Your pressure cooker can extract most of the the color and flavor from hot peppers in one minute at high pressure. This hot sauce is a bold, vivid red and the flavor is amazingly bright with lots of heat and even a hint of “pepper” – making the flavor as complex, if not more-so, than an aged and faded Tabasco sauce.
Traditionally-made hot sauce can take as little as a month and half or as much as three years of aging using fermentation (along with its benefits and perils) to slowly extract all of the heat from the peppers and infuse it into the vinegar.
Instead, the pressure cooker mechanically squeezes the flavorful juice out of the peppers, just like as in pressure steam juicing, and the heated vinegar quickly extracts the capsaicin – a tasteless and odorless compound found primarily in the white pith and seed coatings of the peppers. Capsaicin is what makes peppers taste “hot”.
Habanero peppers are incredibly difficult to find in Europe so I made this pressure cooker hot sauce with a mixture of Calabrian and Moroccan Peppers.
Other than getting some really hot sauce really fast, the added benefit to doing it yourself is the chance to experiment with different flavor combinations by varying the kind of peppers, vinegar and salt. How about not adding salt at all? You can make a milder hot sauce by replacing some of the hot with bell peppers. You decide!
Smoked salt is an easy way to add complexity that is usually achieved by aging.
After straining the hot sauce, don’t throw away the little mound of extra pulp and seeds. Just scoop it into a jar, top off with vinegar and refrigerate for later use. This pulp speaks to how much heat the pressure cooker extracts from the peppers and into the vinegar- the remaining pulp tastes like a mildly spicy red bell pepper spread. All the spiciness is now in your home-made hot sauce.
When working with hot peppers, you will want to take precautions as the heat caused by them is pleasant in the mouth – but not in the eyes or any other delicate part of the body. When handling and slicing peppers use rubber gloves (dish washing or disposable). During prep the peppers may squirt juice or shoot seeds towards your face so wear glasses, goggles or sun glasses. When pressure cooking is finished – only release pressure Naturally as you don’t want to breathe in vaporized capsaicin! Finally, wash off the knife and cutting board with a de-greasing agent such as lemon or vinegar.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|3 L or larger||none||1 min||High(2)||Natural|
- 12 oz (350g) fresh hot peppers (any kind), stems removed
- 1¼ cup (300ml) apple cider vinegar or as needed (or whatever kind you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons smoked salt (or plain)
- Roughly chop the peppers and add to the pressure cooker.
- Add enough vinegar to cover, and salt.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
- For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 1 minute pressure cooking time.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (15 to 20 minutes).
- Puree the contents with an immersion blender and strain into a sterilized, or freshly dish-washed bottle.
- Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months, or transfer to a suitable container and freeze up to a year.
Yeild approx 16 fl oz (500 ml)