Have you ever made your own hot sauce? It is quite simple and you can control the amount of heat. For a mild sauce, use Poblano, Ancho, Cherry and Sweet Banana peppers. If you want a sauce that makes you sweat, then add hot Serrano, Cherry Bomb, Chipotle, and Jalapeño peppers. I doubt you can handle Red Savina Habenero or Ghost Peppers unless you only use a couple of them. My daughter tried a Ghost Pepper salt and screamed…I warned her.
For the Morningside Market, Robert Phalen of One Eared Stag used Jalapeño, Serrano, Cherry Bomb and Poblano from Burge Organic Farms. They are at the end of the season so buy them now or wait for the different varieties which will be harvested in the fall. Crystal Organic Farms has mild purple peppers this week.
I love how versatile peppers are once you get comfortable cooking with them. I created my own version of “Jalapeño Poppers” by stuffing small cherry peppers with some cheddar cheese, cream cheese and Chipotle Himalayan salt with a little sugar and roasted them until the cheese bubbled. They were fabulous, even the kids ate them.
If you are learning about peppers and their heat index, then the Scoville Scale will help you determine which ones to buy. The Scoville Scale rates the amount of Capsaicin in the peppers to calculate how hot they are. Wilbur Scoville developed the method using human tasters back in the early 1900′s. Now a High Performance Liquid Chromatography machine tests the amount of capsicinoids in parts per million. Here is a list of all the peppers and their ratings if you are interested.
The picture below includes the more commonly found and used peppers. Select three varieties for a more complex sauce and try to use what is in season. Remember to wear gloves when handling the peppers.
For a clever holiday gift to warm up your loved ones, make a mild green hot sauce using green peppers and a hotter red one with more fiery peppers. Then wrap the two sauces together. Buy small Weck or mason jars and tie them together with a cute ribbon. Before you make the sauce, practice cutting out these bell pepper faces for Halloween.
Source: Justin Forrest on Scoville Scale for Peppers
The Tabasco “cologne bottles” hold about 2 ounces of sauce or 720 drops so you should have a years worth of sauce in one small mason jar. Tabasco ages the peppers in oak barrels for the rich flavor before mixing then with vinegar and salt. This recipe includes some citrus, sugar and fresh bay leaves to enhance the flavor. Let me know what peppers you decide to use and if it was the right amount of heat. Or, if you try the oak barrel method.
I am considering doing a contest where I give a Back to Organic Chipotle Himalayan Pink Salt away to the person with the most creative way to shape vegetables for Halloween snacks and decorations. For now, please share the pictures of your peppers cut into Halloween faces on the Back to Organic Facebook page. If I do the contest, I will post the details. People are already asking about Halloween ideas for the school parties.
1) Prep- Put on your gloves. Remove the stems and roughly chop the peppers. Leave the seeds in the peppers; they help break down the mash.
2) Brine- Add the 5 pounds of peppers, 1/2 cup of Himalayan, Mediterranean or Kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl, cover and brine over night.
3) Puree- Roughly chop the garlic and the shallots. You may add the garlic skins for a more earthly flavor. Add the brined peppers with the juice, garlic, shallots, and FRESH bay leaves into a food processor and blend everything together into a mash. Add a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon or lime juice if you wish.
4) Ferment- Place the mash in a air tight container and let it sit for at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
5) Make Hot Sauce- When the mash is ready, blend with 1 cup of plain, white distilled vinegar. Taste. Adjust the amount of vinegar for more or less heat. Strain and disregard the mash. Store in a dark cabinet or the refrigerator. The hot sauce has a long shelf life, “almost as long as a Twinkie.”
Recipe from Robert Phalen of One Eared Stag
Photos from TC Brodnax at the Morningside Market