You know what they say. When life gives you habaneros you make hot sauce.
What? No one says that?
Taco ’bout a missed opportunity.
This year we planted a few vegetables in containers on our deck. I’d like to tell you they were lovingly and studiously attend to all summer but that would be incorrect. There was definitely some neglect.
Nevertheless, our habanero plant thrived in these adverse conditions and we suddenly had an abundance of habaneros on our hands.
What does one do with 50 habaneros?
While there is probably not a limit on the amount of fresh salsa a person could eat, there is definitely a limit on the number of tortilla chips a person should eat. (Thanks, metabolism.)
After a batch or six of salsa, we decided to try and make hot sauce.
There are common elements to all of the hot sauce recipes online, so you can pick which one appeals to your saucy side.
What I want to discuss are the things I didn’t read online.
Here are some tips from a complete hot sauce making novice for safely turning your kitchen into a pretend hot sauce factory.
While I’m referring specifically to habaneros, these tips will apply to any spicy pepper you are turning into hot sauce.
Safety Tips For Making Homemade Hot Sauce #1: Wear Gloves
If you take nothing else away from this blog post, please let it be the following.
Put. On. Gloves.
I don’t care if they are nitrile gloves, dishwashing gloves, leather work gloves, or ski gloves. Put them on before you cut the habaneros.
If you don’t, you’re going to have an unnatural urge to itch something on your face. (Heaven forbid it’s your eyes.) You’re going to give into that urge. (Please don’t let it be the eyes.) Then your face is going to feel like it has caught on fire. (At least it’s not your eyes.)
After you are done cutting the habaneros and have transferred them to the pan to cook, you should no longer need the gloves. At this point you can carefully remove and properly dispose of the gloves.
Then proceed to wash your hands as if you were a brain surgeon prepping for surgery.
Then wash them again.
Just to be safe.
You’ll thank me later.
Safety Tips For Making Homemade Hot Sauce #2: Ventilation Is Paramount
You might be thinking “Why is ventilation important? I don’t even cry while cutting onions.”
Habaneros aren’t onions.
When you heat those little morsels of fire up on the stove with vinegar, the fumes are going to be intense like when you’re exposed to an overwhelming chemical smell.
I’m making this hot sauce making process sound appealing, aren’t I? I knew it.
It’s worth it though. You just need to be prepared.
Turn the stove fan on. Open the windows. Maybe the doors too. Do whatever you can to minimize the intensity of the smell because it will make your eyes water and give you a cough if you breathe in too much of it.
It makes me wonder how they make hot sauce in a factory without causing the workers distress. The ventilation system must be amazing or the workers are wearing respirators. Or both.
Safety Tips For Making Homemade Hot Sauce #3: You Can Dilute The Hot Sauce To Taste
The good news is you can control the consistency and the intensity of the hot sauce you are making by adding water, usually at the end of the process. This makes sense because store-bought hot sauce has varying degrees of thickness. For instance, Ortega taco sauce is pretty thick compared to Tapatio or Tabasco.
The bad news is someone has to volunteer as tribute to taste test the hot sauce. That first taste might be extra SPICY.
Also, if you use your finger to do the taste test, please refer back to Tip #1 where I explain the hand washing process.
All jokes aside, I’m so happy I made hot sauce and don’t know why I waited so long to give it a try. It really is easy to make. The recipes are customizable to taste, heat levels, and variety of peppers.
Plus, hot sauce lasts a lot longer in the fridge that salsa.
I don’t know that it’s cheaper to make your own hot sauce unless you’re like us and have an abundance of peppers growing in your garden. What I do know is that it tastes delicious and I’ll definitely keep making it.
P.S. You can buy glass hot sauce bottles with a twist cap, which would be fun if you were gifting hot sauce to friends.
We used an old glass bottle for our hot sauce. However, this bottle has a cork instead of a twist top. To keep the hot sauce out of the cork we wrapped the cork in a little plastic wrap. So far, so good. We put a second batch of hot sauce in a mason jar…as one does.
Thanks for being here today. I enjoy sharing our life adventures with you. Here are some other blog posts you might enjoy.
Dave’s Killer Bread Copycat Recipe (among the top 5 most popular posts on my site)
*affiliate links in this blog post*