leave your inhibitions at the door
The weather this summer was much, much better than when I wrote this post a couple years ago. As a result I was able to get some perfect cayenne peppers. I’ll probably be too lazy to write a new post on the fresh batch, so this is as good as it gets for you.
Yes, I suck.
How many of you are hot sauce fiends? I’m not talking about a couple dashes on eggs and the occasional chicken wing. I’m talking the kind of fiend that puts hot sauce on everything – pizza, pork chops, mac & cheese, popcorn. I’m one of those guys.
I’ll put it on just about everything except for cereal and ice cream. No, wait… I do put some in grits, which is technically a cereal. I don’t put any on Fruit Loops or Frosted Flakes but that’s only because I’m, like, over 12 years old and don’t eat those anymore. As for ice cream, I haven’t tried it but only because I didn’t think about it until now.
Back in Spring, I built my garden boxes and tried my hand at growing cayenne peppers. This picture represents a third of what I was able to pull from two plants.
I had never grown them before, so didn’t realize that they got so long – close to a foot long. When I bit it into them, I was expecting a lot of heat as cayennes have more Scoville units than jalapenos but these weren’t as hot as I hoped they’d be. What I think happened was that the cold summer we had messed them up. I was waiting and waiting for them to turn red but the weather wasn’t warm enough to ripen them. Same thing happened with my tomatoes, as they weren’t ready to pick until late August – more than a month late. So while the peppers stayed on the vine, they just kept on growing which took away the potency.
Note to self #1 – Pick them earlier and let them ripen off the vine.
But I had all these peppers and figured it’d be a waste to not try making hot sauces.
Hot Sauce Recipe #1
I got this from Savoryreview.com and is pretty similar to most of the ones I found – blend with some salt and vinegar, then simmer for a little. Here’s the full recipe.
Cut off stems from 1/2 pound of cayenne peppers and add to blender with 3 to 4 teaspoons of salt. (The author recommends adding a few other different types of peppers for other flavor profiles) Add enough white vinegar (1-2 cups) to cover the peppers.
Add to sauce pan and bring to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain the mixture.
Pour into jar.
The Result – This was nice. I really like the kick of vinegar and had enough heat to capture my attention. It had a little bit of a green pepper, vegetal quality to it, which was odd but not off-putting. My guess is that the ratio of seeds (where the heat is) to flesh was thrown off because they were so huge.
Note to self #2 – Cut off as the fleshy areas that don’t have seeds to get more seeds into the mix.
Hot Sauce Recipe #2
This next recipe was very different and I seriously had my doubts about it. It’s from FrugallySustainable.com and there are elements to the blog that leads me to believe it’s a hippie site and you know I don’t do well with hippies. Second, the preparation itself didn’t use a drop of vinegar and wasn’t cooked. Instead, the recipe calls for soaking it in a jar for two weeks to let it ferment, then blending. This didn’t seem like sound cooking practice and part of me thought that I would end up poisoning myself. But I figured years of gastrointestinal abuse has steeled my stomach for this moment. And if I got sick then that would make for an even better blog post.
Fill a jar with peppers, 2.5 teaspoons salt, and 4-5 garlic cloves. Add enough water to cover the peppers.
Close the jar and leave in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Here’s what it looked like when it was done.
It’s barely visible, but there were a lot of tiny little bubbles in it. That concerned me a little but, what the hell, I’ve come this far.
The Results – Absolutely delicious. It had about the same amount of heat as the other, but also achieved a bright, tangy flavor even without the vinegar. It’s more of a sambal-type sauce from Asia, so I wonder if they ferment for those as well. The
hippies writers of the recipe said it’d keep in the refrigerator for a year.
Note to self #3 – Maybe start easing up on hippies…. Nahhhhh!
Even though I didn’t get the spiciness I was looking for, the overall experience was great. The peppers were a breeze to grow and having that much yield was very satisfying. The sauces were easy to make and now I’ll have something to show from my harvest until next summer. Assuming we don’t use them up way before then.
Note to self, #4 (which is also a note to you all) – don’t ever put hot sauce on ice cream. It tastes like ass.
Are you a hot sauce fiend? What do or don’t you like hot sauce on? Have you ever made it yourself?