We've been staring at our bumper crop of peppers for the past few weeks wondering what to do with all these slowly ripening spice bombs. (Remember how much trouble we had getting it to pollinate at first?!) Mark Bittman's formula for DIY hot sauce couldn't have come at a better time...
First, here's the link to Bittman's article and recipe:
• DIY Hot Sauce from Mark Bittman
The technique is simple - so simple, in fact, that we kept re-checking his instructions in disbelief! All you do is de-stem as many peppers as you have (12 ounces, in our case), throw them in a blender along with a handful of salt, cover with white vinegar, and press "blend." All that's left is to bring the resulting sauce to a boil and then let it cure at room temperature for a few days before refrigerating.
We used a food processor instead of a blender. This would have worked just fine if we'd remembered that you can't fill it with as much liquid as a blender! We ended up with white vinegar all over our counter as it spilled through the central tube in the food processor (but at least now we know our counter is clean, right?!). Our sauce is likely less smooth than it would be if we'd used a blender, but we're fine with that.
If you make this yourselves, heed Bittman's warning not to inhale the fumes or let them get near your eyes. That's powerful stuff! We ended up cracking open a window during the boiling step and subsequent cooling - before that, we couldn't go into the kitchen without tearing up!
Our three-day waiting period finished just last night. We tried a little straight-up and a little over our scrambled eggs (yes, for dinner!). The verdict all around was very positive. The sauce is definitely "hot," but the raw heat was balanced by the tangy vinegar and lingering saltiness. A half teaspoon was definitely plenty for our eggs.
Our 12 ounces made two pint jars of sauce. Bittman says this will keep for several months - hopefully until peppers are back in season!
Related: In Praise of Red Pepper Flakes
(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)