Have a hankering for hot sauce but can’t seem to find a brand you like? Have you tried making your own?

As a big fan of buffalo sauce, I tend to regularly buy Frank’s Red Hot, which is perfect for buffalo wings and buffalo cauliflower but when used on other dishes, it tends to drown out the other important flavors. Also, I don’t need everything to taste like buffalo wings! I also buy sriracha, which packs one heck of a punch on eggs and avocado toast, but I was looking for something a little different and homemade.

We grew habaneros in our container garden this year with the hopes of creating a hot sauce. Although the pesky Minneapolis squirrels ate a good majority of our peppers (and our tomatoes too), we were able to snag a few for the sauce. I tasked my husband with the hot sauce project and the end result was fabulous. It’s a tomato and vinegar based sauce that helps cut through the spiciness of habanero and added a bit of sweetness. The first batch was gone pretty quickly and not as spicy as we anticipated so I tasked him with making another batch, this time with an extra habanero. Again, the result was great. While not as mild as ketchup, of course, I still think the Minnesota palate would be able to tolerate this sauce, especially when used to spice up typically bland items like rice, noodles, and sour cream.

Since we weren’t canning the sauce, we made a small batch, about enough for 1 8oz. jar. It would be fun to freeze smaller portions and use throughout the year if you have room in the freezer.

Quick note: it helps to wear gloves when working with spicy peppers. I neglected to wear gloves recently and suffered through burning fingers and hands for a good 24 hours afterward.

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

Habanero Hot Sauce

(makes 8 oz.)

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 anaheim pepper, diced
2 pepperoncini peppers, diced
2 large habanero peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup white vinegar
Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, poblano, anaheim, pepperoncini, and habanero and cook, 3-4 minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant.

Reduce heat slightly and add tomatoes, vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until tomatoes break down. Let cool slightly.

Transfer slightly cooled mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Strain mixture using a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or divide into smaller portions and freeze for up to 3 months.

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