An Alternative Preserving Method (if you like hot sauce)
by Wyzyrd , Editor-At-Large
If you have a lot of fresh herbs and/or hot peppers growing, you are freezing and drying them for later use, I hope. You probably have some “leftovers” that you’re not cooking fresh, or processing. Here’s another possibility. ( I have been making this stuff “semi-commercially” for about 5 years – a pint jar of this hot sauce can be nearly as good a trade item as a pint of moonshine. Just sayin’)
Start with a clean, sterilized container (a gallon jug of cider vinegar with the vinegar poured out, works, so does any canning jar you have) . Cover the bottom of container with peeled garlic cloves. Add a hefty layer of hot peppers ( I like 1 habanero, a few Cayenne and a bunch of Thai Birds), and a layer of black peppercorns, cumin, coriander ad mustard seeds. Then stuff the container tightly with fresh herbs – I like a lot of fresh parsley, half as much fresh cilantro, green onion tops, some fresh rosemary, some thyme sprigs a couple fresh bay leaves, and Cuban oregano/Broadleaf thyme. Use whatever you have. Basil works, too. Pack it down tight, and be sure to cover all the veg completely with apple cider vinegar – no water, no salt. A gallon jug should be so full that you can only put about 3-3 ½ quarts back in.
Seal it and store in a cool, dark place. If you taste it in the first 2 weeks, tastes like plain cider vinegar. If you taste it right after that, you’ll be eating Creamsicles for a couple hours – too dang hot. Just let it sit in the dark for at least 3 months. I’m not kidding. The flavors need time to meld and mellow. I say a dark place, because the acid and light will turn the garlic a strange blue-green color. It’s not dangerous, but nobody wants to use stuff that looks like pickled Smurfs. :)
When it’s ready, strain out into a new clean container. I refrigerate, but I suspect that the acidity would keep it safe for years.
Eastern NC folks like it on pulled BBQ pork. Texans like it on BBQ brisket. Add a little to a salad dressing for something completely new. Roast some sweet potato “fries” with a little of this on top, and even the kids and grandkids will eat stuff that’s good for ’em :) .
We’re all in this together.