This year we added another product to our list of canned goods: Hot Sauce!
We did two versions – one cooked and canned and one naturally fermented. Both used the same basic ingredients: equal parts of onions, carrots, tomatoes, and hot peppers (about 4 cups of each) and a smaller part garlic (one head). Depending on the hotness of your peppers, you may want to adjust the proportions to achieve your desired heat.
We started by putting all our veggies through our juicer. If you don’t have one, you could blend or purée your product after it has cooked and softened. If blending, you’ll want to decide whether or not to include whole hot peppers, or to remove the seeds. If removing the seeds with your hands, I recommend wearing rubber gloves to keep the hot oils off your skin!
Canning: We put our juice into a large pot and added 20% (by volume) white distilled vinegar and salt to taste. After boiling for 20 minutes, we ladled the hot sauce into 1/2 cup Ball jars and put them into a hot water bath for an additional 10 minutes. These will make great gifts this holiday season.
Fermenting: I put 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 cup whey* into a quart ball jar. I then filled the jar the rest of the way with our uncooked hot sauce juice. I left the covered jar out on our counter for several days, stirring about twice a day and tasting occasionally. After four days, the hot sauce developed a nice sour flavor in addition to the hot, oniony, and garlicky flavors. I then put the jar into the fridge for storage. For an additional fermented hot sauce choice, I followed this recipe for a delicious salsa verde.
*To get whey, I strain plain yogurt (make sure yours has live cultures). You can use a strainer or cheese cloth over a bowl to separate the solids from the whey. After several hours, you’re left with whey (full of lactobacillus) and greek yogurt. You can also use juice from a pervious naturally fermented pickle or sauerkraut jar as a way to ensure there are plenty of good bacteria in your fermenting hot sauce.