TableTalk is CityBeat’s newest dining column about all the nitty-gritty details that make a perfect meal, especially in Queen City.
Whether you tend to your own garden or love to shop at the local farmers market, summer is the best time of the year for fresh produce. If you want to extend the life of some of your favorite fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of ways to keep the essence of summer at the table during each season—as long as you follow a few safety rules while understanding the basics. health guidelines. Nobody likes moldy peppers, but who can say no to a tangy and delicious hot sauce made according to your area code?
Known as Nate Natemaker, the pioneering agricultural entrepreneur behind Farmer Nate’s Sauce Co. A thing or two about food preservation—especially canning hot sauce. He debuted his first line of three different hot sauces in December 2020 to wide acclaim: Curry Jalapeno, Kentucky Tang and Smokehouse Habanero. Flavors range from sweet and earthy to a nice kick of spice, while all three are suitable for any fiery flavor dog. His products can be found on shelves throughout Cincinnati and northern Kentucky—even a California retailer—which means that Nonimaker has seriously educated himself on the legally required health and safety protocols for professional food sales in order to set up his company. speak with city house About the way he makes his famous hot sauces is on a much larger scale than the average home cook, but the same principles apply in your kitchen. Like most growers, regardless of the size of their plot, the process begins in the garden.
Nate Nomaker– Start with pepper. I’ll pick the peppers and everything else. I wash the peppers first and put them in a blender and it made it that texture really chunky. I’ll add water and vinegar and mix it all together. It won’t mix well yet, it won’t be too saucy, and it will still have some bits of bits in it. I’ll throw it into a saucepan, start to heat it up, take it up to 200-210 degrees. As the temperature rises, I put in my spices, herbs, and stuff.
city houseIs there a specific salt balance by weight to make it safe?
NN: Yes, usually 3%. Then, once I get all of my ingredients in the bowl, I use an immersion blender, it’s basically like a good mixer. This, with all the water and vinegar, will reduce its texture to a saucy consistency. Next, as a binder, I use xanthan gum, which is gluten-free, has no preservatives, it basically brings everything together.
CB: xanthan gum, does that change its texture, and make it saucy?
NN: Yes, it ties it all together. I use it for two reasons: so there are no big chunks, and then, too, if you don’t use xanthan gum, what will happen to your sauce, when you sit for a few days, everything will settle to the bottom. It’s not bad, it’s still totally fine to use, you just need to get rid of it first. For a while I wasn’t using xanthan gum, so I noticed there was some separation – at the top of the bottle was all the water and vinegar and at the bottom was all the fish, peppercorn and all my spices and stuff and that, to me, isn’t really attractive, but it’s a natural occurrence . Completely safe to use and still good as long as you just shake it.
CB: Does xanthan gum have a specific flavor?
NN: It doesn’t change the flavor, it just brings everything together and changes the texture. You can buy it from Kroger in the baking aisle because xanthan gum is used a lot in baking too. It’s really easy to put in a lot and make it really thick, almost thicker than ketchup, I’d say it’s really easy to overdo it, so you only need a little.
CBDo you have a hot sauce recipe that you recommend for the first time?
NN: I would say just playing with it, it depends on what the person wants.
CB: Now that we’ve made this sauce, how do we preserve it?
NN: Canning is huge, it’s how people have been doing it for a very long time. Especially if it will take a while before you reach it. Or, if you’re preparing for an emergency that may or may never come, or if you just have a huge garden and a huge harvest and you want to hold on to that because if you can’t, they’re all for nothing, which kind of sucks.
Basically, you need to get the right brine, usually just vinegar to get the pH [the acidic balance] to the level you want. You need to use something like a ball that has lids that pop and pop out. Put it in a ball bowl, figure out the brine of your mixture there and then what you want to do. It is called a hot bath or a boiling bath. You take a pot of water, fill it about halfway, and it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. What that does is suction that lid to close, creating a vacuum. Leave it on about 10 minutes or less, it depends on what you’re doing and how much you’re doing it. You will need some tweezers to get them out of the shower.
I’m definitely going to be sitting somewhere in the dark, I won’t be sitting on a windowsill, but you can keep that and you can pull that out later when you want to use it. It really is a great method, in my opinion. That’s what got me to make the hot sauce, I first started canning cucumbers and onions – I love pickled onions. You can find a lot of great recipes for what to put in the jar.
CB: This type of skill allows you to be more self-sufficient in some ways.
NN: Yes, I think so too. I mean, you never know. You don’t have to be like those who are ready for doomsday, but you never know what could happen. With inflation soaring, I mean, I’d suggest everyone start gardening. It’s a good tool. It is good to know how to germinate seeds and how to harvest seeds from what you have. I think it is important to know. I hope it’s never a necessity to use it, but I think it’s fine just in case. Also, you get a lot of great food from it. Usually, when you get a good harvest from the garden, you have so much that you give to friends and family which is always fun. This is always an experience. Therefore, I always believe that gardening is an essential knowledge that everyone should have.
Always check the jars for any cracks, use new lids each time you make a new batch, and don’t eat anything that looks significantly different than when it was canned. Any type of mold usually makes any canned item inedible. For more information on canning food health and safety guidelines and more, visit fda.gov.
Learn more about Farmer Nate’s Sauce Co. And where you can get a few bottles of your own, visit Farmernatessauce.com.
Do you have something to say on the table? Don’t talk with your mouth full of email [email protected].
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