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Jun 4, 2008 06:51 PM

Help to make hot pepper sauce w scotch bonnets

Have bought some lovely looking scotch bonnet peppers and want to make a hot pepper sauce. Any ideas/hints as to how to do this? Can I add shallots, how much vinegar? I will have enough for a small jar (I think), so what about sterilizing? So many questions.......

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  1. I made a big batch of this last year, and I am already getting requests for bottles again this year.
    1. Sterilizing?
    Depends what you wanna do. Do you want shelf stable, or do you want fridge sauce.
    Note: even if you want shelf stable, you gotta keep it in the fridge after it's opened.
    Go to a website about canning if you want the lowdown. For shallots, I would have no issue using them. Be sure to rinse them well if you don't plan on cooking them first.

    Here's what I did:
    put peppers minus stems into the blender.
    Add vinegar splashes as you go to blend the peppers down as needed.
    next, add a smart amt of garlic powder, onion powder, and any spices that you think might work well. (sorry, the whole point of making your own hot sauce is to actually make it your OWN) My spices were ground cumin, various dried ground chile powders (including ancho, pequin, arbol, and aleppo) toasted garlic, and onion powder, ground dried chipotle then lime juice and cilantro. Once that is all blended, add vinegar to get it to the consistency you'd like. FInsih with salt to taste, and some black pepper. transfer it to the fridge.
    And then add what you feel is needed from there. Dried spices need time to develop their flavors. Your sauce will taste 100% different the next day. When you are ready to bottle it, wash your btls in hot water, and then rinse them in hot water. Get it into the bottle, and tap the bottom of the bottle on a counter to get the contents settled. Cap it, and toss in fridge. The contents may separate after some time (mine does) but it's still perfectly fine. I'm gonna do another big batch at the end of the year when my csa guy sets me up with all of the hot peppers. His other clients have requested more of my hot sauce, and giardiniera since I gave him some bottles and he, in turn, shared it with them.

    1. I made this recipe with tabasco chili peppers, but I'm sure it would work great with scotch bonnets or any other pepper. Actually, I threw one or two jalapenos into mine because I had them growing, too. It makes a really tasty, and very HOT, sauce. I didn't sterilize the jar (I used an empty tabasco sauce jar so it would have the small opening, and a funnel to pour it into the jar) but I keep it in the refrigerator. When I made it I was worried about the fumes, so I opened the windows and put the parakeets and gerbils out on the porch. But the fumes weren't bad at all. Nobody complained about burning eyes or noses. Also, I don't have a non-metal pan so I used a stainless steel saucepan and it was fine.

      Homemade Tabasco Sauce

      12 large Tabasco chile peppers; stemmed
      1 clove peeled garlic
      ½ cup vinegar
      ½ tsp salt
      ½ tsp sugar

      Boil the chile peppers and garlic in vinegar in a small, non-metal saucepan until tender. Puree in a blender with the salt and sugar. Run through a metal sieve if necessary.

      Dilute this paste with more vinegar until it is the consistency of rich cream. Pour into a non-metal saucepan, bring to a boil, then pour into a hot, sterilized bottle to within ½ inch of the rim.

      Run a sterilized knife around the inside of the bottle to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and seal with a scalded top. Store in the refrigerator once opened.

      From: Red Hot Peppers by Jean Andrews

      5 Replies
      1. re: AmyH

        Wow, thanks to both of you for some great ideas. Now I just have to decide: to cook or not to cook?

        1. re: l_izzie

          If your going to cook such hot peppers then I highly recommend doing it outside or while wearing googles/dustmask. I made a recipe similiar to the one above and at the point of boiling the nearly finished sauce the fumes were really strong. My kitchen had to be evacuated.

        2. re: AmyH

          I made a sauce almost identical to yours, AmyH. I cooked it up on May 23 and stashed it in the fridge - hoping to 'age' it for a few weeks before straining and finishing with more vinegar, if needed.

          We were in Belize last year and fell in love with their Belizean style hot sauces featuring scotch bonnets. I was happy with this home version

          1 small onion, chopped
          4 garlic cloves, chopped
          3 carrots, peeled & chopped
          2 C water
          3 scotch bonnets (stems, seeds, and ribs removed)
          Juice of 1 lime
          1 tsp salt
          Bit of oil

          Saute onions and garlic in oil until soft (do not brown). Add water and carrots, bring to boil. Simmer until carrots are very soft (add more water if necessary).
          Remove from heat and place in blender. Add rest of ingredients and puree until smooth.
          Place in a jar and keep in the fridge.

          I used whole peppers on my first attempt, but it was a tad too hot for my tastes. Seeding and removing the pepper ribs lowered the heat a bit.
          Comes out a nice orangey color.

          1. re: porker

            The Belizean sauces are wonderful with carrots to attenuate the scotch bonnet heat and add a friendly color. Your preface indicates the option for "more " vinegar, but there is no vinegar in the recipe. I learned from Eat Nopal that most common hot sauces do include vinegar, and only a select few do not. Vinegar complements cajun food well, but takes away from other preparations. If you can find your balance without adding vinegar, I think you will be closer to the perfect all-utility habanero sauce, which has yet to be perfected. Best of luck!

            1. re: Veggo

              I was attempting to address two posters at once.
              I am presently in the process of making a tobasco-style sauce, very similar to AmyH's using cayenne peppers (and vinegar). I was simply mentioning this in passing.

              The original poster asked for suggestions for scotch bonnets and I suggested the recipe I used for a Belizean style (without vinegar).

              I guess I should have been clearer...

        3. I have a cousin who makes a west indian style scotch bonnet hot sauce in large batches. I don't have her recipe, but I recall some basic pointers from our discussion. She says when making this indoors, her eyes burn badly, so ventilation is important. She cooks the peppers with dried seasonings and uses chopped onions. I also detect a hint of west indian curry powder in the flavor and color of the sauce. I also see tiny flecks of red sweet pepper in the sauce. We store the sauce in the refigerator and it lasts a very long time. She plans to teach me how to make it, but I want to do it outside on a hot plate as I can't deal with the whole eyes burning situation.

          1. Wear gloves!!!

            I am not kidding... I use these a lot & can't stress this enough, if you are going to pare Scotch Bonnets (Habenearos) WEAR GLOVES!

            Greydyn is also correct about the fumes, your eyes will sting when you wash the cutting board in hot water. Cooking will be something else entirely.

            Haitian pikleze is a hot slaw-like condiment that I make regularly for my beloved, it is jarred cold, preserved in vinegar and will keep indefinately in the fridge... getting hotter with each passing day!

            1. Have you tried Jamaican Jerk seasoning? It has Scotch Bonnets. I dig the flavor a lot. I like Walkerswood Jerk seasoning. It's just got such a really terrific flavor I use it so often, even in very small quantities.