Storage of Hot Sauce For Optimum Enjoyment

Whether you have prepared your own hot sauce or purchased it from your supermarket or online; you need to ensure it remains fresh and usable. There is nothing worse than preparing a meal, only to find that your sauce has lost its punch! The storage of hot sauce can be done in the following way.

First, the proper canning of hot sauce assures its freshness, flavor and shelf life. Just as you would can tomatoes or other freshly made sauces, the first thing you need to do is to gather several jars with cap locks. Remember, only glass jars that have been strengthened for heat and cold should be used in home canning.

The Mason jar is the most common type. With its two-piece lid, consisting of a lid and screw band combination it is the one most often used for canning. Although the lid can be used only once, the screw band may be reused. Please be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use to insure formation of a good seal during processing.

Make sure to check the lids for dents, gaps, or any other problems in the sealing gasket. If you come across any with defects, toss them out. Next, boil the bottles for at least 5 minutes; then remove the jars and drain out the water. They are now ready to be filled with your homemade sauce.

Keep the hot sauce in the refrigerator for at least a week prior to using it. The longer the sauce ages, the more infused the ingredients will become. It should last about six to nine months unopened depending on the type and the ingredients.

For example, Habanero sauce has a one year shelf life; and one and a half month shelf life after opening. Tapatio on the other hand, does not have a definite expiration date, however consuming it within two years of the purchase date optimizes the flavor.

Properly stored, your hot sauce ingredients can last a while too. For example, store chili peppers refrigerated, wrapped in paper towels in an open plastic bag. Kept dry, they can last a couple of weeks. For longer storage, cut chili peppers in half, dry completely then store in freezer in a sealed Ziploc bag.

Remember though, to keep both your fresh chile peppers and your completed sauce away from children. This is because the active ingredients in fresh hot sauce are very strong. Those same oils that create the burning sensation we enjoy tasting can also cause painful burning in the eyes and on the skin and children can be particularly sensitive.

Whether store-bought or homemade, the storage of hot sauce when executed properly can afford you months and even years of quality flavor. You've taken the time to find the perfect recipe and the freshest ingredients and you've made the effort to create the perfect sauce - now make sure you can savor the results as long as possible.

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