If you have a lot of fresh herbs and/or hot peppers growing, hopefully you are freezing and drying them for later use. You probably have some “leftovers” that you’re not cooking fresh, or processing. Here’s another possibility: hot sauce.
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), a layer of black peppercorns, cumin, coriander and 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.
- 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 :) .
This sounds AMAZING, Wyz. Sadly, I can not eat hot stuff. I discovered that a few years back when we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, I ate a bite of food with just a tiny bit of jalapeno, then promptly ran to the bathroom to give it back! I know..you USED to like me…
I had developed a stomach ulcer, which healed after I stopped drinking Coca-Cola (the brand). Hmmmm…wonder what would happen now? Nawwwww……
I think I’ll stick with the Creamsicles. Love those things!
Hey, do you grow your own cilantro? I keep killing it, and I’m wondering what in the world I’m doing wrong? I just buy it, repot it in a clay pot with drainage and organic soil, set it outside with all the others and water daily. But it keeps dying. Killed 7 of the little suckers in the past year. The instructions indicate “full sun”, but, I’m wondering if that means “full sun” in Minnesota, or “full sun” in the heat and humidity of Dixie Land? What do you think?
Still like ya’, servantheart :)
I’d suggest trying a small batch (a jelly jar or something small) without the hot peppers. Try replacing them with something else with a lot of flavor. Maybe some fresh onion, and possibly some fresh ginger, or even sweet peppers. The stuff is still a handy and yummy seasoning, even without the heat. :)
I have been having a heck of a time with cilantro this year (as well as Thai basil and all my pepper plants). I have parsley taking off like weeds right near the cilantro, but the cilantro just fades away. Some years are like that, I guess.
Oh, thank goodness! Thanks, Wyz!
Hey, the recipe tweek sounds like a good idea; I’m assuming this stuff will pretty much keep forever, because it is fermented.
I have started straining off the vinegar, and refrigerating, just for the heck of it. It SHOULD last until the next Ice Age, even w/o refrigeration :)
The only ‘safety warning’ I have experienced is to be certain that the herb plant matter is totally submerged in the vinegar, otherwise it can start growing fuzzy mold. I don’t know what the mold is, but if that happens, I’d recommend tossing out that batch, just to be sure.
I found this post from WellPreserved blog on 21 fermentation recipes. Some of it sounds really good, and there’s stuff about peppers and hot sauce in here!