Homemade Cayenne & Tabasco Sauce

Jim "Pepper Rancher" Sherman

Jim Sherman, my gardening guru, told me to meet him at a raised bed garden this morning. He was trying to clean the place up to get it ready to plant the fall and winter crops. The last plants left over from the summer were peppers and they were out of control. There were so many red ripe cayenne and tabasco peppers he couldn’t pick them all. The birds were having a field day. He had been reading the series about Homemade Pepper Sauces on this blog and knew I could put some peppers to good use.

Tabasco peppers

I have been fermenting red jalapeños up until now because I could never find a whole pound of cayenne or tabasco peppers. I was eager to try to make a pepper sauce with tabasco and cayenne peppers because that’s what they use in Louisiana. So I brought my bag and started picking. My goal was to pick enough tabasco and cayenne peppers to fill a quart jar. After a half hour or so, my back was aching, my shirt was soaking wet and I had enough peppers.

Cayenne Peppers

On the McIllhenny Plantation on Avery Island where Tabasco sauce was invented, the foreman gave each pepper picker a “baton rouge,” a red stick. The pickers were told not to pick a tabasco pepper unless it was as red as the stick.

Ripe Red

I tried to follow that rule while I picked these peppers. When I got them home, I rinsed them, cut off the stems, snipped them in half with scissors and mashed them in a steel bowl with 2 tablespoons of pickling salt. After stuffing all the peppers in the jar and adding spring water, I put in a piece of sweet potato to keep the peppers submerged in the brine. I am going to let them ferment for a month. I’ll let you know how they come out.

2 thoughts on “Homemade Cayenne & Tabasco Sauce

  1. Phil

    So, how’d it turn out?

    Why did you use pickling salt? (Doesn’t that contain nitrites?) I thought regular non-iodized (sea) salt was appropriate.

  2. robbwalsh Post author

    Sea salt contains a lot of other minerals and natural impurities. Kosher salt or koshering salt is pure salt in coarse grain that is used for making Kosher meats. Pickling salt is pure salt that dissolves quickly because it is so fine.Table salt is iodized.

    Salt with nitrites is called pink salt or curing salt.

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