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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Green Cayenne Hot Sauce

Cayenne peppers are long, slender and slightly twisted. Medium in size and medium in heat, these chili peppers are spicer than jalapeños but not as hot as habaneros.

The Scoville heat index, named after pharmacist William Scoville, measures the capsaicinoids in chili peppers:

Habanero:  200,000-300,000
Tabasco:  30,000 - 50,000
Cayenne:  35,000
Chipotle:  10,000
Serrano:  7,000 - 25,000
Jalapeño:  3,500 - 4,500
Poblano:  2,500 - 3,000
Pasilla:  2,500
Anaheim:  1,000 - 1,400
Ancho:  1,000
Pimento:  0
Bell:  0

The capsaicin found in chili peppers has therapeutic effects. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic actions. Capsaicin is used to treat pain, lower blood sugar in diabetics, improve blood lipid profiles, heal ulcers, minimize nasal allergies, and reduce the risk of blood clots. It is currently being studied for its anti-cancer properties as well.

This home-made hot sauce has just 3 ingredients. The chili peppers are the star of the show and the sea salt and vinegar act as natural preservatives. I chose plain white vinegar because I didn't want it to compete with the fresh green chili flavor. If you prefer red chilis, or another variety of pepper, use those instead.

To extend the shelf life of fresh hot sauce, store it in a sterilized glass container in the fridge. Or use an ice cube tray to freeze small portions for future use.

Caution: 

When working with fresh chili peppers, take care to not touch sensitive areas like eyes, nose, cuts or scrapes. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward or wear gloves.

To sterilize a glass container to hold your hot sauce:

Place a glass bottle with heat-proof lid and a stainless steel funnel in a pan of water. Slowly bring the water to a gentle boil, then turn off the heat and allow everything to sit for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the glass bottle from the water bath and set aside to dry. Place the funnel on top of the bottle and allow that to air dry as well.

To make the hot sauce:
 
10 green cayenne chili peppers, roughly chopped, about 2 heaping cups
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Transfer sauce to storage container(s). Shake well before each use.

This recipe will yield about 1.5 cups of thick hot sauce. If desired, thin out with boiled water or additional vinegar. Be aware that adding water may shorten the shelf life.

1 comment:

TriciaT said...

This sounds good! I just bought a big bunch of green cayenne peppers from the farmers market. Can I store them in a plastic bottle? The only glass ones I have would be way too big.