Blueberry Habañero Hot Sauce

by Emily Kemme

If you’re new to canning, keep it simple and stick with fruits. At least, that’s what my friend Kati Brown tells me. Even so, Kati’s Blueberry Habanero Hot Sauce requires a bit of education on canning how-to’s in order to pull off. But there are two things I learned from my first exposure to the process: blueberries are totally cool with being frozen and habañeros get hotter (on the Scoville heat scale) if they don’t get much water while growing. The finished salsa will become hotter too, the longer it sits in your pantry.

Blueberry Habañero Hot Sauce Recipe

Blueberry Habañero Sauce

Iggy Pop the Chinese Crested gets into the canning fun.

For every two 8 ounce, half pint jars, you will need:

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (it’s okay to buy when they’re on sale and freeze until you’re ready to go)

2 medium habañero peppers, tops cut off, half seeded

Note: wear a pair of thin rubber gloves while seeding the peppers and avoid touching your eyes and nose because the pepper juice will burn!

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 T honey

1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Note: the lemon’s acid is important for retaining color and preventing inevitable browning. Limes or powdered citric acid will also do the trick.

1 large, peeled garlic clove

1/8 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.

Note: You can cook the sauce down before blending, but if you blend first and then cook it down you’ll avoid the steam build up that happens when hot liquids are enclosed in a small space. Kati notes, “Sticking an immersion blender into boiling liquid scares me.”

Transfer to large, deep pot. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

Blueberry Habañero Sauce

Canning jam and salsa in a hot water bath canner is relatively simple as long as you follow the steps.

To prepare jelly jars and lids:

Place flat discs from jar lids under hot running water (the kitchen sink is fine if clean) so the rubber seals soften.

Because the jars need to be warm and sterile, place them in the dishwasher, wash and put on heated dry during the canning process. Keep them warm in the dishwasher until just ready to use; if jars become cold they’ll crack while spooning boiling liquid into them or while in the boiling water bath canner.

♥ This method works for canning products with high acidity like fruit jellies and pickles. For low acid canning of corn, green beans, tomatoes or vegetable soup you’ll need a pressure cooker to prevent botulism.

To fill jars, use a canning funnel for its tight fit inside the jar. Leave 1/4 inch head space at the top of the jar so there is some air to suck out. This typically is about the bottom of the threads. Wipe jar clean of any residue. Place flat lid on top and tighten ring to finger tightness. You’ll know if there is too much airspace because the jar won’t seal. Too little air will cause fluid to leak out during canning and the jar won’t seal.

Place jars on rack and lower into water bath and process for 10 minutes. The water bath will seal the jars; as you remove them from the canner and the jars come to room temperature, you’ll hear a “pop.”

Blueberry Habañero Sauce

Remove jars from water bath and wait for that pop of success!

Yields 2 half pint jars or 2 cups.

Blueberry Habañero Sauce is a perfect accompaniment for pulled pork tacos, grilled lamb or beef. Thicken with pectin and use as a dipping sauce.

Note: May be increased proportionately per batch to the number of jars you’d like to fill.

Many thanks to Kati Brown and Iggy Pop for a fun, instructive morning on canning!

Wine educator Stephanie Davis didn’t blink twice when I sent her a recipe for canning. In fact, she said, “Canning and cocktails could be the new trend.” Seriously.

First, find your shaker, the jar of apricot preserves in the back of the fridge and mix up some mayhem! Stephanie calls the drink the Shot Gun because with one sip, you’ll be ready to conquer the universe! Shazaam!

What you’ll need:

– 2 oz. of your favorite bourbon

– 1 tsp apricot preserves (peach would also work well)

– 1/4 oz maple syrup

– 2 shakes orange bitters

Add ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake-shake-shake. Shake a little more. Pour over ice and garnish with an orange wedge.

Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.

Interested in reading Emily’s new award-winning novel, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.

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