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Habaneros - What to do with this years crop?


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Here are the hot peppers and tomatoes from my greenhouse. After sorting and washing, I'm making a base hot sauce with:

  • 5 lbs yellow tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb habaneros
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

From this primal sauce I can mess around with other fruits and veg to see what I like. I've added no acid, no sweet and no salt. I suppose I could find a few small jars and can the best results for Christmas gifts.

Does anyone have good advice/links for canning hot sauce? I can't imagine any life form thriving in my concoction -- maybe I should add vinegar to the base sauce.

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Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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When I lived in Florida, for years I had a pretty good sized pepper garden with several types of habeneros.

One "tree" had a 4 inch diameter base stem! They're so damn hot, but unlike most other hot pepper, they have so much flesh with so much deep flavor.

Here's what I've found to work for me.

I should mention, before you do anything, and I'll spare you the ghastly details, but experience has shown that you want to wear gloves. :)

I'd first recommend that you fully remove the stems, piths, and seeds and lightly roast them skin down for about an hour (or longer if you prefer) in a 200F oven. The goal isn't to brown, just to eliminate some of the water content.

You can use them raw, but when prepped like this, you can better manage both the heat and true pepper flavor. Although the seeds and pith are much hotter than the flesh and skin, I've also found that the former are much more variable and the latter are more consistent. Also, to me, the seeds and pith seem mostly just heat and little flavor.

However, I've rarely ever used them in the kitchen without first preserving them.

The first way, as someone mentioned earlier, is vodka. I've had good luck then taking the peppers and putting about 6 in 1.75 liter of vodka (anything over Smirnoff grade seemed to get lost with the peppers). Let settle for 30 days before use and the heat will tame slightly. Eventually, the peppers will completely lose their color and blanch into ghostly floating forms of their original selves. Pretty interesting addition to a vinaigrette or any marinade.

The second, and my very favorite, is to fine chop the lightly roasted peppers and preserve in honey (maybe a 50-50 ratio). After about two weeks, the deep habernero flavor comes through very clearly and the heat seems somewhat tamed by the honey. I never managed to keep them past 3 months (because they got used or given away) but I did keep them refrigerated. Of course, I've put this directly on toast like marmalade (with mascarpone), but frequently put it in various dishes both savory (try it in a pommarola sauce) and sweet (muffins, ice cream).

Good luck!

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