Jalapeños Fooled Me

10 Sep

I was so pumped the other day to make a batch of hot sauce. It was a quiet Thursday night at our house and I was sipping on a Sprecker cream soda. Love. Earlier in the week I had lined up all of my hot sauce ingredients on the counter so they would be rocking ready for when I had the time to whip it up. I had counted out 20 jalapeños and I thought that for sure this hot sauce would have a nice bite to it. Another step closer to living off the grid. Life. Goal.

Let me paint you a picture of one year ago this week. Our daughter Lyla was just two weeks old and since I was still in some serious pain and on the mend from birthing a child, Nic was in charge of harvesting our garden and prepping the goods for freezing, sauces, recipes, etc. I was sitting on the couch in our family room on my millionth round of feeding Lyla that day when I looked over to see Nic finishing slicing up the cayenne and seranno peppers. He was not wearing any gloves.

Me: How’s that going for you?

Nic: My hands are on fire.

Nic spent the next three hours whining (I’m sure it was painful), with his hands soaking in milk. Expensive, organic milk. I think he burned (no pun intended) through an entire gallon of milk that day just trying to get his hands to stop burning. Poor guy. Also, there was no passing off Lyla to Nic for the rest of the day. I wasn’t about to let my two week old baby be touched by someone who’s hands were saturated in the oils from hot peppers. Yeesh.

So you can imagine how careful I was when I went about making this recipe. I was wearing gloves to chop the peppers, was super careful about cleaning up where I cut my peppers, I practically kept my eyes closed while stirring the peppers over the hot stove, and kept a towel enclosing the bowl when I pureed the peppers into a sauce. So here is the recipe.

Jalapeño Hot Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

20 fresh jalapeños, sliced (do not remove the seeds)

1 medium yellow onion, minced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 tsp salt

2 cups of water

1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar

Heat the oil over medium/high heat in a large sauce pan. When the oil is nice and hot, toss in the peppers, onion, garlic, and salt. Sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onions are beginning to become translucent and the peppers are softening up. Add the water and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let this mixture cool to room temperature. I ran out of time, so I threw the pepper mixture into a bowl, tossed it in the fridge, and came back to it the next morning. I love recipes that can be done in stages when I’m short on time.

Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree the pepper mixture until it is smooth, adding the vinegar slowly throughout the blending process.

I poured my sauce into a clean canning jar and sealed the lid tightly. This sauce will stay good in your fridge for up to 6 months.

The moment of truth came when I made a delightful little taco salad and topped it with my freshly pureed hot sauce. I gave the sauce a little finger dip and lick to test out the hotness. Nothing. So I sucked down a whole spoonful. Nothing. Not even the tiniest bit of a bite. It tasted good, but it was not spicy in the slightest. My hot sauce needed hot sauce.

Nic came home that night and we dissected one of the fresh jalapeños. Even a large chomp of these peppers with the seeds wasn’t hot at all. By now I’m thinking…What is wrong with the soil in our garden? Did I not leave them on the plant long enough? Did I cook them too long? Are these not even jalapeño peppers?!?!?!

Oh, they are jalapeños. I tracked down the seed packet and found that they are called “Fooled You Jalapeños”. Yeah, fooled me indeed. Fooled You Jalapeños are apparently a type of hybrid jalapeño pepper that has virtually no heat. It’s like eating a bell pepper. They are beautiful peppers that look like their spicy family member, but they are just not at all hot.

Even though the recipe I made did not turn out as I had intended, I’m sharing it anyway. My mom loved the hot sauce just as a mild green salsa, so it’s great on tortilla chips. While this “hot” sauce doesn’t add any heat to the dish when you use the type of peppers I used, I thought that it had really good flavor anyhow and it would be a great addition to any type of mexican dish.

Lesson learned this week: If you want to make hot sauce, don’t use “Fooled You” Jalapeños. And….I’ll be taking a closer look at the pepper descriptions when I buy my seed packets next year.

Anything in your garden this year turn out different than expected?

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