While it’s fun to grow extremely hot peppers they’re not the easiest to include in your favorite dishes. They will very quickly dominate your recipe and make it inedible. So, what do you do with those pesky hot ghost peppers?
Aside from preserving the peppers for a longer term, a hot sauce makes ghost pepper heat manageable in cooking. While every hot sauce can turn out a little different you can more easily predict the heat your adding to your food. If you enjoy spicy heat this hot sauce is for you. I’ve crafted this recipe through trial and error - I hope you enjoy!
5-6 Ghost Peppers
4 Medium Sized Shallots
4-5 Cloves Garlic
Hand-full Carrot Chips
Hand-full Cherry Tomatoes
1 to 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Salt
Small Sauce Pan
Food Processor/Blinder/Emersion Blender
Bottles for Storage
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Step 1: Slice & Dice!
WARNING - The capsaicin (THE HOT STUFF) concentration in ghost pepper is very high and can irritate your skin, eyes, etc. I highly recommend you protect your hands with gloves while preparing the ghost peppers and throughly clean surfaces used during preparation.
Start by cleaning the ghost peppers. Since this is a sauce, I recommend removing the seeds. It is a misnomer that the seeds in a hot pepper contain the heat, but the whitish flesh of pepper is where the highest concentrations of heat reside. The seeds unfortunately will not process down while cooking and can add a bitter flavor when consumed. Don’t worry about removing a bit of the white flesh from the ghost peppers - the sauce will be plenty hot!
Quarter the shallots. Worth noting that shallots are my preference over onions. Shallots tend to be a bit milder than onions.
Time to be a little lazy! I bought store cut carrots, pre-pealed garlic, but I did pick the tomatoes from my garden.
Since we are going to roast the vegetables, the thinly sliced carrots will cook more consistently with the other vegetables simplifying our next step. You might also ask, why carrots? They add a mild sweetness that helps offset some of peppers heat and an orange brightness to the sauce.
No pre-work is needed for the tomatoes or garlic.
Step 2: The Roast!
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I use the convection roast option, as the convection helps evenly distribute the heat in the oven for a more consistent roast.
Place your prepared vegetables evenly across a baking pan and liberally drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt across all of the vegetables.
Place the pan on the middle rack. Everything should be cooked in less than 20 mins and I recommend checking them every 5 mins. Your looking for the edges of the onions and pepper to start to brown. This is when you should remove the pan from the oven.
Step 3: Time to Preserve
This step will ensure every vegetable (especially the carrots) are soft in preparation to purée.
Your now freshly roasted vegetables should be moved to a small sauce pan. Add approximately 2/3 cups of water which slightly cuts the vinegar and improves the boiling point.
Top off with apple cider vinegar. This is not exact, but I estimate it is somewhere between 1 and 2 cups of vinegar.
On medium heat, let the vegetable simmer in the vinegar for 10 to 15 mins. The carrots should be very soft.
Step 4: Get ‘Saucey’
There are numerous options to choose from when puréeing vegetables. I opted for a food processor, but you can get the same results from blender or emersion blender.
Place the cooked vegetables in the food processor and appropriately secure the lid. I let the processor run for approximately 3-5 mins. It might seem like a long time, but I like to ensure everything is completely puréed.
Return your newly made hot sauce to the pan and again bring the mixture to a simmer. This serves two purposes. It will further distribute and concentrate the flavors in the sauce and also kill off any bacteria the sauce might have encountered prior to bottling. Note that bacteria should not be a problem given the acidity of the sauce, but if you want to test the pH your target is less than 4.5.
Time to give your sauce a taste! Again, WARNING! This sauce is hot - both temperature and spice. Place the very tip of a fork in the sauce. This should be enough for the an initial taste... maybe keep a glass of milk close by. :-)
Step 5: You Say Bottle. I Say Bottle. Let’s Finish This Instructable Off!
Let me start by saying you don’t need to be fancy when it comes to bottling. Any storage container will work. I went with fancier bottles because I plan to gift the sauce to a friend. If you like these bottles a simple internet search will yield plenty of options.
I sterilized the bottles the day before, mostly to ensure any byproduct of manufacturing are cleaned off.
A small funnel makes the filling process much easier and a bamboo skewer will clear clogs. I poured the sauce hot into the bottles and quickly moved it to the fridge.
A great way to test Pesky Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce is in plain hummus. Start by adding a few drops, mix in, and taste. You can continue this process until you have the heat where you like it. It also makes delicious hummus!
I hope you’ve had fun making my Pesky Hot Sauce!
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