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Sriracha (HOT! Chili Sauce)

Well, it’s definitely my favorite season in the beautiful city of Rochester. ¬†The trees are changing color and dropping leaves so the leaf blowers are hard at work, it’s getting dark around 7:00 (already!?), and I’ve already made an apple pie and ramped up my hot beverage consumption drastically (though still not a pumpkin spice latte girl–just plain coffee and tea for now). ¬†Even though during the day temps have been at a blissful 70-77 degrees, the nights are in the 50s and I am LOVING it.

Changing Leaves

One of the reasons I absolutely love autumn (aside from the obvious: fashion and colorful landscapes) is that I really start to feel inspired to cook again.  Summer is all about trying to fit in vegetables in green monsters and sending Fritz up to the roof to grill; fall is stews and squashes and root vegetables in cast iron pots.

Oh, and the return of The Walking Dead. ¬†I’ve been binge reading and watching all my favorite post-apocalyptic books and movies in preparation. ¬†Can’t wait!

Anyway. ¬†Cooking. ¬†I got this recipe along with the CSA vegetables (from Markwood Acres) this week, and it was the perfect time to use up a pile of jalape√Īos that I’ve been scared of since I almost burned mouth off last time I used one (seriously–I think I drank a gallon of milk and ate my weight in yogurt to recover from that‚Ķincluding having to bathe my hand in yogurt). ¬†It was actually pretty straightforward and needed just the smallest amount of babysitting, but beware that it does take five days of fermentation before it’s finished!

This awesome utensil tea towel is one of a couple vintage ones my Grandpa gave me a few years ago.

This awesome utensil tea towel is one of a couple vintage ones my Grandpa gave me a few years ago.

Sriracha (HOT!) (makes 1 pint of hot, HOT sriracha)

  • 10 ripe jalape√Īos (I used 5 red and 5 green)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 C distilled vinegar
  • 1-4 T tomato paste (optional)


This is the best part–combine jalape√Īos (stems, seeds, and all–just washed) with the garlic and brown sugar in a food processor or blender. ¬†Not having to trim/deseed them means your hands are safe. ¬†Blend using pulses, cleaning the sides if necessary, until it looks the consistency of cooked oatmeal (rough/thick soup).

Place peppers in a glass container (avoid touching it with your hands if you can!), and cover with plastic wrap for five days to allow it to ferment at room temperature.  Once a day, stir with a spoon and recover.

After five days, place the peppers in a saucepan with the vinegar and salt.  Simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on, then press through a fine sieve to leave the seeds and skins behind.  You should have a little more than a pint of thin red liquid.  Discard the seeds/skin, and return the liquid to a pot.  Add tomato paste if desired (it can dilute some of the spiciness, but add a touch more salt), and simmer until it reaches the desired thickness.


Like most hot sauces, sriracha should stay pretty thin and viscous.  That helps you not get too much spice!  I added one tablespoon of tomato paste just for the taste and mellow the spiciness a bit.


Jars can be kept in the fridge for at least a month, and you can seal larger batches using a water bath if you have a lot of jalape√Īos to use up!


I think this is a great gift for a friend (specially those hard-to-shop-for men in our lives), and if you seal the jars in a water bath you can make them ahead of time and keep them until Christmas (is it too early to talk about Christmas?)!

As usual, be careful using hot peppers and if you are worried about touching them, wear gloves! ¬†Home-grown peppers, especially, since it’s harder to know exactly how hot they are!


In the spirit of enjoying my favorite season, I was able to drag Fritz out of the lab just long enough for a quick walk at Mendon Ponds Park (one of my favorites).  I adore this park, even though the trails are horribly marked and we pretty much get lost every time we go.

Beautiful Mendon Ponds IMG_6853

I also taught Fritz how you can make cattails explode by whacking them against a tree (or another human?) this time of year.

Not this kind of cat tail.

Not this kind of cat tail.

It’s sad how excited I was that he had never seen that before.

And because I love you, here’s Emerson in a cow suit:


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  1. Grampa Charles

    love the cow suit but Emerson doesnt look too pleased. Grampa Charles

  2. Nuts about food

    Brilliant, never thought of making homemade sriracha sauce… great way to use up those bunches of jalapenos you buy (I always just end up using a few and leave the rest to dry out).