Thursday, February 2, 2012

Making Hot Sauce for Gifts and Your Pantry

For the holidays this year our family decided to have a theme for the gifts.  It’s food.  We can give a recipe, gift card to a restaurant, serving dish, plants, whatever we want as long as it’s related to food.  Since I am going to do something home made I'm planning ahead.  10 months ahead should give me enough time to make gifts.  I’ve decided to give bottles of hot sauce.  I’m going to plant several different varieties of peppers this year rather than my usual of jalapeno and bell. 

I make a great jalapeno hot sauce.  It’s easy.  Peppers and vinegar plus a pinch of salt.  I have a glass jar that I fill about ½ way with vinegar.  I then stuff it with peppers, making sure that the peppers are submerged.  I stick the jar in the back of the cabinet.  Sometime between a few months and a year later I remove it from the cabinet.  I take the peppers out, cut off the stems, put the peppers into the blender with some of the vinegar and blend them smooth.  They then go back into the jars.  I usually add a little salt.  I water bath them but you don’t have to if you just keep them in a cool place. 

Compare the price of home made versus store bought.  A five ounce bottle of Tabasco sauce costs about $4.00.  Let’s see how much it costs to make home made.  Now Tabasco sauce is made out of Tabasco peppers.  My sauce, using cayenne or jalapeno is a little milder but not much.  You can use the peppers green or red.  The green is milder than waiting until the peppers turn red.  We like red.  If you don't grow peppers you can buy them at the store.  It's still much cheaper to make your sauce with store bought peppers than to buy the pepper sauce.

Vinegar costs about $2.50 for a gallon – less than .02 an ounce but we will just call it two cents per ounce. If I’m making a five ounce bottle of pepper sauce I’ll use about two ounces of vinegar.  That’s four cents.  I have to factor in the price of the bottle.  I’ve always just left my sauce in canning jars.  I reuse catsup bottles for catsup but never really thought about reusing the pepper bottles. 

Since I’m going to be making the sauce for gifts I decided to put the sauce into brand new jars.  I did a little research and came up with a great solution.  Specialty Bottle is a Washington company that sells bottles and tin cans of all shapes and sizes.  You can buy as many or as few as you want, even one bottle at a time.  The prices are really good too.  I’ve listed some links to the specific items that I’m going to purchase for my pepper sauce gifts.  I’m purchasing 5 ounce bottles, although I may get some 10 ounces as well.  I’m also buying the little plug insert that makes it come out slower.  They sell shrink bands, which isn’t really necessary unless you are going to be selling them, but since I’m giving them to family members I think they’ll be more comfortable with the bottles having shrink bands.  After all, it will seem more like store bought.  We will design a label and make copies of the label and glue them onto the bottles.

5 oz. Round glass bottle with cap .79 each (10 oz. bottles are .97 each)
Plug Dripper Insert .09 each
Shrink Bands $5.00 for 250

Each 5 oz. bottle of hot sauce that I make will cost .94 (.79+.09+.02+.04 (bottle, plug, band, vinegar)).  A 10 oz. bottle will cost $1.18 (.97+.09+.02+.10).  Using bottles on hand - .04 for a 5 oz. bottle and .10 for a 10 oz. bottle.  If you just make a great big batch with $4.00 worth of vinegar you'll make about 3 gallons of hot sauce.  Compare that to $4.00 for a 5 oz. bottle purchased at your grocery store!!!!!  Makes you want to make your own, doesn’t it? 


  1. We LOVE making our own hot sauce! We were going through a quart of Tapatio sauce every couple of about expensive! I found a great recipe that calls for honey and nuts in addition to the vinegar and peppers. The flavor is incredible!!


  2. Today's post is just for you :) enjoy!