Sugar cookies and peppermint bark are a dime a dozen during the holiday season. If you've got 15 minutes and a handful of fiery peppers, we've got your answer to the perfect edible gift: homemade hot sauce.
This recipe is so easy it almost can't be called a recipe, but your lucky recipients don't have to know that. It's also completely customizable: use whichever peppers you prefer (or whichever are easiest to get your hands on). Last year, I used a combination of green jalapeños and habaneros; the result was tangy, herbaceous, and blazing hot. This year's batch was made with ripe red jalapeños and red serranos, and while it still packs some heat, it's much milder and sweeter.
If you can't bear to give away all the fruits of your labor, you're in luck: the vinegar that rises to the top of the hot sauce as it cures can be skimmed off, bottled separately, and kept for yourself as a homemade Tabasco substitute.
This recipe can be easily adjusted to make as little or as much as you like; simply add enough white vinegar to completely submerge the chiles. Don't forget to wear gloves if you're working with exceptionally hot chiles, and avoid inhaling the fumes as you heat the sauce.
1 pound chiles, any variety
Approximately 5 cups white vinegar
Salt, to taste
- Rinse and stem the chiles, leaving the seeds intact.
- Add the chiles to a blender; cover with white vinegar. Puree until smooth.
- Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. (Do not breathe in the fumes.)
- Funnel the sauce into a quart jar (or several smaller jars) and cool. Cover with a cloth (I used cheesecloth), and let sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for three days.
- After three days, carefully pour off (and save, if you like) all but a thin layer of vinegar, seal the jars, and refrigerate for up to a few months.
- Condiments/Sauces, Other
- 1 quart