Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feel the Love: Homemade Hot Sauce Makes a Great Gift

People love homemade presents, and what better gift — for your spouse, lover, or best friend — than a hot pepper sauce? You can not only make it in mere minutes, but you can choose a fun name for it and make a customized label too. Suggested names for your special sauce:
Too Hot to Handle
Too Darned Hot
Jamaican Me Crazy
Hot Attack
Here's to Hot Times over the Holidays
Happy Hot Holidays
For more hot gift ideas, see the end of this post.

She Simmers
Makes 2 cups

In the style of Caribbean hot sauces, this sauce has a great burn that travels through your mouth slowly. If you’re experimenting with seasonings, some spices that stand up and get noticed in a sauce include black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, and mustard.

6 fresh red, yellow, or orange habanero chiles
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Stem and seed the habaneros, reserving the seeds. Combine the chiles and all of the remaining ingredients in a blender and purée until silky. Taste and add a sprinkling of the seeds if you want to ratchet up the heat.
  2. Pour into bottles. Use right away or refrigerate for up to a month.
Storage Tips
If you’d like to keep your sauce for a few months but don’t intend to sell it or can it, you can cook it (bringing the temperature up to 190°F [88°C] for 5 minutes), then pour it into sterilized bottles. (Sterilize clean bottles by submerging them in boiling water for 15 minutes or putting them into a 200°F [93°C] oven for 10 minutes). Jar size is flexible — you can use anything from a 5-ounce bottle to a quart-size jar. Pour the sauce while it’s still hot into the hot jar and seal. Keep at room temperature until you open it, then refrigerate.

If you want to put up sauce, preserve it, give it away as gifts, or sell it, you should put it in a water bath. Cook the sauce (bringing the temperature up to 190°F [88°C] for 5 minutes), then pour it while it is still hot into sterilized bottles or jars. Seal with the cap, then plunge into a water bath, which is a canning kettle filled with water that has been brought to a boil. Make sure the jars are fully submerged under the boiling water. Boil pint jars for 15 to 20 minutes; boil quart jars for 30 to 40 minutes. Depending on the size of your kettle, you can boil multiple jars at the same time. Sealed, your bottles will keep for a year. Once opened and refrigerated, your sauce can keep for up to 6 months. (You’ll know when it’s bad: It will change color, will smell bad, and might be moldy.)
Try this sauce in one of the following recipes:
Prairie Fire #3:
1 ounce Captain Morgan rum
A few dashes of hot sauce

Combine in shot glass and serve.

Sweet Basil Habanero Bloody Mary: 
Sweet Basil Habanero Bloody Mary
Photograph by © Tara Donne, excerpted from
Hot Sauce!
Several fresh basil leaves
4 ounces puréed canned tomatoes or tomato juice
2 ounces tequila
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon hot sauce
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Pinch of salt
A lot of freshly cracked black pepper

Rub the inside of a tall glass with a crushed basil leaf and leave it in the glass. Add ice to fill the glass halfway. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Garnish with more fresh basil leaves and serve.

Serves 1

Gift Ideas:
Make a Prairie Basket:
1 bottle of homemade hot sauce
1 bottle of Captain Morgan rum
1 copy of Hot Sauce!
2 shot glasses
Make a Bloody Mary Basket:
1 bottle of homemade Bloody Mary mix made using your homemade hot sauce
1 bottle of homemade hot sauce
1 bottle of vodka
1 copy of Hot Sauce!
1 jar of olives stuffed with hot peppers
2 to 4 tall cocktail glasses
Recipes excerpted from Hot Sauce! © 2012 Jennifer Trainer Thompson.
All rights reserved. 

Jennifer Trainer Thompson is the author of numerous cookbooks, including Hot Sauce and The Fresh Egg Cookbook. She has been featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine and has written for Yankee, Travel & Leisure, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and other publications. Thompson is the chef/creator of Jump Up and Kiss Me, an all-natural line of spicy foods. She lives in western Massachusetts with her family and a flock of backyard chickens.

No comments: