this recipe for Lemon Drop Hot Sauce from Serious Eats. Now, I love Louisiana Hot Sauce, made from not much more than Cayenne peppers, vinegar, and salt. Making something similar from Lemon Drops sounded good. I've never made my own hot sauce before, but with so many peppers to use up, it seemed like a good time to try.
The main trick was adapting this recipe for fresh peppers. The original recipe used dried peppers, though there's a note saying you can substitute 2 cups seeded fresh peppers, and simmer them in the vinegar. I proceeded a little differently than that.
How much was enough? I decided a pound would do it. I like measuring things like this with weight instead of volume because "2 cups diced peppers" can have widely different amounts of pepper in it depending on how finely they're diced and how tightly you pack them. So I went with a pound of stemmed and seeded peppers since that's easy to remember.
I stopped cooking the peppers when they were just starting to soften up and get a little brown on them. Besides the fumes, they actually smelled really good. Smelled like I was making fajitas or something.
I also plan on putting it in a bottle, once I get my hands on a bottle. I'm debating on whether I should buy some hot sauce bottles off the internet, or just wait until I have an empty bottle that something else came in and wash it out and use that.
Here is the final recipe I ended up with, if you would like to try it yourself:
Lemon Drop Hot Sauce
- 1 lb. lemon drop peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 4 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
- 2 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- Saute peppers in olive oil under they start to soften.
- Toast coriander and cumin seeds in separate pan until they become fragrant. Let cool completely and then grind.
- Add all ingredients to a blender and puree.
- Pour into a jar or other container and store in fridge a few days to let the flavors meld.
- Strain sauce into a bottle or jar and keep in the fridge. (It might be acidic enough to keep at room temperature like commercial hot sauce, but I'm not sure, so I keep it in the fridge just to be on the safe side.)
UPDATE #1: I made a second batch and this time I boiled the sauteed peppers in the vinegar before straining it. It resulted in a thicker sauce, so I think I like doing it that way better. I still want a food mill, though. Also, be VERY CAREFUL with the fumes coming off of hot peppers boiling in vinegar!
UPDATE #2: After letting this sit in the fridge for almost 5 months, I gave it a taste. It was a bit disappointing, to be honest. By now I have become familiar with the flavor of a fresh Lemon Drop pepper, and the hot sauce I made doesn't really capture the fruity overtones of it very well. The hot sauce ended up tasting like spicy-hot vinegar. Maybe I put too much vinegar and should have added only 1 cup after all. Maybe the flavor of Lemon Drops is best used for other purposes. Obviously more research and experimentation is needed.