Spice up the season

If you’ve had enough sweets, but you’re still looking for a way to brighten up the winter days, try mixing together a spicy red hot sauce! This recipe is easy to follow and uses ingredients that are available no matter what the season. Easy Hot Sauce is great for stirring into vegetables or cheese dips and spicing up soups and chili.

Easy Hot Sauce

You’ll need:

  • 8 cups (64 ounces) canned, diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1½ cups seeded, chopped Serrano peppers
  • 4 cups distilled white vinegar (5 percent)
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole mixed pickling spices

This recipe yields four half-pint jars. Wear gloves when handling, cutting and seeding hot peppers or wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Start by washing half-pint canning jars; keep hot until they are filled. Prepare lids according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Next, place mixed pickling spices in a spice bag and tie ends firmly. Mix all ingredients in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are soft.

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Press mixture through a food mill. Return the liquid to the pot, heat to boiling and boil for 15 minutes.

Fill hot sauce into clean, hot half-pint jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes if 1,000-6,000 ft. altitude; 20 minutes if over 6,000 ft.). Allow hot sauce to cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours and check seals. You can remove screw bands after the food has cooled if the lids are sealed.

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This entry is an edited version of an article originally written by April Reese Sorrow and Elizabeth L. Andress.

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