This is one of my favorite hot sauces that I have been making for several years now. Be sure to read the list of suggestions I have provided at the bottom of this instructable if you choose to make this sauce.
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Step 1: Where to Grow Them.
Tabasco sauce is one of my favorite all around flavoring medium I use on a lot of foods especially on eggs. It is also very easily grown and it requires a very small area. It can be grown in pots or directly in the garden. It has been my experience that it thrives best and produces large and bountiful crop when grown in between tomato plants.
Step 2: Hydroponic Method.
This Spring, I made a passive hydroponic garden and planted a few tabasco plants in there but the peppers grew slower and the plants produced fruits that were much smaller than the ones in soil. If you are interested in making a passive hydroponic garden in half a day, click here. I think I will stick to garden salads for that project.
Step 3: Red or Green; You Pick the Color.
You can make tabasco sauce using the green fruits right before they turn red or mix both green and red if you don't mind a brown looking sauce.
Step 4: Gather What You Need.
I used five tomatoes from the garden but if you don't grow your own, a better alternative is two small cans of tomato sauce without any herbs in them. Wash everything clean and remove the stems from the peppers by snapping the off. If you put the peppers in the fridge for a day (without a lid) the stems slightly dehydrate and are much easier to remove. Also, cut the core of the tomatoes at an angle and discard the byproducts.
Step 5: Processing Steps.
Cut up your tomatoes in quarter size, place them in a pot and add a cup of water. Turn the heat to medium and let it simmer while you are doing the other processing.
Put a couple of handful of peppers in a blender, add a cup of water (about half the volume of the peppers. See picture). Turn the blender on and off until the peppers are semi-crushed before going full speed. You should see the "tornado" effect of peppers while spinning around, are also moving from sides to center.
Once the peppers are liquified, pour the mixture over a strainer and use a spatula to squeeze out as much of the juices as possible. Be sure to save the pulp. Next, pour the juice back into the blender and add three handful of peppers (for my harvest, it was all of them) and follow the previous steps and harvest the juice.
Step 6: Almost There.
By now, your tomatoes should be nice and soft and ready to be strained. Follow the same steps as before and squeeze as much of the juice out of the pulps (no blender needed) and before discarding the pulps and skins, run your spatula beneath the strainer to capture all the pulps that are stuck to it.
Rinse your strainer and place it over the pot, add the pepper pulps and pour the tomato juice over them slowly and evenly. After a few minutes, use your spatula to squeeze all the juices into the pot. Discard the byproducts.
I like my sauce to have a bit of consistency to it and for that reason, I added a 1/2 can of tomato paste to the juice while bring it to a boil. Remove the foam that accumulates on the top and then turn off the heat.
Add the pepper juice to the tomato sauce and stir well before bottling. I have been using a large Louisiana hot sauce bottle for several years now. This bottle usually last me a year or so.
Step 7: Bon Appetit.
A few things you need to know:
1- These peppers can create a discomfort (burning sensation) on your finger tips and especially under your thumb while removing the stems. They have a tendency to accumulate under your thumb fingernail. Use gloves to prevent this.
2- When pouring the juice in various container and when squeezing the plup, do it slowly. You don't want the liquid to get in your eyes of sensitive areas of your skin.
3- After harvesting the ingredients, it took me an hour and half to from start to finish. It should take much less time if you are using tomato sauce. No cooking is required.
4- After you mix your juices together, increasing the amount of tomato sauce can reduce the hot flavor of the final product. Add more tomato sauce if it is too hot.
5- Refrigerate the bottle. If you make more than a bottle, I suggest using water/soda bottles 3/4 full and freezing them.
6- You can add all kinds of additional ingredients to this recipe; celery, cilantro, paprika for richer color, turmeric (very little) and herbs. The best way to experiment, is to use a small portion of the sauce, mix-in your favorite herbs and spices and determine whether it is to your liking or not.
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