle Sauce, but left that to sit with its solids in the fridge for a week before I strain it. Then it’ll be nice and spicy!
Garlic Hot Sauce
Source: Midwest Supplies
Servings: Yields about 1/2 cup
3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
4-6 fresh cloves of garlic
2-4 whole dried Habanero chilies
10 whole dried de arbol chilies
1/2 tsp Aji Amarillo powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum
1. Put on gloves and keep them on while handling the chilies (these are especially hot and you don’t want to be touching your mouth, nose, and especially eyes – contact wearers – after handling them). Remove the stems from chilies and place in medium-sized bowl. Pour boiling water over chilies to rehydrate. Press down with a spoon to be sure all chilies are submerged, and let rest for 10 minutes.
2. In a food processor, puree tomatoes and chilies with the vinegar, aji amarillo powder and garlic salt. Transfer to a small sauce pan and simmer sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Xanthan Gum and mix in until dissolved.
* If you are taking the pH level of your sauce, now is the time to do so. Hot sauce ingredients are high in pH levels and can spoil easily without proper acidification. It is important to cook the sauce at a proper temperature for a sufficient time so that undesired organisms will be destroyed. Additionally, the pH should be adjusted to below 4.6, preferably below 4.2. Typically, vinegar-based hot sauce has a pH in the range of 3.0-4.0. To acidify hot sauce, add more vinegar, lime juice or other low pH substances.
* After your sauce has boiled, everything that comes in contact with it from here on out must be sanitized. One-Step or Star San sanitizers are recommended to ensure a sanitary environment without the need to rinse. If you do not have cleaner to sanitize your bottles, place empty bottles (without cap or dripper insert) in a pot, cover and fill the bottles with water. Boil for 10 minutes.
3. For a milder sauce, immediately strain your sauce through a fine mesh strainer. For a hotter sauce, leave the solids in the sauce for up to two weeks, then strain. Bottle the sauce and let it age for at least one week in the fridge. I strained this one right away and bottled it.