Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Southern Pepper Sauce

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm not sure how it happened, but it appears that fall has made an arrival. Walking through my vegetable garden this weekend, I found the plants to be some what sad and withered. Looking around the garden, I found a few cherry tomatoes and about 1/2 lb. or more of cayenne peppers and jalapeno peppers. I planned on making some grilled jalapeno poppers for my best friend, but the weather being what it is, I don't see that happening any time soon.
I was talking to my mom this weekend and mentioned that I had some peppers that I wasn't sure what to do with. She suggested I make pepper sauce with the cayenne peppers. What a genius idea! Why didn't I think of that?
Now, if you aren't from the south Pepper Sauce is a sort of condiment. The peppers are topped with a vinegar and salt solution and allowed to marinate for a few weeks or months. The sauce (the vinegar and pepper liquid) can be poured on greens, peas, butter-beans, and other vegetables for seasoning. Pepper sauce adds a wonderful dimension to any vegetable.

So if you hanker for a fresh mess of greens doused with pepper sauce, but are unsure how to prepare the pepper sauce read on.

From what I can tell there isn't an exact recipe for pepper sauce. When I asked my mom how she made her pepper sauce the response: find a bottle for the peppers, then boil some vinegar with a little of salt, then pour into the bottle. When I asked how much vinegar she said enough to cover the peppers! I had to chuckle to myself because I realized this is just how my family cooks. A little of this and a pinch of that. I did some online research and found similar instructions:
"1. Put the peppers into a cruet or jar. Use 2-3, or fill the jar full to suite your own taste.
2. Bring the vinegar to a boil, and pour over the peppers. (Careful, boiling vinegar is pungent stuff.)
3. Let it sit a few days to absorb the flavors. The longer it sits the better.
4. Drizzle over peas, greens, or barbecue. Enjoy! "
I realize I'm on my own here since mom is over 300 miles away and I had to use these peppers while they were still fresh. First I looked around the kitchen for some sort of bottle or jar to hold the pepper sauce. Jelly jars, mayo jar, and then I found a old bottle of balsamic vinegar that I could use. I proceeded to peel off the label and then sterilize the bottle. (Boil in hot water).
I gathered some ingredients:
Pepper Sauce Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. of Cayenne Peppers
  • 3/4 cup White Distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Sterilized glass bottle
  • 2 cloves garlic
My mother's recipe did not call for garlic, but I have to make this recipe mine ;)
First, fill your bottle with the peppers. One at a time. I then used a chop stick to move them around and make room for more. I also added 2 garlic cloves to the bottom of the bottle.
Pepper Bottle

Then you will need to boil 3/4 cup of white vinegar and one teaspoon of salt. Please be careful as boiling vinegar has a strong smell. I cracked a window and turned on the vent.
boiling vinager
Once the vinegar comes to boil, place a funnel on top of the bottle, and carefully pour the vinegar salt solution. Put the cap on the bottle. Let the bottle sit 2 to 3 days undisturbed so the vinegar can absorb the other flavors. The longer it sits the hotter it gets. Store the bottle in the refrigerator or in a cool place. Until the pepper flavor gets weak, you can top off the bottle with fresh vinegar as needed.
Pepepr Sauce Final Product
Now..what to do with the jalapenos. Do you have any suggestions?

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