Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Make your own Hot Pepper Sauce!


Hot pepper plants seem to always produce more 'fruit' then one could possibly eat fresh.
Since they are a low acid food they would have to be pressure canned to preserve as is.

But since pepper sauce uses vinegar as it's base, you can preserve it by the boiling
water bath method or just bottle and keep in the frig, it will keep for months or
until the next crop, next season.

Unlike the typical "how hot can we make this" sauce you find in the stores, you can
make your sauce as mild and flavorful as you like by adding in sweet peppers,
tomato and other flavorings.

If you want to go easy on the vinegar, you will have to keep the bottles in the frig,
as it's the vinegar that makes it shelf stable.

I came up with this recipe below and because it's mild you can use it liberally on
steak, eggs, hamburgers, sandwiches. We've been using it in everything!

Make this sauce as hot or sweet as you like by the peppers you use.
This recipe is medium heat with lots of flavor.

Pepper Hot Sauce 

10 hot peppers
5 small sweet peppers
1 tomato, seeded
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp coriander seed, crushed
1 handful fresh lemon, lime or sweet basil
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
1 cup vinegar
1 and 1/2 cup water

1.  Chop tops off of peppers and seed.

2.  Saute in skillet the peppers, basil, tomato, coriander and honey in the oil until
 peppers are tender.

3.  Deglaze with wine and cook 2 min. more.  Add vinegar and water, cook a few
more minutes.

4.  Place half of mixture in blender and puree. Remove contents of blender
and puree second half.

5. Pour into sterilized bottles or jars with sealing lids if processing in boiling water bath.

6.  Can using boiling water bath method for 15 min. or just cap bottles and keep in
refrigerator (will keep for several months).

Makes 3-4 cups

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Victory for the Honeybees!

In response to concerns over a mounting problem with "colony-collapse disorder" of honeybee hives nationwide, Florida has approved legislation that prohibits counties, municipalites & planned communities from banning backyard beekeeping in residentially zoned areas.

Signed into law July 1, 2012, HB1197 establishes the Florida Department of Agriculture as sole power to regulate beehives & prohibits counties & municipalities from enacting beekeeping laws.

The bill primarily protects hobbyists with a few hives in residential areas. The argument was successfully made that the Dept. of Agriculture, which already regulates & inspects commercial beekeeping operations, is better able to make sound decisions through knowledge than municipalities that know little about beekeeping.

With many farmers having their bees die off or simply fly off, they testified to the need of hobbyists with a few hives in residential areas to help fill the void from large losses by commercial keepers.

Having managed honeybees out in the environment competing for the same forage & food helps discourage Africanized bees from moving into the area. European Honeybees, the only bee allowed through the new law, are docile and non-aggressive. Africanized bees, on the other hand, are extremely aggressive & have moved into central & south Florida in the last few years.

County Commisioners, Dept. of Agriculture agents & County Extension agents are working together to come up with new guidelines to make sure the hives are maintained properly & proper barriers are required to protect the public, especially those that are allergic.

Hobbyists welcome the regulation by the Dept. of Agriculture, saying that hives should be inspected for proper care.

While the officials hash out the details, we can all plant more bee-friendly trees, flowers & grasses in our gardens to help attrack the bees to our yards.

Some common bee-friendly plants are:
Trees: Hollies, Magnolia, Dogwoods, Catalpa, Redbuds, Avocado, Almond & fruit trees (especially citrus)
Native Grasses
Vines: Coral , Honeysuckle
Perennials: Rugosa roses, Hyssop, Milkweed, Mallow, Butterfly bush, California Poppy, Cosmos, Purple Coneflower, Spiderwort, Russian Sage, Sunflowers
Herbs: Oregano, Rosemary, Lavender, Mustard