Hot Pepper and Sri-Gotcha Sauces

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Big D's Hot Pepper Sauce

I use white sea salt, which has bigger crystals and better flavor than table salt. It is not iodized and has no anti-caking additives in it, both of which can affect the color and taste of the sauce. I use white vinegar rather than cider or red wine vinegars for much the same reason. I recommend wearing plastic gloves since you’ll be handling a lot of chilies. Remember not to rub your eyes or get the pepper juice on sensitive parts of your skin. If it does get on your skin, I recommend suntan lotion to help cool the burn.

3 pounds ripe red chili peppers (cayenne, Serrano, jalapeño, Fresno, or other hot chili peppers)

6–7 cups white vinegar

6–8 teaspoons sea salt

Simmering Peppers-Closeup

Wash the peppers well. Cut off the stems and cut each pepper in inch-long pieces. Add 7 cups vinegar and 6 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 15 minutes or so, until the peppers are soft but not completely mush. Make sure you have good ventilation during this step; do this outdoors if you can.

Add the chopped mash to sterilized jars. (I use canning jars run through the dishwasher, but any clean jars will do.) When the mash is cool, cover it, label it, and put it in the refrigerator for several months. (There is no need to process it as you would for canning.)

Check the jars during this period and add vinegar if necessary to keep the mash wet. I add a teaspoon of salt to each canning jar if the mash doesn’t taste pleasantly salty.

When you are ready to bottle the sauce, combine the contents of the jars in a pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Let it cool slightly and run it through a food mill in batches to remove the seeds and skins. Taste the sauce. Add salt to taste and enough vinegar to make it pourable, if either seems necessary. Bottle the sauce, label it, and store it in the refrigerator.

Yield:  Yield will vary based on the type of peppers, the amount of vinegar you add and how long you cook the mash. Three pounds of peppers will make 7–9 cups of mash, which will yield 4–5 cups of finished sauce.

3 Cooked Mash

Sri-Gotcha Sauce

1½ pounds chili peppers

4–5 medium cloves of garlic

2½ teaspoons sea salt

4 tablespoons brown or raw sugar

½ cup white vinegar

¼ cup water

Wash and chop the peppers as in the first recipe. Chop the garlic roughly and combine all ingredients, but add only half the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. The peppers will be softened, but still uncooked. Pass through a food mill. Taste and add additional vinegar, water, salt, or sugar as needed. Add the extra water if the sauce needs it. Keep refrigerated. Best used within 2 weeks.

Yield: About 2 cups