Archives for category: Condiments

Our habanero plants are exploding right now, so rather than fill a third mason jar with dried peppers, Nick decided to venture into the world of homemade hot sauce.  He decided to combine the ingredients from his favorite local hot sauce, Clancy’s Fancy, with another fruity hot sauce recipe he found online.  He made 4 batches, each with different combinations of fruit and habaneros.

Core ingredients

2 cloves garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp all-spice
1 tsp paprika
2 tbs soy sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups fruit

Batch 1: 16 habaneros, peaches in syrup
Batch 2: 12 habaneros, peaches no syrup
Batch 3: 16 habaneros, frozen pineapple and mango
Batch 4: 12 habaneros, frozen pineapple and mango

He also baked the habaneros at 350° for one hour to lessen the kick.  All in all, lessons learned: less fruit, more soy sauce, less molasses.  Batch 4 was the least spicy, but still too much for me.  But this hot sauce has such a good taste, with less habaneros it could pass as a barbecue sauce.


I’ve been waiting all summer for this.  When we decided to build an enormous garden with a huge variety of different veges, all I cared about was being able to make spaghetti sauce and pesto from our harvest.  Last weekend we successfully froze an equivalent of 8 jars of pesto (in muffin tins!) and this weekend we went spaghetti sauce crazy.

We used my mom’s pressure cooker and these directions.  We diced and broiled about 60 tomatoes (skins on, and we tried to deseed as much as possible before dicing), and used carrots, celery, garlic, onions, a ton of fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, and basil — next time add oregano), some tomato paste (to make it more red), and a touch of balsamic vinegar and white wine.  We didn’t follow any recipe for proportions, and next time we probably should.  We just made it to taste (which is awesome), but issues arise when you lower the acidity (but we solved that by doubling the time in the pressure cooker).

We did follow the instructions carefully for using the pressure cooker.  Jars must be run through the dishwasher, lids and plastic utensils placed in recently boiled water, and no sauce on the rim when funneling it in the jar.

Five pint jars fit in the pressure cooker, which meant we added 1.5 quarts (6 cups) of water. We heated it up, waited for the weight to jiggle like crazy, and then cooked for 40 minutes (recommended is 20).  Viola!  Spaghetti sauce!

The hubster is a big pickle fan, and with dozens upon dozens of cucumbers popping up in our garden this summer, we got plenty of experience making these two Alton Brown pickle recipes.

Dill Pickles

Ingredients (altered)
2.75 ounces pickling salt
8 cups filtered water
8 cups apple cider vinegar
Enough pickles to fill 3 big mason jars
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 large bunch dill


Combine the salt, water, and vinegar in a simmering pot and stir until the salt has dissolved.

Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and snip off the blossom end stem. Set aside.

Place the peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, dill seed and fresh dill into the pot.  Add the cucumbers to the pot on top of the aromatics. Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers in order to completely cover.


Kinda Sorta Sours Pickles

1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon pickling spice
4 whole garlic cloves, smashed


Combine the onion and cucumber slices in a clean spring-top jar.

Combine the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the garlic, in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the spice flavors.

Add the garlic cloves to the jar. Slowly and gently pour the pickling liquid over the onion and cucumber slices, filling to the top of the jar.

Cool to room temperature. Top off the pickles with any remaining pickling liquid and refrigerate.