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Jun 2, 2014 04:14 PM

Hot Sauce

I make a sweet hot sauce which contains red pepper, green pepper, onion and vinegar. I had some spoil on me that were not refrigerated. I was wondering if there was a preservative that I could use so that my sauce does not need to be refrigerated.

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    1. Vinegar is typically a perservative. Also, looking at Rooster sauce bottle, they use potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite to inhibit growth.

      What's probably happening is something is fermenting in your room temp sauce. I've had bottled catsup ferment and become carbonated when left out of the fridge.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dave_c

        I was looking at ascorbic acid but I am not sure. Just my have to do trial and error and see what happens. Thanks

        1. re: Jm22clark

          Look at the USDA food preservation website or a canning book - there are a few hot sauce recipes. One thing I've noticed about those recipes is they tend to be on the tart side (vinegary) since the recipes try to lower the pH below 4.6.

        2. re: dave_c

          Perfect for a bloody mary mix!. I've had OJ ferment in my fridge once, not sure why. Considered drinking it anyway, but decided not to.......

        3. ok, thank you very much.

          1. Cooking the peppers may also kill off some molds. However, fermentation is not a bad thing. Simply a different process to preserve the sauce. And add another dimension.

            Be sure to ferment with a vapor lock. Any toy balloon will do.

            1. In general, hot sauces are preserved using acid (like vinegar), salt, and/or fermentation. Acid and salt both retard the growth of bacteria, and fermentation tends to create acids, for the same effect from a different direction.

              How was it spoiling - going bad tasting, or growing mould? And how were you storing it?

              For storage, I would be careful to sterilize your storage container with boiling water before filling, and fill with piping hot sauce, so it starts out in a sterile condition, and use a bottle that has a small opening, to prevent contaminants from getting into it (think Tabasco bottle).

              More acid and salt will help the preservation. I think that too much sugar in a hot sauce can cause mould to grow as well, even with a low pH - you might want to check out canning forums for advice.

              If it's fermenting with good bacteria in a controlled fashion, you can get a nice result. If it's just going bad, you won't.

              13 Replies
              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                Here's a link to McIlhenny's Tabasco Sauce process:


                I'm sure that they aren't giving away all their trade secrets, but there's only three ingredients and no preservatives. I've seen plenty a bottle sitting out in slow diners that probably have been there for months. Maybe they use a lot of vinegar to pepper ratio.

                Just asking, why do you not want it in the fridge? What makes it sweet? And by green peppers, you mean chiles, right?

                1. re: rudeboy

                  I want to sell them so they can't be refrigerated and they are bell peppers. I use ghost and scotch bonnet peppers for the heat.

                  1. re: Jm22clark

                    Well, that's why I asked, Jm. I wonder if it is something about the bell peppers that contributed? I suppose they are essential to the flavor. I can't explain why I'm wondering about that - just a feeling.

                    1. re: Jm22clark

                      If you want to sell it and they've gone off before you need to learn how to correctly manufacture it and a message board is not the place to turn for that.

                      Also you need to speak to a lawyer and an insurance agent before you embark.

                      1. re: Jm22clark

                        I'm guessing the vinegar content is too low, and the sugar content too high.

                        But please, please, please don't try to sell home preserves when you don't know what you're doing. Poison yourself if you really want to, but don't do it to other people.

                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                            My understanding is that the OP (Jm) is in the "home trial phase" to see what works and what doesn't. I don't think that the bottling machines have been ordered!

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          Sweet chili sauce. I tried one without the bell peppers to see what happens. Taste is not that much different. It is more of a filler i guess. Will wait and see what happens. I figure that if you remove what has to be refrigerated from the ingredients it should be ok.

                          1. re: Jm22clark

                            Maybe leave that one at room temp and let us know how it turns out. Bell peppers do contain a good amt of sugar. I searched this:

                            bell peppers sugar content

                        2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                          It would sour and actually build pressure I guess from gases in the bottle. I did boil the bottles for at least 10 minutes and they are 5 oz. bottles with a big opening because the sauce is a little thick. It is not as watery as say tobasco sauce.

                          1. re: Jm22clark

                            Yep - sounds like excessive sugar combined with wild yeast getting in, and not enough vinegar to bring the pH low enough to retard it. Does it taste vinegary? What is the basis for how much vinegar you put in, the flavor profile you are targeting?

                            1. re: rudeboy

                              I want to make something different from most other hot sauces which are usually hot but bitter. Mine is sweet with a lot of heat and tastes good. I will try to add more vinegar but I don't want to add too much. No , it does not taste like vinegar