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ElsieD

How to tone down habanero sauce?

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I recently made two batches of hot sauce, one using scotch bonnet peppers and another using habaneros. Other than the peppers, I used the same recipe, and the ingredients were:

600 gm. Tomatoes

200 gm. Habaneros including seeds and skin

400 ml white vinegar

4 Tablespoons (Australian) white sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt

This was made in the Thermomix. The mixture was cooked up, blended and strained. The problem is, while the scotch bonnet sauce was perfect, the habanero is way too hot. According to the Scoville scale, they are supposed to be equally hot. Any suggestions on how I can tame the heat? I have about a litre of the stuff and don't want to throw it out but it is not really edible in it's present state. I tried adding some maple syrup to a test batch but that wasn't of much help. I did some googling and the only possible useful suggestion was adding carrot puree which appears to make some sense. Any suggestions?

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Well, I can tell you what I do when this happens to me - not very imaginative, but I have to do it pretty often.

 

I just add more of all of the other ingredients, tomatoes, vinegar, etc., until I get the level of heat I want.

 

Then, because clearly I now have more salsa than I need, I either freeze what I'm not going to use right away, or give it as gifts to friends that I know really love my salsa.

 

When I freeze it, it does get a little watery upon thawing, but it's still good.  And I've found that works far better than trying to add more stuff that didn't belong in it in the first place.  If the additional ingredient was beneficial to the recipe, I figure it would have been included from the gitgo.

 

Not only is it wasteful to just throw it out because it's too hot - you still don't have any salsa.  So you're going to have to start over.  Which means you're going to use up another recipe's worth of the other ingredients anyway.

 

Why not just add the additional recipe's worth of ingredients to what you already have?  You can tone down the heat and have some extra salsa to stash away in the freezer.  Or to share.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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I recently made two batches of hot sauce, one using scotch bonnet peppers and another using habaneros. Other than the peppers, I used the same recipe, and the ingredients were:

600 gm. Tomatoes

200 gm. Habaneros including seeds and skin

400 ml white vinegar

4 Tablespoons (Australian) white sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt

This was made in the Thermomix. The mixture was cooked up, blended and strained. The problem is, while the scotch bonnet sauce was perfect, the habanero is way too hot. According to the Scoville scale, they are supposed to be equally hot. Any suggestions on how I can tame the heat? I have about a litre of the stuff and don't want to throw it out but it is not really edible in it's present state. I tried adding some maple syrup to a test batch but that wasn't of much help. I did some googling and the only possible useful suggestion was adding carrot puree which appears to make some sense. Any suggestions?

The scale only gives a range of the expected 'heat' levels for any cultivar. Even two peppers from the same plant will have different 'heat' levels. Clearly they don't know what they are supposed to be.

I don't see how maple syrup or carrots would work. Carrots are mainly water and capsaicin, the active 'heat' element in chili peppers, is not dissolvable in water. The only reliable 'heat' combatants I know of are all dairy products, but I guess you aren't looking to stick a pint of yogurt in there.

Sorry. I realise that isn't much help.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I would make another batch but use a different chile with less heat like cayenne or california chiles. I dont know where to get them fresh and not already dried though. :sad:

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The scale only gives the average 'heat' level for any cultivar. Even two peppers from the same plant will have different 'heat' levels. Clearly they don't know what they are supposed to be.

 

I don't see how maple syrup or carrots would work. Carrots are mainly water and capsaicin, the active 'heat' element in chili peppers, is not dissolvable in water. The only reliable 'heat' combatants I know of are all dairy products, but I guess you aren't looking to stick a pint of yogurt in there.   

 

Probably don't want to stick a pint of yogurt in there, but you can mix some of your salsa with sour cream to make a good "Southwestern Style" dip that's good enough that I've taken it to parties where folks are supposed to bring appetizers.  And you can stir some salsa into Ranch Dressing, to make a good "Southwestern Style" dressing for salads.  There are lots of recipes online for southwestern style salads, taco salads, etc., with things like browned hamburger meat, shredded chicken, and so on.  But you can also just add a can of well-drained cooked corn or beans and a handful of crumbled tortilla chips to a regular tossed green salad, and it's pretty dang good.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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I would do one of two things: add mango puree (I do think it would still work work the tomatoes) and let the sweet battle it out with the heat or make a second batch with no peppers and blend the two and give gifts to all your friends with the extra.

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I'd make a new batch with no peppers and add half your mix to that.

 

I'd also use some and make mayonnaise with it (use it as most of the acid component). The mayo will be less spicy than you think, and can also be given to friends or used as a dip/dressing for a potluck, office party, tv watching party, etc.

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I am with Gfron add fruit 

 

i would go with  either a roasted  pineapple or mango roast the fruit ..put it in and heat everything to simmering temp to meld  the flavors 

 

before you serve it add more fresh lime and some fresh chopped cilantro and it will be a very happy accident !


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
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I've been making hot sauce for two, three years. I'm by no means as experienced as some of the eG condiment engineers. I have also worked with one base recipe: John Currence's spin on Tabasco. I say this for context. I say this so you can take what I say with a grain of salt and adjust it (or dismiss it) based on what you're trying to do with your sauce. This advice is based on correcting future batches of sauce, not one you've just made (although the first point--time--could prove useful).

 

  • Time. Just like in The Shawshank Redemption, time is everything. My last batch of sauce is now many months old. 9? 10? Thereabouts, anyway. It's a vinegar-based sauce (no tomatoes), so this may be a contributing factor, but I found it mellowed over time. It's a hot sauce, no question, but it has a much better balance than it did even after Currence's prescribed 'rest' period. It's a bit like mustard. When you first make a mustard it's really harsh, right? Think about shiraz. Or new make spirit. Some things need time to take the edge off.
  • The obvious: some parts (ribs, seeds) of a chilli are hotter than other parts. And some fruits, even within the same variety, are hotter or milder than you might expect. You may need to take this into account.
  • Varieties. Is there a reason you're stuck with habanero fruits? You can use them as a base--say, 50% of your chilli content--but you can add other chilli varieties. My current sauce is based on a blend. Some chillies you add for flavour and some you add for heat. You could add, say, jalapenos to soften the impact on the sauce (and add a nice flavour, too).
  • Experiment with the impact of salt, sugar, acidity, etc on the perception of heat. Look at how Thai cookery is finely balanced.

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If you like the flavor as is and just want to tame the heat, I agree on just stretching the batch with more of everything other than the habs. You can add assorted other things which are really just doing the same basic thing, stretching the batch size, but they will change the flavor. If they change it to something you don't like, the bin is the only remaining option.

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Also cut out ribs and membranes to decrease heat in a pepper before use

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Tomato and apple chutney is quite good, maybe you could add some apples to your hot sauce? 

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I don't know how much salsa-making is in your future but I make a lot of it.  So much so that, in a previous neighborhood, I was known as the "Salsa Lady." 

 

I also don't have a Thermomix and don't really understand much about them, other than that it seems like I heard somewhere you put everything in basically at the beginning, and it mixes, cooks, etc., all at the same time.

 

So this advice might not be of much value, but, just in case...

 

As Liuzhou and others have pointed out, you can't really judge the exact heat of a pepper before you get to the tongue test.  You can make an educated guess, of course, but the final test has to wait until it hits your mouth.  I make gallons of salsa, often for entertaining groups, and that requires various levels of heat in the final product.  As one Texan friend told me years ago, you need to be sure to make a batch that's really mild if you're entertaining a bunch of little kids or Yankees.

 

The only way I can do that reliably is to first make up the base for whatever sort of salsa I'm making.  Maybe I've cut up a bunch of mangos and onions and pineapple.  Or maybe it's olives and green onions.  Or maybe, like you, it's the traditional tomatoes.  But whatever it is, I prepare that first.

 

And then I prepare my chile peppers. 

 

In my case, I usually start that by blackening them on a comal.  Then, I often take out the ribs and membranes of a few of the really hot ones, and leave them in for a few to give me that good heat, and then either chop them all fine or make a paste or whatever.

 

After my chiles are ready to go, I stir them into the pre-prepared base until I get to whatever heat level I desire.  That way it's easy to turn out two or three batches with varying heat levels. 

 

But whenever I get into the kitchen and start making salsa I always make sure I have some extra base ingredients in case I go overboard with the chiles.  Which definitely can happen to anyone, even those of us that have been making salsa for several decades.

 

By the way, we home cooks are not the only ones that have gotten into "hot salsa" by trying to prejudge the exact heat of chile peppers.  In fact, years back, Texas A&M developed a standardly reliable mild jalapeno in response to commercial canners with the same problem.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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Carrots will help kill the heat. Dice, cook, and mash them then add to the salsa.

 

Although I'm probably too late. 

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I' d like to thank everyone for their suggestions. I haven't done anything as of yet, but I have decided that as a first step I will do what several people have suggested and that is make a second batch without the peppers and mix it with the batch that contains the peppers. If that does the trick, great. If not, I will do some small batch trials using some of the other suggestions. I'll report back.

As an aside to Chris Taylor, I cannot find find Scotch Bonnets where I live in sufficient quantity to make the sauce. Therefore, in the fall I go to a big market in Montreal, about 2 hours away and get them there. The peppers were late this year and I could not get enough Scotch Bonnets so decided to make one batch using habaneros. I find the SB have more flavor.

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Besides adding more ingredients, sweetener,  and time to tame the spiciness, you can cook it for longer. The longer the pepper is cooked the spiciness will decrease. I don't know what it will to the rest of your salsa and if you don't mind a more cooked flavor. 

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I' d like to thank everyone for their suggestions. I haven't done anything as of yet, but I have decided that as a first step I will do what several people have suggested and that is make a second batch without the peppers and mix it with the batch that contains the peppers. If that does the trick, great. If not, I will do some small batch trials using some of the other suggestions. I'll report back.

 

May I humbly suggest that you don't make a second batch without the peppers and just mix it with the first batch without doing a little tasting and testing.  Obviously, I'm not there, and don't know how hot the first batch is, and don't know how hot you want the finished product to be, but it's certainly a possibility that an entire second batch will be too much.

 

So in my view, you should make your second batch, but then add it to the first batch a little at a time, until you get the desired amount of heat.

 

I'd also like to point out that, given my stated ignorance of your exact situation and desired heat level for your finished salsa, your first batch might be so hot that even an entire second batch won't save it.  If that's the case, and you just blithely combine the two, rather than fixing your problem, you might be exacerbating it by winding up with twice as much inedible salsa.

 

As you're learning, when you're dealing with hot chile peppers, there simply is no tried-and-true never-fail measurement method.  It always comes down to fiddling around with them a bit in order to get the perfect heat level.

 

My heartfelt advice is to make your second batch.  Then put both batches in front of you and do a little mixing and matching, tasting and testing and trying and experimenting, until you get it exactly how you want it.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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Jaymes, thank you. I have to admit that I was just going to mix the two together. I like the idea of adding the hot sauce to the non-hot sauce until the heat level is where my husband wants it. He is the hot sauce lover. I am good up until a serrano and finely minced scotch bonnets on chicken wings but that's it for my heat tolerance. My husband, on the other hand, has been known to munch on whole Thai chilis when eating at Thai restaurants.

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Jaymes, thank you. I have to admit that I was just going to mix the two together. I like the idea of adding the hot sauce to the non-hot sauce until the heat level is where my husband wants it. He is the hot sauce lover. I am good up until a serrano and finely minced scotch bonnets on chicken wings but that's it for my heat tolerance. My husband, on the other hand, has been known to munch on whole Thai chilis when eating at Thai restaurants.

 

Since you are the one that doesn't like spoonsful of liquid fire, got a couple more suggestions.  I understand why testing really hot foods in order to reach a heat level that pleases your husband might be a daunting and unpleasant task.

 

The first suggestion is probably obvious - wait until he's home and have him mix and match until he gets to his desired heat level.

 

But here's the second:  be sure the sugar bowl is handy.

 

Not only will a spoonful of sugar help the medicine go down, it's the only thing I know that adequately soothes hot chile pepper heat searing the roof of your mouth.

 

In fact, that's a trick I learned many years ago while dining out in Mexican, Thai, Korean, Chinese, etc., restaurants, with my family, including three children.  My former husband, like yours, thought that unless flames were shooting out of his mouth, the food wasn't hot enough.  And he was always trying to entice the kids to try just a little. 

 

I always made sure there was one of those containers with little packets of sugar on the table.  That way, I was ready when I needed to make a quick rescue.

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Peanut butter will kill the chile burn almost immediately.

Fat of any kind helps to tame heat

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Peanut butter will kill the chile burn almost immediately.

Very good to know.

But I so rarely have it at the ready.

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After handling the hot peppers I always rub some sort of cooking oil on my hands and then wash them well with soap. The oils from the peppers blend with the cooking oil so my hands are then free of the hot oils. Having learned the hard way, I ALWAYS do this now.

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I find the best way to balance the intense heat without modifying the chile flavor too much is by adding a bit of sugar, as recommended above. But, that changes the sweetness profile, right? So, I like to use palm sugar - which still takes the edge off the heat, but is not as sweet as normal granulated sugar and it does a good job of blending into the background.

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