There are many ways to make hot sauce even with just a few ingredients. Ingredients can come in many different forms and will still become a great-tasting sauce. Fresh, dried, cooked, fermented, or other forms of the ingredients used in hot sauce are available and have become common in many hot sauces. One of those ingredients used is dried hot peppers.
Making hot sauce from dried peppers requires the peppers to be reconstituted or soaked in liquid before they are processed. This allows the peppers to become workable or easily blended into a sauce, without leaving the sauce with inconsistent sized pepper flakes. The skin of some dried hot peppers may be thicker or tougher than others and may not blend properly. Also, dried hot peppers may offer a different flavor to a hot sauce depending on how the process that is used to dry them.
The main ingredient of hot sauce, hot peppers, can come in many varieties, flavors, and different forms. Dried peppers may be used because drying can be a common way of preserving fresh peppers to be used at a later time to make a sauce. The way a hot sauce is processed using dried peppers may be slightly different than fresh peppers and can have some advantages as well as disadvantages. If processed correctly, using dried hot peppers will have the same results as fresh peppers in the end product.
Advantages of making hot sauce with dried peppers
The advantage of making hot sauce with dried hot peppers is that the sauce can be made at any time without compromising the quality of the sauce. This allows you to purchase large quantities of dried hot peppers at a lower cost without the worry of them going bad. Hot sauce made with fresh hot peppers needs to have the sauce made before the hot peppers begin to lose their freshness. Fresh hot peppers, like many fruits or vegetables, have a short period that they are ripe. It is the peak ripeness that will produce the most intense flavors.
Check out this great hot sauce recipe using dried habanero peppers from That’s Tasty. This recipe uses a fermented process with dried hot peppers tat gives the sauce a combination of tangy and smoky flavors. Get dried habanero peppers here from Amazon to start making your own hot sauce using dried hot peppers.
The flavor is another advantage of making hot sauce with dried peppers. Drying the peppers intensifies the flavor and heat of the hot peppers and captures the peak ripeness. Many times the peppers are dried using smoking methods and this can add a deep, rich flavor as well. Pepper powders are a form of dried peppers and can intensify a hot sauce even further.
Dried peppers can be stored for long periods before a hot sauce is made because drying is a form of preservation. This allows the sauce to be made at any time as opposed to the need to make the sauce before fresh peppers go bad. This is ideal for experimenting with different hot sauce recipes that may take more time than others.
Dried hot peppers have an intense flavor and heat because it is concentrated. Hot peppers can be dried through smoking and this can also provide an intense flavor. Because hot peppers are such a large percentage of the hot sauce this flavor will permeate through the sauce and create unique flavors that may otherwise take an additional step or ingredient to achieve.
The skin of a dried pepper can be very tough and therefore may not blend completely unless you grind them into a fine powder. This can allow the bits and pieces of the peppers to appear throughout the sauce. This is not a negative factor in how the hot sauce looks as many hot sauces appear to have spices throughout the sauce. This can also give a hot sauce a “homemade” appeal to it.
This appearance can also affect the flavor and spiciness of the hot sauce because the hot peppers may not be blended evenly throughout the sauce.
If the dried hot peppers are not reconstituted completely or properly it may be difficult to blend them into the hot sauce. The skins of the dried peppers may be tough and will present speckled flakes throughout the sauce. This is not always a bad thing but it can give the indication or appearance that it is a homemade sauce but the size and shape of the sauce may be inconsistent. These pieces of skin can also get caught in a strainer and their intended use in the sauce may be diminished.
Using dried peppers in a hot sauce may take an additional step in the process. Dried peppers can be very tough and may be processed through a grinder until it results in a fine powder. The powder gets semi-dissolved within the liquids of the hot sauce and still has a strong flavor and level of heat. Usually, this powder can still be seen throughout the sauce and this can be common in many sauces.
Using dried peppers in a hot sauce needs to have the peppers reconstituted before they are used. This means that they are soaked in water until they regain some of their plumpness. No matter how long you soak a dried hot pepper it will not regain its original qualities as they were when they were fresh. You cannot bring a pepper back from the dead by soaking it in water but you can “plump” them up enough to blend them into a sauce.
Reconstituting hot peppers does not mean that you are bringing peppers back to life. It simply means that you are allowing them to soak up some water and become nimble enough to be blended into a hot sauce. Soaking the peppers whole in warm water will get the best results. This only needs to be done for about 20 to 30 minutes until they become soft and workable.
Blending a hot sauce recipe that uses dried hot peppers can be tricky if the peppers are not reconstituted fully. One method to resolve this would be to use a grinder to grind the peppers into a fine powder completely before using them in a sauce. This should be done instead of reconstituting them. Many hot sauces will have a fine powder evident in the sauce because they will not be dissolved completely even after it is blended. Dried hot peppers may not blend consistently or completely unless they are reconstituted or it could take more unnecessary blending at high speeds depending on the other ingredients. Read more about blenders here in the Best Blenders Guide.
Cooking a hot sauce in a saucepan using dried hot peppers isn’t any different than using fresh hot peppers. The process would typically be done after the sauce has been blended. Using dried peppers would eliminate the roasting process. This would dry out the peppers further and they would not develop or accept a roasted flavor as fresh peppers do. There are several methods of Drying Hot Peppers that can produce a full flavor and this flavor will be evident in the sauce as well.
Some hot sauce recipes will require straining the sauce after all processing is done but before it is put into bottles. This will “catch” any of the dried pepper flakes or chunks that didn’t get blended or ground into the sauce. Some hot sauces use this pepper flakes as part of the appearance of the sauce. However, straining the sauce will remove many of these flakes and these can contain a lot of flavor and heat.