Bottling Hot Sauce 

     Bottling hot sauce or canning is necessary if your are planning to store your sauce for a later use in terms of weeks even months at room temperature. For the experience to be a true success you must know how to bottle them in order to prevent botulism. Follow these simple instructions and your sauces will get the maximum shelf life.The terms bottling and canning are used interchangeably in this article.


Sanitization Process

     To Bottle your sauce, you need first to sanitize your containers and prepare them for filling.

  • Carefully clean the containers (jars or bottles), and the closures (caps).
  • Place the empty bottles in a pot with water, fill the bottles with water and cover.
  • Bring the pot of water to a boil and boil the bottles for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off heat; remove the bottles using tongs and hold upside down to remove the water.
  • Do not boil the dropper fitments or caps.


Canning

     You may choose to package your hot sauce using standard canning methods, however, it must be properly heat processed in order to ensure safety and shelf life. The pH or acidity of your sauce will determine the canning method to use. Using pH strips is a simple way to determine if the pH of your sauce is low enough to process in a hot water bath.

     It is vital that you make sure your hot sauce has a pH level of less than 4.6 and follow proper water bath canning instructions for tomato based hot sauce to be able to store your bottles at room temperature. Any higher and the conditions won’t be acidic enough to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria. If the pH is greater than 4.6, you cannot follow basic water bath canning instructions. You would have to pressure cook.

     High acid foods such as fruits and hot sauces are much easier to jar than low acid foods. This is because acid kills bacteria that cause botulism so it is not necessary to kill all of that bacteria prior to canning. If your food has a pH of 4.6 or below, there is enough acid to use basic water bath canning.


Hot Water Bath Canning

  • Fill the jars or bottles using a funnel. Leave as little head space as possible, however make sure that the sauce does not touch the brim of the jar or bottle.
  • Seal the jars tightly with the lids.
  • Place the jars or bottles at least two inches apart in a pot of 220 degree Fahrenheit boiling water for approximately ten minutes. The water should cover the bottles or jars by at least one inch.
  • Carefully remove the bottles or jars from the water with tongs and allow them to cool.

     Foods with low acid level are a little more complicated because you do not have the benefit of the acid working as a natural preservative; For these you will need a pressure cooker.


Pressure cooker canning

  • Fill the jars or bottles. Leave as little head space as possible, however make sure that the sauce does not touch the brim of the jar or bottle.
  • Seal the jars tightly with the lids.
  • Place the jars or bottles at least two inches apart in a pressure cooker containing 2 or 3 inches of water. Follow manufacturer specifications for the pressure cooker. Bring the temperature up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain for approximately ten minutes.
  • Release the pressure from the pressure cooker according to the manufacturer specifications.
  • Carefully remove the bottles or jars from the water and allow them to cool.

     Remember, you can always store your homemade hot sauces in the fridge. Their freshness is guaranteed for a couple of days at least.


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