This summer has been a great growing season for our habanero and jalafuego plants, and they have produced quite a bit of fruit. Fortunately, hot chilies are extremely versatile, but if you’re a chili head like my husband, you make hot sauce. A lot of hot sauce. So much that there’s a dedicated area of your fridge for all the bottles of this homegrown spicy elixir.
It’s an excellent way to utilize the summer’s bounty and extend the chili pepper season one or two drops at a time. The Salzinski homemade hot sauce is also loved by many of our neighbors, and makes a great gift.
Chili peppers are not only used all over the globe but are the foundation and necessity for countless dishes in India, Asia and Southeast Asia. The use of chilis defines cultures and recipes, and are a way of life for millions. But interestingly enough, chilis are a new world food originating in Central and/or South America. Columbus and Portuguese explorers brought chilis to Europe and Asia, and they have become one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in the world.
Eating chili peppers is also good for you! They promote a healthy digestive system, provide antioxidants, support a healthy immune system, can help prevent heart disease, and they’re an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
To make homemade hot sauce, you can use any chili pepper of your liking from mild to make-you-sweat spicy. I used what we were growing this year, which were habanero and jalafuego peppers. I had never heard of a jalafuego, but my sister-in-law gave it to us when it was just a little seedling and it quickly grew into a huge and productive plant. It’s a hybrid and produces some of the spicier jalapeño peppers on the market. They also get quite large, which makes them great for stuffing.
Place your stemmed peppers (I leave the seeds in for maximum spiciness, but you can remove them), garlic cloves, salt and water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the peppers are totally softened, about 20 minutes depending on their size.
The smell can be pretty intense for chili-sensitive folks, so turn on that exhaust fan if you have one.
Remove the pan from the heat and add distilled vinegar to help preserve the hot sauce and to add a nice level of tanginess. Using an immersion blender or a blender, puree until smooth. This is the one time I’ll tell you not to take a big whiff of your sauce!
For aesthetic purposes and for an extra boost of heat, I like to stir crushed red chili flakes into my green hot sauce, but this step is optional.
Pour into a jar of your choice (we save our empty maple syrup flasks for hot sauce), refrigerate and enjoy for months to come on anything and everything!
3-Ingredient Homemade Hot Sauce
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 2 cups
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1/2 pound hot chilis, stemmed
10 to 12 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt to taste
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon red chili flakes, optional
- Place the chilis, garlic, salt and water in a saucepan and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chilis are softened, 15 to 25 minutes depending on their size.
- Remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
- Stir in the chili flakes, pour into a jar of your choice and refrigerate.
Try some of this sauce at your next pizza night, sprinkled on top of your shrimp curry, or learn how the spiciness works to complement other flavors in our popular Flavor Dynamics class on Saturday, October 21 at 12pm at Lincoln Square.