Venture into the world of hot peppers and blazing sauces only if you can take the heat; they are not for the tame at heart.
The world of hot sauces includes variations on a theme of peppers.
Key ingredients used to prepare a hot sauce include: Pepper, vinegar, lime juice, salt, spices, garlic, and sugar. As any pepper lover knows, there are all sorts of hot peppers available to spice up your hot sauce.
Cayenne, the most common form of chile pepper found in the United States, is mostly used in a ground and dry form. Named for the Cayenne River in French Guiana where it originated, it is a plant that is easy to grow, even indoors, and can produce peppers all winter.
Scoville units is a system for measuring the potency of peppers. Mild peppers range from 100 - 1,000 scovilles units. Hot peppers range from 5,000 - 300,000 scoville units.
The smaller and thinner the pepper, the hotter it will be.
The hottest pepper is the Habanero.
The mildest peppers are Bell Peppers, Cherry Peppers and Yellow Peppers.
Black and white pepper are plants in the Pipe raceae family.
Most peppers used for heating up your taste buds belong to the Solanaceae family and are varieties of the species Capsicum annuum.
Peppers are the fruit that develop from the flowers and are grown best in warm, moist regions. In our temperate climate it is an annual and needs to be planted each year. In tropical regions, the peppers are a perennial that live for at least two growing seasons.
If you are growing peppers to use in your hot sauces, keep in mind that you can freeze them. However, the secret to defrosting peppers that still have a kick in them, is to blanch them in water before you freeze them.
Looking for new sauce ideas? Try browsing through your grocery store's hot sauce section. Take a look and see how many varieties you can find. Jamaican hot sauces are known to be very, very, hot. Places like Trinidad and other West Indian countries also offer tempting hot sauces.
Whatever you decide, if the fire is too hot, do not drink water to cool down! That only adds more heat to your fire...instead, drink milk, have some yogurt, or chop down a banana to cool down.
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff