RECIPE: What to do with an Abundance of Hot Peppers ~ Hot Sauce


We’re already into the fall season, and my summer organic garden is still providing me with an abundance of hot peppers. I’ve grown quite a variety including hot red cherry peppers, jalapeno, habanero, hot banana, cayenne, serrano and even the hottest pepper of them all, the ghost pepper. I’ve eaten them mixed with scallions and eggs for breakfast, I’ve made a spicy fra diavolo sauce using my peppers and my tomatoes, I’ve made a delicious salsa, and I’ve grilled up some tangy jalapeno poppers. How many more peppers can I possibly eat? Yet they just keep coming. I literally had bags of them sitting in my refrigerator.


Not wanting them to go to waste, I turned to chef Emeril Lagasse’s hot sauce recipe. Emeril’s recipe called for using tabasco, serrano or red jalapeno peppers, but I decided to experiment and use everything I had. However, I only threw in a few of the habaneros and one or two ghost peppers, because I did not want to overpower the other peppers. Plus, it would just be way too hot to eat.

The one important thing that Emeril does not mention is to make sure you wear gloves while handling the peppers! Especially the habanero and the ghost peppers. After your sauce has aged in your refrigerator in sterilized mason jars for two weeks, you can transfer the sauce to these great glass hot sauce jars. Six for $20. Make your own labels and you’re good to go! A perfect gift for the holiday season.


Homemade Red Hot Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse
20 tabasco or serrano chiles stemmed and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices, or 12 very ripe red jalapenos (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
Combine the peppers, garlic, onions, salt and oil in a non- reactive saucepan over high heat. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until peppers are very soft and almost all of the liquid has evaporated. (Note: this should be done in a very well-ventilated area!) Remove from the heat and allow to steep until mixture comes to room temperature. In a food processor, puree the mixture for 15 seconds, or until smooth. With the food processor running, add the vinegar through the feed tube in a steady stream.

Taste and season with more salt, if necessary. (This will depend on the heat level of the peppers you use as well as the brand of vinegar used.) Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and then transfer to a sterilized pint jar or bottle and secure with an airtight lid. Refrigerate. Let age at least 2 weeks before using. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.