Makes: 8 four ounce jars or 4 eight ounce jars
- 1 pound plump, very fresh jalapeños
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled but not crushed
- 2 cups any white vinegar with 5% acidity
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup wildflower or clover honey
- 3 thin rounds dried pineapple, torn into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon Coleman’s mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or galangal
In a dry, heavy, cast iron pan on high heat, char the jalapeños and garlic until blistered on all sides, six to eight minutes. Place the charred chilies and garlic in a bowl and cover with a tea towel to steam for ten minutes.
Wearing gloves, stem and roughly chop the chilies. Remove or retain the seeds, depending on your tolerance for heat. If keeping the seeds, toast them lightly in the dry, cast iron pan. (see headnote)
Combine the vinegar and salt in a one-quart jar with cover. Shake or swirl to dissolve the salt. Add the chopped chilies and garlic, cover and leave overnight on the counter.
Put the vinegar mixture in a 3-quart heavy, non-reactive pot. Add the honey, dried pineapple, mustard and ginger. Cover and bring to a strong boil for three minutes. Do not stand over this pot and breathe in the scent – it is unbearably irritating to the sinuses and the eyes and just not fun.
Puree the slurry in a blender, in batches, being cautious not to overfill the beaker. Run the blender for several minutes (depending on the strength of your mixer’s motor), until thoroughly smooth.
Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer back into a 3-quart pot. If you find there are still large pieces of chili or garlic remaining in the strainer, put them back in the blender and continue to puree.
Return the pureed hot sauce to the pot and bring it back up to a boil for five minutes. Dip the tip of a spoon in and taste just a drop. It’s mighty powerful, or should be. If you want it to be a little sweeter, add honey by the teaspoon, stir and taste again.
Ladle the sauce into warm jars, allowing for ½-inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath (see sidebar) for ten minutes.
The hot sauce is shelf stable for one year. It may separate; shake well before using. If you have created a sauce that is just way too hot, there is a way to reclaim it. After opening the sealed jar, to every four ounces of hot sauce, add one tablespoon vinegar (or beer or bourbon or water), shake well, and store in the refrigerator.
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