Hot sauce has come a long way since the vinegar and hot peppers combination was introduced about 200 years ago. Recipes combine exotic spices, fruits, and vegetables more than they ever have. Consumers have shown a demand for these combinations and the industry has answered with manufacturers introducing new brands and entirely new creations.
Using fruit in a hot sauce will expand flavors and the types of sauces that can be made to include Caribbean-style sauce. Most fruits will provide nutrients like vitamins and minerals a hot sauce would not otherwise have. When ripe fruit will bend into a smooth sauce-like consistency. Many fruits can blend well with most varieties of hot peppers to create a spicy cooking sauce, glazes, and dessert sauces.
There are many varieties of fruits grown all over the world that can be obtained very easily and inexpensively for new hot sauce creations. This availability along with the hot sauce industry’s introduction of new brands has caused manufacturers to include other ingredients…like fruit.
Adding ingredients such as fruits, either one type or multiple varieties, allows a hot sauce product to develop into other types of products. Given the variety of fruits available, the combination to create these products is almost endless. Hot sauces that use fruit provide a “sweet and heat” combination that also expands the type of foods they are used with. Read The 50 Most Common Ingredients Used In Hot Sauce for other ingredients that have expanded flavors of hot sauces.
Expanding flavors means using a hot sauce in new ways and pairing it with new sauces. Hot sauces that contain fruits may also have specific foods that they pair well with. For example, many fruit-based sauces pair well with chicken, and chicken can be prepared in numerous ways. New hot sauce creations using fruit can include toppings, cooking sauces, glazes, or even dessert sauces…but it begins with the selection of fruit. How To Pair Hot Sauce With Food can guide the use of a fruit based hot sauce.
Using fruit in a hot sauce can alter the pH level depending on the type of fruit used, how much of it is used, and the processes that are used to make the hot sauce. Citrus-based fruits like lemons and limes will lower the pH of a hot sauce and help preserve the sauce. Bananas, melons, and dates will have a pH on the alkaline side close to 6 to 7 pH and preservation methods. Fruits that have a higher alkaline level are not typically used in hot sauce recipes because their flavors may not blend well with many hot pepper varieties. Read more on Understanding Hot Sauce pH and Why Hot Sauce pH Is Important.
The heat level of fruit base hot sauces may not be as high as some other types of sauces. This is because it may take a large quantity of fruit to highlight the flavoring and this will be a large portion of the sauce. Also, the use of a fruit-based sauce includes marinades, grill sauces, and dessert sauces where extreme levels of spice are not always desired.
Fruit based hot sauce
Fruit can make a great base for hot sauce because it can compliment and balance the heat from the hot peppers used in the sauce. Many varieties of hot peppers also have a fruity flavor to them outside of the spiciness. Peppers such as habanero and scotch bonnet are known for their fruity flavors. Get hot sauce recipes that use these peppers below.
Common fruits used in hot sauce
There are almost 2,000 different varieties of fruits available all around the world. Many of these fruits will have vastly different flavors to them even within each species. However, there are only about 10 to 12 that are used regularly and frequently as a typical hot sauce ingredient.
There are a lot of citrus fruits used in hot sauce recipes. Their strong and pungent flavors, especially lemons and limes, balance the heat of hot peppers within a hot sauce recipe. Citrus will also provide an acidic environment in a hot sauce and can often replace vinegar as one of the main ingredients.
Peach, apricot, nectarine
Peaches, apricots, and nectarines are called stone fruit because of the large pit inside of them. Each of these fruits can be very similar in color, texture, and appearance but different in flavor. Peaches are common in many salsa recipes.
Cherries and plums
Cherries, black cherries, and plums are other types of stone fruit but are not as commonly used as peaches or apricots. Plums do not have as much of a distinct flavor as cherries and are often used for their sourness. Cherries can be combined with bourbon and smoke flavor.
Raspberries and blueberries
Raspberries and blueberries are commonly mixed in many jams, jellies, fillings, and also some brands of hot sauce. Both of these fruits combine well together and offer a brilliant bright red, maroon or purple color to a hot sauce recipe.
Strawberries are another fruit that is rarely used in a hot sauce and can be combined with other fruits like blueberries similarly to the way raspberries are used. Using strawberries may need the addition of sugar or other sweeteners to reduce some of their natural tartness.
The first thought of a banana-based hot sauce may not sound very appealing. Bananas provide a creamy base to a hot sauce as well as a distinct flavor reminiscent of a Caribbean blend. Bananas and coconuts need careful consideration to the type of hot pepper that is used with them. Common hot peppers combined with bananas and other fruits like mango, papaya, and guava are often combined with habanero or scotch bonnet. Each of these has fruity flavors and bright colors.
Apples are not the first fruit that comes to mind that combines well with hot peppers. Apple cider vinegar and apple juice are much more common and are usually combined with apples within a hot sauce. Other forms of using apple in a hot sauce are puree, syrup, jelly, and apple sauce.
Unlike other fruits where the pulp is used in a hot sauce recipe, a sauce containing grape flavor will usually only use the juice. Liquids made from grapes like wine and vinegar also balance the heat of a hot sauce much as citrus fruits do. These liquids will also lower the pH of a hot sauce recipe.
Other less common fruits
These lists are not an exhaustive list of every type of fruit but ones that have been used more commonly than others. Other fruits such as kiwi, passion fruit, and star fruit have been used as well but not to the extent of citrus and stone fruit.
All fruits will add nutritional value to a hot sauce, as well as hot peppers, but this does not need to be the main reason for their use in a hot sauce. Although the lack of fat and calories in a hot sauce is a common attribute the extra nutritional value from adding fruits is usually overlooked.
Most fruits can be blended to a smooth consistency without much processing. Some processing such as stem, seed, and skin removal may need to be done for certain fruits. This can be a great base for a hot sauce but can also be a thicker consistency without other liquids added.
Types of sauces
Adding fruit to a hot sauce recipe can direct its use. Traditional hot sauces have been used as a topping but adding fruit allows them to have other uses. Many hot sauces using fruits will include additional sugar or sweeteners also common for the type of use.
Cooking sauce, glaze, and dessert sauce
Fruits make a great base from grilling sauces on meats like chicken, steak, and shrimp. A glaze can be used before and after the meat is prepared and the sweetness from certain fruits will heighten depending on the cooking process. Introducing fruit to hot sauce recipes has also allowed creations for dessert-based sauces. These sauces are used on ice cream, pastries and can balance out the bitter flavors of some chocolates.