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.
To Bottle your sauce, you need first to sanitize your containers and prepare them for filling.
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.
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.
Remember, you can always store your homemade hot sauces in the fridge. Their freshness is guaranteed for a couple of days at least.