Hot Pepper Paste

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Hot Pepper Paste made with roasted tomatoes and hot peppers is a quick, delicious and nutritious addition to any meal. 

The recipe and my technique is below.

Prepare the tomatoes for roasting

Usually I pick my tomatoes before they are perfectly ripe and let them finish ripening in my house.  I wash the tomatoes with soap and water as soon as I bring them in from the garden, to remove the green dust that the tomato plant uses as a protecter against insects, diseases, extreme heat and excessive light. I place them in a bowl that gets a good amount of sun. I do this to avoid splitting or bruising if they are perfect before I get to pick them and they fall off the plant. When they are ready one of my favorite ways to prepare them for sauce (or Hot Pepper Paste) is to roast them in the oven.

Next, I cut them in half and scoop the seeds out into a fine mesh strainer. There is no need to oil your baking pan. The tomatoes will not stick unless you accidentally burn them. Place the tomatoes into a Pyrex or ceramic baking dish, skin side up. While holding the strainer over the baking dish with the tomatoes in it, I rinse the seeds, collecting the gel that holds the seeds in place. This acts as a thickener for the sauce. 

I give the rinsed seeds to my chickens. They LOVE them and squeal with delight.

You will notice I also have some cherry tomatoes in the dish. I do not usually scoop out these seeds, as it is a very tedious task.

Prepare the hot peppers for roasting

I avoid touching the hot peppers after I wash them with soap and water, using a knife and fork to scoop out the seeds. Since these peppers, from Humble HIll Farm (from our farmers Market) seems perfectly ripe I couldn't resist cutting one open before roasting it and saving the seeds.

For roasting, simply place the whole peppers in a dry baking pan. No oil is needed. The pepper I opened to harvest the seeds is carefully "closed" back up. The reason for leaving the peppers whole is to steam the pepper meat inside the very thin skin. The natural pepper oil seep out of the peppers and will make your peppers moist and juicy, giving your hot sauce maximum flavor.

The yellow pepper in the top of the photo is the one I harvested the seeds out of. I "close" it for roasting. If you leave it open and place the peppers open side down on the pan, the oils and sugars will burn and stick to the pan, causing your peppers to loose some of their special flavor.

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Roasting 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the oven rack about 1/3 up from the oven floor. Place your separate pans of peppers and tomatoes on this rack. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until the pepper skins are medium brown, and the tomato skins are slightly brown. Turn the oven off and leave the pans in there for approximately 30 to 60 minutes. Slow cooling will release the skins.

Roasted hot peppers before the seeds and skins were removed
Roasted tomatoes before the skins were removed
Hot Pepper Paste ready for the canning jars

After the peppers and tomatoes are cooled, remove the skins. The tomatoes I do with my hands.

I give the skins to my chickens. They prefer raw tomatoes whole and the raw skins, but there is still nutritional value in the skins for them and they still enjoy them.

I remove the pepper skins and seeds with a knife and fork, taking care not to touch the hot peppers. The oils will burn your fingers. I compost the pepper seeds and skins.

Putting the Hot Pepper Paste together

I like to add raw onion (you can also add raw garlic, or roast either or both) to my hot sauce, a little olive oil, salt and some apple cider vinegar. In this case, since I'm waiting for my vinegar to be ready from Little Tree Orchards, so I will substitute a little fresh apple sauce.

Chop up the raw onion and place all of the above ingredients, along with your roasted peppers and tomatoes, in a bowl or pot to use a stick blender with, blender, food processor, or whatever tool you use to mash food up with. Blend until it a smooth paste or sauce.

Spoon the Hot Pepper Paste into small canning jars (1/2 size jelly jars) to preserve it when you need the jolt of Hot Pepper Paste in the middle of Winter. Click here for canning tips.

Add this hot pepper paste to salsa, homemade mayonnaise, soups, use as a condiment, add to a salad dressing, and to tomato sauce. Wherever you want that extra kick, Hot Pepper Paste is my favorite choice.

Enjoy!

Properly wash your canning jars

Properly preparing your canning jars is essential to enjoying your efforts at food preservation. Using the right soap that creates a sterile environment inside the jar, without leaving a detergent or soapy residue or chemical taste is key. Canning organic food, grown by you or a farmer you know, can give you superior quality, fun foods, full of nutrition. Learn more about it here.

I use a sharpie to write on the disk part of the lids what's in the jars, instead of using nicer looking stickers on the jars, that leave a glue residue.

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