Making a hot sauce with a high alkaline level goes against the naturally acidic ingredients of most hot sauces and will require ingredients that have a higher alkaline content to them. Most of the ingredients that comprise a simple hot sauce recipe are the opposite scale of alkaline and contain a high level of acids, such as hot peppers and vinegar.
How can I increase the alkaline level of hot sauce?
The alkaline level of hot sauce can be increased by using fruits and vegetables that are high alkaline such as spinach and bell peppers in your recipe. Reduce or eliminate the amount of vinegar used and add alkaline water as a base. Using apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar will also reduce the amount of acid.
As discussed in Why the pH level of Hot Sauce is Important, bacteria will thrive in an environment where the pH is about 6.5 to 7. Making a hot sauce with a pH of about 3.4 will kill bacteria and also bacteria cannot survive in an environment where the pH is an alkaline level of 13 to 14.
A pH of 13 to 14 on the pH scale is considered to be a high alkaline level. Bacteria cannot survive in this environment. Human blood pH is 7.4 and it does not matter how much of an alkaline diet you have you cannot change that pH level. Eating hot sauce with a high alkaline level will not alter the pH of human blood. Urine and saliva can indicate high alkaline levels and it has health benefits but this is a false indication that the pH of blood has changed. According to webmd.com nothing you eat will change the pH of your blood.
What are the benefits of a high alkaline sauce?
An alkaline diet that consists of fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes is very healthy. Eating foods with a high alkaline level will not change the pH level of your body but typically these foods are healthier for you. A high alkaline diet can improve your health by reducing the amount of fatty foods being consumed and encouraging the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Hot sauce can fall into this category as well if it is a sauce that does not have any or very little vinegar or other acidic elements.
Foods such as fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables and others high in alkaline are good for you and will therefore improve your health. If you are on a high alkaline diet and love hot sauce keep in mind that most of these sauces tend to be on the acidic side but read below on producing an alkaline sauce.
Practicing a high alkaline diet can change the pH in urine and the benefits of this are in favor of bone growth, a prevention of bone loss and reduced osteoporosis fractures. In addition, studies show that a more alkaline body reduces joint pain, menstrual discomfort and inflammation. This does not mean you drink a jar of magic alkaline hot sauce and you automatically don’t have any joint pain. How do you ensure the hot sauce you are consuming is alkaline?
The only way to make sure a hot sauce is alkaline is knowing what the ingredients are in the sauce and testing it. Vert few hot sauces on the market are alkaline based due to the ingredients found in them. Some may be using the term “alkaline” as a marketing strategy so always test. Get your meter here from Amazon.com
How do I make a sauce that is a high alkaline level?
I grow and make a lot of food. I personally prepare 95% of the foods that I consume so I am very comfortable in the kitchen. Making hot sauce is one of the simplest tasks in the kitchen and can be done with just a blender and a knife.
Hot sauce is typically made of hot peppers and vinegar so each of these ingredients needs to be adjusted to make a sauce that is less acidic. Vinegar is the most acidic ingredient in a hot sauce with a pH of about 2.5 depending on the type of vinegar you are using.
Using the right vinegar
Hot peppers are also on the acidic end of the scale but are usually only between 4.6 and 5.9. Some hot sauces do not use vinegar at all, but you will usually find it listed on the label of most condiments. Some apple cider vinegar is less acidic (and I test this theory below) because of the alkaline base so that will push the pH reading toward alkaline.
Choosing high alkaline vegetables
Vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, avocado, kale and bell peppers are considered alkaline so these could be added to your hot sauce recipe. Read this article from liveenergized.com for more high alkaline vegetables. This list is much longer than the few items listed here but what would kale hot sauce taste like?
Bell peppers compliment a hot pepper, coming from the same family, but do not offer any heat. Try adding these to your sauce but keep in mind it will reduce the level of heat. The high vitamin C content of hot peppers is what gives them their acidity and capsaicin in the peppers is actually alkaline, measured as a separate compound, states originofchilli.com.
Pure capsaicin extract can be made by drying and grinding the peppers into a powder and putting them in a sealed jar with anhydrous pure ethanol. After they soak for a week filter or strain the peppers so there is only liquid. Boil the liquid and strain again if necessary. Test what you have made and remember that adding vinegar will change that pH number. Different types of vinegar will produce different results as well.
Using an alkaline water like smartwater alkaline 9+ pH is a good start to getting the sauce toward the alkaline side. If you are like me and do not like a “hot” hot sauce than using just a small amount of hot peppers with a lot of heat with a larger amount of alkaline water will keep it on the alkaline side.
White vinegar vs apple cider vinegar
I tested two different types of vinegar with the pH meter I ordered off Amazon like I typically test my hot sauces for their pH level. I have a blog post dedicated to using a pH meter, so I won’t go into to much detail here.
Each of these products were inexpensive (most vinegar is inexpensive) products from Walmart and The Dollar Store and were tested at room temperature. The apple cider vinegar was much less acidic than the white vinegar by over 50%.
Great Value White Vinegar – 1.71
1905 Apple Cider Vinegar – 3.71
The closer to 7.0 the more neutral the pH level so anything around 1.0 is very acidic. To back up the different pH level of each type of vinegar I did the test again with two different brands. The results between white vinegar and apple cider vinegar from the Heinz brand were similar, although not as drastic. The conclusion would be that white vinegar is more acidic than apple cider vinegar.
Heinz White Vinegar – 1.79
Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar – 2.44
How to make hot sauce less acidic
Adding to or subtracting from anything in a recipe will alter the flavor. If you want a high alkaline low acid hot sauce the time to consider these factors is before you invent the recipe. Reducing the number of ingredients in your sauce will allow you to control the level of pH but also does not give many opportunities to adjust it.
pH test your hot peppers
Making an extract from hot peppers can be long process and trying to “juice” a hot pepper like a citrus fruit is very difficult. Bending only the peppers with a pH meter will give you the pH level of only the peppers themselves.
Test only the seeds vs testing the pith and pepper wall
When I make hot sauce I remove the seeds, although you do not need to. A lot (some say all) of the heat of a pepper comes from the seeds. I don’t like seeing them in the sauce, but it does give it that homemade appeal.
Save the seeds and mash or blend them until they become a puree or a substance that can be measured with your meter and test them for pH as well. This could be a factor in the pH of your sauce as seeds are acidic. I don’t like a lot of heat in my hot sauce so I am OK leaving them out.
pH of fermented peppers
Hot peppers can be aged in a brine solution to enhance their flavor even more. Tabasco® brand hot sauce age their cayenne peppers as a mash in oak barrels for three years before it becomes sauce. There are a lot of ways to do this, but the simplest way is to soak the peppers in a sealed jar of salt water brine with a 1 tsp salt to 5 cups of water ratio for about one week.
Do fermented peppers have a different pH level?
I have a mason jar of fermented jalapenos that were only fermenting for a week. I did a similar experiment with the hot peppers as I did with the vinegar and tested each of them separately by blending only the peppers. Each of the peppers were cooked because this is the process, I would use to make my sauce.
I made sauce with both fermented peppers and unfermented peppers using the same ingredients and the fermented hot sauce slightly more acidic than the unfermented, but these numbers were not extremely different either.
Whether you are concerned with acid and alkaline levels in your diet or your hot sauce there are concerns with pH level if you will bottle your sauce for sale. Keeping the sauce around 3.4 will prohibit the growth of unwanted bacteria.