There is something wonderful about making a gift for our friends and loved ones. About taking the time to do a nurturing act with your hands that connects your hands to the hearts of others. One of my goals this year has been to make a memorable gift for the holiday that might do just that. I am not much of a seamstress or craft maker, but I love food, so I narrowed it down to a homemade food gift. Gardeners Supply has a great gift pre-made kit idea – a Gardener’s Pantry™ Homemade Hot Sauce Kit – I wanted to try hot sauce making and it turned out to be easy to put together (see finished sauce at top).
First rule of thumb about working with peppers is to cover your hands with gloves to protect your skin from the pepper oils. My advice – DO NOT LEAN OVER THE HOT PEPPER SAUCE PAN WHILE IT IS COOKING (I learned that lesson the hard way ::laughing::). Open up the Gardener’s Pantry™ Homemade Hot Sauce Kit and read the instructions thoroughly. Included in the kit are guajillo, chipotle, and arbol peppers as well as other spices, vinegar, gloves, and more (above). You need to sterilize the glass bottles, pick the stems off the peppers, grind the peppers up in your blender and start adding your favorite ingredients. Special thanks to the Homer Laughlin China Co. for providing the delightful white Fiestaware dishes I used in this post.
One of the things I like about this kit is that while the hot sauce mix has ingredient suggestions, there are no specific ingredient ratios. Beyond the included ingredients, you get to add your own spices and flavorings. It is recommended that you add 20-30% of an acid like vinegar or lemon in order to enhance the flavor and preserve the sauce. Suggested on the instruction sheet is to add fresh or canned tomatoes and other vegetables. I was out of tomato sauce, but I did have enchilada sauce along with some extra garlic and salt (below). Heat it over the stove and fill your bottles with the special funnel included, then age for two weeks. From start to finish it took me less than an hour to make and bottle up the ingredients. This made a spicy enchilada hot sauce that is pretty darned delicious and a great gift filled with love for my friends and family.