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Hot Sauce


  • A few quarts of chillies
  • White vinegar
  • Salt


  1. Grab all the chillies you can — at least a couple quarts — and don’t worry about how glamorous they look; some are bound to be shriveled and beginning to dry. The hotter the chiles the hotter the brew. Don’t refrigerate the chillies. Green fruit will eventually turn red, orange, or yellow; you can make sauce at any stage, but I don’t like to mix ripe with unripe in the same batch. 
  2. When you’ve got 15 spare minutes and the color is where you want it, put on a pair of rubber gloves and get out the blender. After you rinse the chiles, chop the stem off each (I use scissors), get rid of any bad spots, and drop them into the container of the Cuisinart. You can core them and clean out the seeds, but why bother? This stuff is going to be hot no matter what you do.
  3. Pour in enough white vinegar to submerge the chiles, along with a handful of salt. Puree until quite smooth. 
  4. Transfer the sauce to a pot and bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. Seriously: at no time during either of these steps do you want your nose or eyes anywhere near the fumes that waft from these vessels. 
  5. Funnel the sauce into a clean jar or bottle and cool. Then cover with a cloth napkin and let the mixture sit at room temperature for three days, undisturbed. 
  6. Carefully pour off all but a thin layer of the vinegar (which true enthusiasts save for another use) and refrigerate. 
  7. The sauce keeps for months; you’ll know if it goes off when it starts to ferment and get sort of effervescent. But you’ll use it all before then.