Monday, July 11, 2011

What's in the garden: cayenne peppers

The cayenne peppers in my garden have just begun to ripen. We should have a pound or two of peppers by the end of next week and the only thing to do with so many peppers is make hot sauce!

They ripen from the bottom up.

Today's harvest.

Mike's basic vinegar-based hot sauce

1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 lb of cayenne peppers, seeded and chopped
1 West Indian Bay Leaf
1 tsp salt

Simmer all ingredients for 10 minutes. Let cool, remove bay leaf, and blend until homogenous. Preserve in a large glass jar and store in a cool dark place for 3 to 6 months (or longer, if you have the patience –– I plan on waiting until December, in case I want to gift it). Strain and bottle once you're ready. I'll post pictures of the bottling process in five months!

Note: The bay leaf is optional but adds a wonderful musty floral note to the sauce that really distinguishes it from other sauces in the genre. I recommend the West Indian bay leaf sold at Épices de Cru. The flavor is much more intense and peppery than the Mediterranean variety we are used to. 

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