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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Habanero Strikes Back!

It's peach season here in good ol' PA!! (That's Pennsylvania for all you folks who aren't from here. While the rest of the country refers to their state of residence by its proper name, we tend to use the postal abbreviation.  Don't know's a thing.....) This excites me for many reasons, but mainly because I love peaches.  Although, I love most fruits, especially fresh, local, in-season ones.  And as a bonus, our local orchard has a table where they sell "seconds", which is the fruit that is slightly imperfect, maybe a little bruised, and really really ripe and should be used ASAP, which serves my purposes perfectly. And they sell these for super cheap!  YAY!  I've gotten quarts of peaches for $1 each.  I made a dozen jars of peach jam using about $5 worth of fruit.  Not bad, if you ask me!  This has relevance, I promise...

Right now I have a common theme to my recipes.  And that theme is....THE PEPPER!!  Because it is also pepper season.  Now, this year I went crazy with pepper plants.  I started with 6 sweet bell, 3 jalapenos, 3 cayenne, a habanero and a poblano.  That was supposed to be it.  But I kept adding one more, then 3 more, then one more, etc until I had a plethora of peppers (try saying THAT three times fast).  I just couldn't help myself!  So now my pepper inventory looks like this:

Jalapenos, Habaneros, Poblano, and Cayenne
Sweet Banana
3 Jalapenos
1 Habanero
3 Cayenne
1 Poblano
1 Serrano
1 Anaheim Chili
1 Mexibell
1 Cherry Hot
2 Hungarian Wax
Hot peppers all lined up
1 Sweet Banana
1 Thai Dragon
2 Cubanelle
6 Bells (yes...SIX....I know....)

Sweet Bell, specifically "Blushing Beauty"

Thai Dragon

So, since I have so many peppers, I obviously want to use them.  And what better way to incorporate pepper season AND peach season than with peach habanero hot sauce!!

The sauce I managed to create is hot, don't get me wrong.  But it's not SO hot that it's painful. In my humble opinion, anyway.  But I've said it before...I like spicy food.  If you are not used to spicy, habaneros are probably not for you.

Once again.....this is so easy!  You literally just throw things in a pan, cook them down, and liquefy in blender.  You cannot mess this up!

Peach Habanero Hot Sauce
6-8 Ripe peaches washed, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
4 Cloves of garlic, peeled and smooshed
1 Anaheim chili, seeded
4 Habaneros, seeded
1/2 Medium onion, roughly chopped
1-2 Medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 1/4 c Vinegar
1 T sugar
Pinch of salt

Tools needed:
VINYL FOOD SERVICE GLOVES (I cannot stress this enough.....)
Blender's how easy this is.  Add water to the bottom of a small skillet about an inch deep, and bring to a boil.  Place habaneros and anaheim in there just to cook until soft.  Turn off heat and remove peppers from water, setting the water aside.  GET YOUR GLOVES AND PUT THEM ON BEFORE HANDLING THE PEPPERS!!!!  Run the peppers under cold water to cool.  Once cool, remove the stems and seeds from the peppers.  If any skin is peeling, you can remove that too, but it's not necessary.  I kept most of my skin on and it was just fine.  Set seeded peppers aside.

Add the water that the peppers were blanching in into a bigger skillet. (That water picked up some of the pepper flavor and heat, so that's why I used it.  Gotta keep as much flavor as possible!) Add garlic, onion, carrots, peaches, and peppers into the skillet.  Cook on medium to medium high heat until veggies are soft.  Add water if it is needed.  Remember, you can always reduce the sauce and evaporate the water out if you accidentally add too much.

Once veggies are soft, pour mixture into a blender and blend for about 5 minutes.  You want this to be smooth.

After blending, add back into the pan and add vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Simmer (not boil!) on medium heat, stirring often, for 30 - 45 minutes.  If it looks to thick, add water until you get to the desired consistency. Mine looked like this:

Once again, you have the option of storing in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  I, of course, canned mine. I got a yield of nine 4oz cans.  This can vary slightly depending on the size of your peppers.  This is a good sauce for chicken. (Especially wings!)

Voila!  The finished product!

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