Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce
My mom had a green thumb. She could bring plants back from the dead. This is not a trait I inherited from her. Most plants do not thrive in my care. I have found one exception: Ghost Peppers!
I love my food hot and spicy. I make my own chili powder by drying habanero chilies and then pulverizing them in the food processor. I keep this stuff on the table and sprinkle it on all of my food. I even keep a vial of it in my purse so I have it when I am eating out. I had been searching for ghost peppers and finally found a small package of fresh, bright red ghost peppers at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. I brought them home and set about harvesting the seeds .... with my bare hands. Bad idea! My hands hurt for 3 days. I tried everything from spraying them with bactine to rubbing orajel all over them. Nothing but time worked. I could not remove my contacts for those three days either. So - ALWAYS wear gloves when handling these suckers.
Anyway, I got my seeds and last March I planted them in my garden. Now all these forums I read say they are hard to germinate and will take up to 30 days to pop up and so on and so forth. My peppers were up and at 'em at day 14. The forums were correct in that it takes 6 months from germination to budding. Once the buds formed, they formed. Tons of them. Then the forums said that unlike other chilies and peppers that are self pollinating, ghost peppers need our help. So last September I ran to my garden every day with a little paint brush to tickle the inside of each flower. It must have worked because I got tons of peppers. By November they were turning red and ready to harvest. I took the first batch and made some of my habanero powder. I dried a bunch of the ghost peppers with the habaneros and blended them in. That powder is powerful stuff. I gave away a bunch of the chilies to my chili loving comrades. There were more green chilies on the plants. I left them to ripen and although it got cold here we did not experience a freeze (I live in Orlando). Today I harvested the last of the red fruit. I had about 20 chilies. My plants survived the winter and we have had 80 degree weather the past week and now there are tons of buds all over my chili plants so I am going to have a bumper crop this coming year.
I honestly do not know what I will do with them all. My family does not share my passion for heat. I will probably make a batch of pure ghost pepper powder. As for todays harvest, I made some hot sauce. By the way - I wore gloves.
Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce
makes about 8 ounces sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup diced tomato
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup chopped ghost peppers (or hot peppers of your choice)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, tomato, garlic and peppers. Saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add water. Simmer about 15 minutes until most of the water is evaporated and the vegetables are very soft. Put this mixture in a food processor. Add the vinegar and salt. Process until very smooth.
Press mixture through a fine sieve . Put into a clean jar in the refrigerator. Let age for a couple of days before using. Use judiciously!