Seeds are often removed from many fruits and vegetables before they are consumed because of their bitterness and coarse texture. Most often seeds are left in hot peppers before they are blended into a hot sauce because they can be difficult and time-consuming to remove. There can be many reasons for removing them before making hot sauce but there are more reasons to leave them in and not hassling with eliminating them from your hot sauce.
Seeds from hot peppers are OK to consume in a hot sauce and are not toxic or harmful to the human body or our digestive systems. Some seeds contain nutrients and proteins that are good for a well-balanced diet. Leaving seeds in homemade hot sauce will make them visible in a traditional hot sauce. Removing them from each pepper is tedious and time-consuming but you can remove the seeds and pith to reduce the heat of a hot sauce.
I am always experimenting with new hot sauce recipes and ways that I can make large batches more efficiently. I have found some reasons for removing the seeds but dislike how long it takes. Sauces that are chunky and thick textured do not get blended much so the seeds appear throughout the sauce. I originally started removing the seeds to try and reduce the heat but have since found other methods to achieve that because I don’t like an intense heat level.
How do seeds contribute to the heat level of a hot sauce?
Seeds are a source of heat in a hot pepper but not the only cause. The pith around them and the ribs they are attached to are also the greatest sources of heat in a hot pepper. Removing them entirely does not remove the heat completely but it can reduce it substantially. Eating just the seeds from a hot pepper will provide a great amount of heat but not much flavor.
Leave the seeds in if you plan on roasting, toasting, grilling or fire roasting the hot peppers for sauce. They will become golden brown and dried out more than the pepper walls and skin. The seeds will be blended fine in the sauce and will retain the some of the heat. Although a lot of the heat is reduced with roasting, the seeds add a colorful contrast against the peppers.
Seeds will affect the flavor of a hot sauce…a little bit
The seeds of a hot pepper will be bitter and may not reflect the flavor of the hot pepper itself. It is this bitterness that acts as a deterrent in nature to keep predators (not us) from eating them. The heat of the pepper is supposed to do the same thing, but it seems to attract humans to the hot pepper even more. By themselves, the bitter flavor of hot pepper seeds is distinct but when the seeds are mixed in a hot sauce they will not be as noticeable and will not present at all. By weight, the seeds are about 0.1% of the overall weight of the hot pepper.
All seeds by themselves will have a distinct flavor to them. Many seeds bought in stores will have some processing done to enhance the flavoring specifically to be consumed. The seeds of a hot pepper will have a flavor by themselves that is separate from the pepper and this is not the desired taste in a hot sauce. Preparing the seeds separately from the walls, pith and skin like roasting them of the pepper will give them an even more unique flavor different from the pepper. This will add a distinct flavor to a hot sauce.
Do the seeds and pepper taste like the same?
The seeds of a hot pepper will be bitter and may not reflect the flavor of the hot pepper. By themselves the bitter flavor is distinct but when the seeds are mixed in a hot sauce they will not be as noticeable and won’t present at all. Some processes like fermenting will meld the flavors together with the peppers.
The seeds of a hot pepper will have their own flavor separate from the pepper. Believe it or not, there are many parts to the hot pepper and each of them can have a slight variation in flavor. Together they will collectively reflect the flavor of the hot pepper you are using in the hot sauce and those individualized flavors will be lost in the hot sauce. Some recipes use the whole hot pepper, stems, seeds and all, but I usually cut the stems off. You can consume them but it’s not typically blended in a hot sauce. There is also no harm in consuming the stem of the hot pepper but by itself it may be a “woody” flavor and fiber like texture that the seeds won’t have.
Seeds contribute to nutritional balance
The seeds of hot peppers will not harm you, are not toxic and do not disrupt the digestive system unless you have a food intolerance to seeds. Many seeds contain everything necessary to grow healthy plants therefore they are very nutritious. Some seeds provide the necessary protein to meet nutritional needs. Healthline states that as well as fiber seed supply the body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Seeds that are put into a hot sauce may go through some processing and this will remove some of the nutrients. This can happen to the hot pepper itself. Don’t change the process of your hot sauce recipe simply to gain nutrients from the seeds. There isn’t much research that states hot pepper seeds themselves contain nutrients.
Seeds contain phytic acid
Phytic acid or phytate is a natural element found in seeds that has many health benefits to include antioxidant attributes. The consumption of phytic acid isn’t of any concern if you eat a balanced diet and the amount found in nuts and seeds varies greatly. Foods that contain phytic acid, seeds, are nutrient-dense and should be included in a well-balanced diet. Read more about the benefits of phytic acid here at verywellhealth.
Seeds also contain lectin
Lectin is mostly found in the seed coating and is destroyed when the seeds are cooked. Any of the above mentioned methods of roasting ang grilling will do the same thing. Lectin is another naturally occurring element that seeds have as a defense mechanism. Lectins are not digested by our bodies but passed through our systems.
Generally speaking, seeds are a great source of calcium, iron and magnesium and these are all important to the human body. However, you may have to consume a substantial amount of these seeds at regular intervals to gain from their benefits. There may also not be a large number of seeds in hot sauce and if you follow the serving suggested that may become even less of a contribution. The clevelandclinic says the best way to consume seeds is ground up so blending them into a hot sauce would be perfect.
FDA requirements for seeds
According to the FDA, some ingredients can be listed collectively such as whole hot peppers. Also, seeds do not need to be declared on an ingredient label because they are an incidental ingredient of another ingredient, hot peppers. Similarly, the ingredients in vinegar do not need to be listed but simply include “vinegar” as one of the ingredients if you are using it in your hot sauce.
Some manufactured hot sauces contain seeds as part of the recipe and are therefore listed on the nutritional label under ingredients because it is a substantial amount. Sesame seeds are some of the more common seeds found in some varieties of hot sauces. The FDA does encourage seeds to be labeled as allergens but seeds from hot peppers have no known allergens.
Although some allergic reactions to seeds such as sesame and sunflower seeds can be severe there are no known allergic reactions to hot peppers seeds. However, the FDA may soon require sesame seeds to be included as an allergen if they are part of the hot sauce recipe. Even though they may be crushed, ground and blended into the sauce…they are in there. Other hot sauce recipes will leave them visible.
Will seeds float in hot sauce?
Viable seeds (seeds able to grow) will float in a viscous liquid like a very thin hot sauce. The seeds that are dead or dried will sink to the bottom. Some research states that the seeds that come from store-bought hot peppers will not sprout or grow because the peppers are sprayed with pesticides and this “kills” the seed. I have grown produce from store-bought hot peppers.
Many hot sauces are thicker and the seeds will mix in with the other ingredients. If you have a rigorous blending method they will get blended into microscopic amounts. I remove them if there are only a couple floating around. Some hot sauce recipes require the appearance of seeds.
Should I remove the seeds from hot sauce?
Removing the seeds from hot sauce will take a lot of time and effort, especially if you are mass-producing and it is your personal preference to remove them or not. They can affect the hot sauce through appearance, texture, heat, flavor and nutritional level. For me, it depends on the type of hot sauce and the consistency of the sauce that I am making.
A salsa will typically be of a chunky consistency and therefore will not be as blended as a traditional hot sauce. The seeds are edible but will appear throughout the salsa if they are not removed. If you combine them with other smaller particles this will become the signature texture of the sauce.
Seeds affect the appearance of hot sauce
Depending on how you process, prepare and blend hot sauce the seeds could be visible in the sauce. For some sauces, this is a representation of a homemade sauce and that is the appeal desired. I prefer to not see the seeds and either cook, roast, smoke or ferment the peppers to soften the seeds. This allows for easy blending into the sauce. When blending fresh peppers the seeds may be tough and more difficult to blend. This makes them more visible in the sauce.
The texture of hot sauce will change by leaving in seeds
If you are making a traditional-style hot sauce with the consistency of Tabasco® either removing them or adding a process that will make them applicable to be ground down into a powder. If the seeds are fresh they will not grind as easily and will make a thicker sauce.
Using a process such as roasting will turn the seeds a golden brown and will make them easier to blend into the sauce. They will give a speckled appearance to the sauce but will otherwise blend into the smoothness. High-speed emulsifying blenders will be able to blend the seeds because of the rapid at which they function.
The heat level of hot sauce can be reduced by leaving out seeds
Removing seed from hot peppers will reduce the heat level of a hot sauce. There are other ways to control the heat of a hot sauce than simply just removing the seeds, although this can be effective. Roasting the peppers with the seeds will also reduce the heat level once the hot peppers are produced into a sauce.
Seeds can influence flavor of a hot sauce
Leaving seeds in your hot sauce can influence the overall flavor of the sauce. The seeds of fruits or vegetables will have their own flavor to them. Seeds of hot peppers are slightly bitter but this may not be noticeable in a hot sauce with bold flavors.
Seeds contain nutritional benefits
Seeds provide nutritional value to a hot sauce but this would not necessarily be reflected on a nutritional label. The recipe of a hot sauce is submitted but it may not reflect whether the seeds were removed or not. The weight of the seeds compared to the overall weight of the sauce are minimal.
Why would you remove the seeds from a hot sauce?
Removing the seeds from hot peppers could take a lot of time on a smaller scale of operations. Each pepper would need to be handled individually and it could become a labor-intensive activity with such a simple recipe of ingredients. However, there are machines on a larger manufacturing scale that can separate the seeds from the flesh of the pepper. This is another step in the process of making hot sauce and it will also be additional costs for the machinery.
Do seeds raise or lower the pH of a hot sauce?
Seeds by themselves are an alkaline-based food source. They as in such a small concentration in a hot sauce (if you don’t remove them) that it won’t change the pH much leaving them in or taking them out. Hot peppers will only contain about 0.1% per weight of the hot peppers.
For example, a larger jalapeno pepper may weigh up to 1 ounce. That would be .001 ounce of seed a pepper. The average hot sauce bottle contains about three hot peppers so that would be much less than 1 gram of seeds per bottle and is not enough to change the pH of a hot sauce.