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Ian Portman's original-style Tabasco sauce

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Get a large amount of chilli peppers. They need to be a fleshy variety,

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tiny little #Pequins or Bird's Eye chilies don't have enough moisture in

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them but you can add a few to other peppers. I use a 50:50 mix of red

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habanero and Cayennes, about 4lb total weight.

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Rough chop your peppers and remove the stems but not the seeds. Lumps

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about 1cm long or less are ideal.

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Put all the peppers in a bowl, for every pound of peppers add about a

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heaped tablespoon of sea salt ( I do this all by eye - no scales or

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spoons, or gloves ). Mix well.

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Put the salted peppers into a container and put a weight on top. I use a

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sawn off a 2litre pop bottle and a jam jar full of water. By the next

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morning enough brine should have formed to completely cover the peppers.

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Push down any sticking above the surface. Leave it somewhere warmish

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(i.e. the kitchen ), cover it with a cloth if you like but flies won't

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go near it anyway. The only pests I have found are squirrels and parrots

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(although squirrels will only do it once!). If they don't produce enough

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brine either throw in some diced sweet pepper or add just enough water

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to cover the fruits.

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Within 3 days to 1 week, things should be getting funky. The lactic acid

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bacteria will be doing their thing and the brew should start to bubble.

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This will go on for one or two months depending on the sugar content of

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the peppers and the salt content. It's a good idea to skim the foam off

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the top once in a while.

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Wait until it's stopped bubbling.

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Well done you have pickled peppers, they should be crunchy and good to

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eat. If you want sauce, strain the peppers and mush with a mortar and

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pestle, add them back to the brine ( or use a blender ) and throw in

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about 10% of a pale vinegar. Leave it a few weeks to settle before use.

Servings: 1

Yield: