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Make Your Own BBQ Spice Rub (using spices from your Artisan BBQ Sauce Kit!)

Make Your Own BBQ Spice Rub (using spices from your Artisan BBQ Sauce Kit!)

Spice Rub Recipe

Now that you have mastered the art of homemade BBQ sauce using Grow and Make’s Artisan BBQ Sauce Kit, it is time to make the perfect spice rub! This rub uses many of the BBQ sauce ingredients that you have become familiar with from your kit, along with common household staples.

This dry rub can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container so its ready right when you need it. Try pairing it with your homemade BBQ sauce to make the ultimate barbecue gift for the Pitmaster in your life.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne powder (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoon New Mexico Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper


Measure the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Rub over raw meat and let set in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before grilling, for best flavor. Use to season your favorite proteins or vegetables! This rub works well on sliced eggplant, potatoes, and chicken.

If you want to make learn how to make your own homemade BBQ sauce, check out our Artisan BBQ Sauce Making Kit!

Ultimate DIY Fermentation FAQ

Ultimate DIY Fermentation FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Fermentation for the DIY enthusiast.

Our questions include dill pickles, hot peppers, kimchi, perserved lemons, salsa, sauerkraut, scrap vinegar, tomatoes and watermelon pickle rinds.

Q: What is the difference between Pickling and Fermentation?

A: No, they are two different processes. Fermentation produces a live culture through the fermentation process, while pickling is a stable process of preserving the vegetable in vinegar and salt. Fermented vegetables are submerged in a salt-water brine, allowing the lactic acid bacteria present on the vegetables to naturally produce an acidic and vinegary flavor. The result is a probiotic and live culture.

Q: Is it possible to be poisoned by fermenting?

A: Just like with any cooking, you need to use sanitary practices. Wash your hands, vegetables and sterilize the containers which you are going to store and ferment in. If you see anything that looks wrong with you fermentation (mold, black/brown, rotten looking) then toss it out. It’s not worth the risk

Q: Do I need to be concerned about keeping the fermentation in a warm room or in a warmed container?

A: No, but if your fermentation is taking place in a cold place it will be a much slower process or the fermentation process may not happen at all. Normal room temperature (68 F) should be adequate for the process.

Q: What equipment do I need to get started?

A: You really need nothing more than a knife a bowl and a jar with a lid. There is a range of equipment intended for helping with fermenting, but none of it is really necessary.

Q: Do I have to use glass to ferment?

A: Don’t use metal or plastic for your process. Glass is really the best because the fermentation will not react or interact in a way that leaches.

Q: What kind of water should I use, when it is in a recipe?

A: If you have decent tap water, just use that. Nothing special required.

Q: Do I need special salt?

A: No, just table salt.

Q: Will the vegetables produce liquid as they ferment?

A: Yes, depending on what you’re fermenting you should see liquid accumulate from the process. Be sure to submerge everything in vinegar at the start of the process, despite the process producing natural liquid.

Q: How do I know that fermentation is taking place?

A: After a couple days you will see the process initiating. You should see the release of enzymes and culture generating, which will be visible.

Q: When will the fermentation be done?

A: It’s really a matter of personal taste and preference. Tasting your fermentation will give you a feel for the progress and when it seems done. When done to your satisfaction just refrigerate and the process will stop.

DIY Mustard Making FAQ: What you need to know and recipes

DIY Mustard Making FAQ: What you need to know and recipes

How to Make Mustard at Home with Great Recipes


Please read our disclaimer at the end of this article*

The history of mustard

Records of mustard seeds being used go back 5000 years across the globe. It was in ancient Rome that mustard was first seen to be used as a condiment by crushing the seeds and adding grape juice.

In the 9th century the French monasteries were producing mustard for broad consumption. In the French town of Dijon, during the 18th century Grey and Poupon collaborated to make a company dedicated to mustard production, which is with us today.

Benjamin Franklin brought mustards to America and now it is a part of our popular culture.

Frequently Asked Questions about Making Mustard

Q: What ingredients do I need to make mustard?

What you should have on hand

• brown mustard seed

• yellow mustard powder

• apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar

• freeze dried raspberries

• garlic powder, onion powder, salt, sugar and honey

• three 8 oz mason jars

• labels

• dried chipotle pepper

• turmeric, paprika, and allspice powder

• distilled white vinegar

• three additional 8 oz mason jars


• You will need a blender, food processor or vitamix to make your

• All utensils, mixing bowls and saucepans should be glass,

• All equipment should be as clean as possible to avoid any ‘off’

• Your mustard will need to age for at least 10 days for the flavors

• You mustard will keep for 6 months in the refrigerator.

Scroll down for recipes.


Q: Sometimes mustard recipes are too spicy for me! How can I make a more mellow, mild mustard?

A: Use boiling water rather than cold and heat the whole mixture until it reaches your desired level of spiciness. The hotter the water, the milder the mustard.


Q: How many kinds of mustard seed are there?

A: There are 3 types of mustard seed. Yellow Mustard Seeds (sometimes called White Mustard Seeds) is the most commonly used. They are slightly larger than other mustard seed. This is the most popular in Western countries.

Brown Mustard Seed has a more pungent and aromatic character. With age it becomes more pungent. More popular in the East and Africa.

Black Mustard Seeds are in the horseradish family and have the strongest amount of heat. Used for making an intense mustard (similar to wasabi). Popular in Indian cooking. 


Q: Do I need to cook mustard?

A: You don’t have to cook mustard, but it can help to round out the flavor and take the bite out of your mustard.


Q: How can I get my mustard to be the yellow I see in store bought brands?

A: Using turmeric.  Using turmeric you can achieve a deep yellow, assuming you are using a yellow mustard seed as well.


Q: What type of wine should I use to make Dijon mustard?
A: Typically you would use a French white wine from the Burgundy region, like Chablis or Bourgogne blanc. You can also use a Chardonnay. 
Q: What causes mustard to be thick or thin?
A: The amount of liquid is a key factor, but also the amount of time you cook and rest your mustard. Cooking will reduce the amount of liquid, but improve the smoothness.
Q: How can I modify my mustard so it is not as hot?
A: Use wine, vinegar, sugar and water to cut down on heat. Also, cooking will reduce the amount of heat.
Q: Is it best to use dry or moist seeds for making mustard?
A: Commercial mustard is typically dried for the purpose of distribution and longevity. You can reconstitute dry mustard by soaking it in water overnight. This can be a good idea if you have seeds and don’t have a good way to ground them to a powder.
Q: How can I make my mustard less sweet?
A: Just add more of the original ingredients (mustard powder, vinegar, water, …) until you achieve the flavor you desire.
Q: What is the advantage or disadvantage of using whole grain mustard?
A: It’s simply a matter of preference. If you are seeking to make a more grainy texture then using the semi-ground form of mustard is the way. Also, most people tend to use a brown mustard for this or a combination of yellow and brown seed.
Q: How is mustard grown (cultivated)?
A: There are more than 40 varieties of mustard plants, which are annuals and have seedlings. Culinary mustard comes from only three of these varieties. Mustard is from the same family as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts and is grown in temperate climates.
Q: When was mustard invented?
A: It is believe that Romans invented mustard by combining grape juice with mustard seed into a preparation to make what was called ‘burning must’ or in Latin ‘mustum ardens’ or mustard. 
Q: Should I make mustard from seeds or powder?
A: It’s really a question of personal preference and time and effort. If you have fresh seed and want to attempt a high quality mustard, then you are better off. If you are just experimenting or making a simple yellow mustard, then the powder is great.
Q: How long will home made mustard last?
A: If it has salt and vinegar it can store for six months without refrigeration, assuming you sterilized everything and have no ingredients requiring refrigeration.
Q: What are uses for mustard?

Salad Dressings, especially a vinaigrette

Egg or chicken salad

A glaze for a roast or BBQ

Popular as a dipping sauce

Great with a charcuterie board

Sandwiches of course

Brats or sausages must have a good dipping mustard

Deviled eggs


Q: What makes mustard ‘shelf stable’, so that it does not require refrigeration?

A: Don’t use ingredients which require refrigeration (eggs, fruits, etc.)


Q: How can I make a mustard that is not bitter?

A: Try using a champagne vinegar, adding sugar and/or cooking your mustard.


Q: What is the best way to preserve mustard?

A: Using vinegar and salt and nothing that will spoil. Also, keeping it in a sterilized mason jar with a sealed lid.


Q: Should I can my mustard in jars or put it in bottles?

A: Really a matter of both personal preference, but also how liquid is your mustard and how do you intend to use it? Squeeze bottles are popular for using as a sauce, while if you are scooping out a tablespoon for salad dressing or to accompany your board, then a mason jar is great.


Q: What types of additions should I consider for my mustard (herbs, spices, etc.)?

A:There are so many options here. Here is what our Deluxe Mustard Making Kit includes:

  • Freeze-dried raspberries
  • Honey
  • White wine vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Turmeric
  • Chipotle pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Allspice

Q: Should I be using fresh mustard powder?

A: Your mustard powder can lose some of its flavor and heat over time. The fresher your mustard (including stored in dark and cool place) the better the results you will achieve.


Q: Should I grind my own mustard seed?

A: While it’s not necessary, you will get the spiciest mustard this way. The oils are where the heat comes from and the fresher the grind the hotter the mustard.


Q: What kind of vinegars are best for making mustard?

A: You can use a champagne vinegar, apple cider, distilled white. It’s good to experiment. Also, remember that some people use beer or wine as well.


Q: What do I need to know about making a beer mustard?

A: This is as simple as it sounds. Just add some beer to your mustard to taste. This is an area for experimentation. Some people like a hint of beer flavor, while others like a pronounced taste. If you have a beer you really like, we suggest using that beer in a trial.


Q: How do I make a Chinese or Asian style mustard?

A: Asian mustard is the easiest to make. It’s simply mustard powder and some water in a paste. 


Q: Do I need to refrigerate my mustard?

A: Only if your mustard contains ingredients which are not shelf stable (eggs, berries, etc.). 


Q: What is a brown mustard?

A: Brown mustard is both the seed type and the kind of mustard condiment made with the brown seed. 


Q: Which spices are good to use in home made mustards?

A: Turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, allspice


Q: What is the shelf life of mustard seed?

A: The best way to determine if your seeds are past their prime is to crush a small sample and mix with some water to see if they still have flavor.


Q: Are there different types of mustard seed?

A: Yes, there are three kinds of seed. Brown, black, and yellow.


Q: How do I get a smooth mustard?

A: Emulsifying your mustard and cooking it will give you a smooth mustard.


Q: How do I make a whole grain mustard?

A: You can either use whole seed or a combination of whole and crushed seed. Then add the more common ingredients like vinegar, salt, sugar and any other spices you like. You could also add some mustard powder to thicken.


Q: What’s the best way to grind mustard seeds?

A: Coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. In a pinch you could use a hammer on a cutting board.


Q: Should I let my mustard rest for a few days after I make it?

A: Yes, that’s a great idea. It will allow the flavors to distribute and a mellowing to take place, so that there is less heat.


Q: Can I grow my own mustard seed for use in making mustard?

A: You certainly can, but it could be a lot of work to separate the seed and retrieve enough for mustard. You will have to harvest the mustard seeds from the pods after they have matured. 


Q: Is mustard gluten-free?

A: Yes, unless a flour is added to the mustard. Some English mustard powder may have flour added.


Q: What is the difference between dry mustard, ground mustard and mustard flour? 

A: They are the same thing with different levels of coarseness.


Q: Can I make mustard without vinegar?

A: Yes, you can use wine, beer, or juice to emulsify.


Q: Is there a difference between wild mustard seed and commercially grown?
A: Just that the commercial seed has been dried.


Q: Is there a pH level that should be aimed for in my mustard?

A: A pH of 4.0 is ideal


Q: Should I sterilize my canning bottles and anything used for making my mustard?

A: Yes, sterilizing will prevent the risk of contaminants making anyone sick.


Q: Is it a good idea to age my mustard?

A: Yes, it can have a mellowing effect which can make the mustard less hot and more flavorful. Be sure to take care to not include perishable ingredients and to store in a cool and dry place.


Q: Will fresh ground mustard seeds make a hotter mustard than powdered mustard?

A: Yes, the fresh ground have the oils which contribute to the heat.

A: English mustard does not contain vinegar, which is a mellowing agent.
Q: What is German Mustard?
A: Typically this is a brown and yellow mustard seed combination. Sometimes horseradish is added. It’s great with sausages.
Q: What is Creole Mustard?
A: This is a mustard associated with the south and particularly New Orleans. It uses Worcestershire sauce to create its unique tang.


YIELD: Each recipe makes one 8 oz jar

Raspberry Mustard


• 1/4 cup brown mustard seed

• 1/2 cup yellow mustard powder

• 1 cup freeze dried raspberries

• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

• 2 tsp salt

• 2 tsp sugar

• 1/2 tsp garlic powder

• 1 tbsp onion powder

Soak raspberries in a small bowl with enough warm water to cover them.

Place the rest of the ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until the desired consistency is reached. Once the raspberries are soft, drain the excess water from the bowl. Mix in your blended mustard in with the raspberries. Fill your jar with mustard and store in refrigerator.

Honey Mustard


• 1/4 cup brown mustard seed • 1/2 cup yellow mustard powder • 1/4 cup water • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar • 2 tbsp honey

• 1 tsp salt

• 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Place all of the of the ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until the desired consistency is reached. Fill your jar with mustard and store in refrigerator.

Wine Mustard


• 1/4 cup brown mustard seed

• 1/2 cup yellow mustard powder

• 3 tbsp white wine vinegar

• 1/2 cup white wine (water may be used instead)

• 2 tsp salt

• 2 tbsp honey

• (optional) 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs of your choice

Place all of the ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until the desired consistency is reached. Fill your jar with mustard and store in


Fiery Hot Chipotle Mustard


• 1/4 cup brown mustard seed

• 1/2 cup yellow mustard powder

• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

• 2 tsp salt

• 1 dried chipotle pepper

• 1 tsp garlic powder

• 1 tsp onion powder

Place all of the ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until the desired consistency is reached.. Fill your jar with mustard and store in refrigerator.

Sweet & Spicy Beer Mustard


• 1/4 cup brown mustard seed

• 1/2 cup yellow mustard powder

• 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

• 1/4 beer, any style

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 2 tbsp honey

• 1/2 tsp garlic powder

• 1/8 tsp allspice

Place all of the ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until the desired consistency is reached. Fill your jar with mustard and store in refrigerator.

Classic Yellow Mustard


• 1/4 cup yellow mustard powder • 1/2 cup water • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar • 2 tsp flour • 1/2 tsp turmeric • 1/2 tsp garlic powder • 1/2 tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it is smooth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into your jar and place in the refrigerator to cool and thicken completely

*Disclaimer Grow and Make LLC assumes no responsibility for the use of instructions provided. These are suggestions and the information provided  is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHALL WE HAVE ANY LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF THE SITE OR RELIANCE ON ANY INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THE SITE. YOUR USE OF THE SITE AND YOUR RELIANCE ON ANY INFORMATION ON THE SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Guide to Growing Tea Herbs

Guide to Growing Tea Herbs

Grow Herbs for Teas at Home with our DIY Guide



If you are excited about the idea of growing herbs for tea, this article can help you to get started with recommended herbs and how to grow them. Follow the directions below to start your seeds. Keep your seeds in their sealed packet in a cool, dry place until ready to sow. 

To harvest your herbal teas

To harvest and store your herbs, there a a few simple rules to keep in mind. Harvest early in the day, after the dew has dried, but while the herbs are still lush in the cool of the morning. Most herbs are at their peak just before they bloom. Use fresh, or air dry carefully out of the direct sun, in the oven, or even in the microwave. 

And now to the herbs!

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

This beautiful perennial is a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects and would be welcome in any garden for its showy flowers and fragrant foliage. But many grow it for its medicinal and herbal properties. The leaves have a strong scent of licorice with a touch of mint, hence its nickname “licorice mint.” Leaves and flowers can be used fresh or dried for salads, teas and garnishes.

Anise hyssop grows up to four feet tall and produces blue spikes of compound florets. The seeds are easy to germinate and grow with full sun and average water. It self seeds readily and often blooms the first year. New seedlings are hardy and transplant easily. Plant the tiny seeds on soil surface, pat down gently and water well. Optimum germination temperature is 60-70 F. with germination in 10-40 days.

Tea Herb Culinary Kit Card Closeup

Dragonshead (Dracocephalum moldavica)

When you look closely at the blue flowers of dragonshead, you’ll see where it got its name. Sometimes also called Melissa, Moldavian Balm, or Moldavian Dragon’s Head, this lovely little annual is easy to grow and both the flowers and leaves have a delightful lemon scent. The leaves can be used fresh or dried to make a lemony flavored tea. The dried leaves are stronger in flavor than lemon balm and the foliage holds its scent well when dried. Best of all, bees love this plant, and it will attract lots of beneficial pollinators to your garden.

Blooming in summer, the bright blue-violet flowers are held in upright terminal clusters above the dark green thin foliage. It grows about 2 feet tall, with a spread of about a foot. It will tolerate semi-shade, but is happiest in full sun and moist soil, although it is more drought tolerant as it grows. Start seeds indoors to plant out after all danger of frost. Plant seeds ¼” deep, germination temperatures can range from 50-75° F, and germination should be from 7-14 days.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Although chamomile is an annual, this sturdy little plant will reseed readily if planted in the right location, and reward you with a bouquet of uses: aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal. Among other uses, the leaves and golden dried flowers are used for tea to calm frayed nerves (or even your restless child), to treat various stomach problems, and to relieve muscle spasms. Dried leaves and flowers are used to scent potpourris. Chamomile also is used for soothing baths and skin lotions, and a chamomile rinse adds golden highlights to blonde hair.

Chamomile seeds are tiny! When you are ready to plant, carefully shake the seed packet contents onto a piece of dry white paper, and use a slightly moistened toothpick to pick up the seeds. Plant into prepared medium, gently pressing into the surface, do not cover. Germination is 4-8 days at 55-70° F. When the plants are big enough to handle, transplant into your garden or container 6 inches apart. Prefers light, dry soil. Keep plants moist until established.

Horehound (Marrubium Vulgare)

You can grow horehound and use it in your own soothing teas, or if you are adventurous, in your own homemade candy. Candy made from the herb horehound was often given as a cough drop to sooth deep chest coughs. Horehound can be started from seed and harvested the first year. This woody perennial grows 8-24″ tall and has hairy stems covered with downy, gray-green leaves. The leaves have a wooly crinkled appearance. The small, off-white flowers are born in summer and are said to attract beneficial insects to the garden. As an added bonus, it’s a great companion plant for tomatoes and peppers.

Start your seeds indoors 12 weeks before transplanting. Sow the seeds ¼” deep with soil temperature 70-85° F. Keep the seed moist until germination. When two leaves have formed on the seedlings, they are ready to transplant into the garden in a sunny location. Do not over water horehound, it likes to dry out between waterings. Grow horehound in any well-drained, soil in full sun.

Keep cutting back for new growth and extended harvests. The leaves and flowers lose their flavor quickly, so snip them into smaller pieces to dry on screens. When dry, crumble and store in jars.

Lemon Balm  (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm is one of the most prized summer herbs for teas. A perennial lemon-scented member of the mint family, it’s a great candidate for a container. Fresh sprigs are beautiful to top drinks and as garnishes on salads and main dishes.  The dried leaves scent potpourris. Lemon balm is used in a facial steam to clean the skin. It also is used in teas, beers, and wine and with fish, mushrooms, and soft cheeses. Fresh leaves are used in salads, marinades for vegetables, chicken salad, and poultry stuffings.

Lemon balm is easily grown from seed; germination is best when seed is uncovered. Start earliest seed 6-8 weeks before the date of last frost. You may also sow the seed directly outside in the spring or fall. Germination time is widely variable,  between 10-40 days at 60-70° F. Make sure the planting medium does not dry out while the seeds are germinating, and be patient if needed. Enjoys well-drained soil in full sunlight. Leaf growth may be slow the first year, and more vigorous thereafter.

Harvest before the plant flowers, for optimum fragrance. Cut the entire plant about 2 inches above ground. Dry quickly to prevent the leaves from turning black. Lemon balm should be dried within 2 days at temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees F. Place on a wire rack to dry. Store in an airtight container.

DIY Hot Sauce FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

DIY Hot Sauce FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Answers to DIY Hot Sauce Questions


So you either bought one of our DIY Hot Sauce Kits or you are inspired and going to make hot sauce at home with your own ingredients. Now you want to have some of your questions answered. Hopefully our Hot Sauce FAQ will help. Be sure to check out our DIY Hot Sauce Video, which shows the entire process for making the hot sauce.

Q: What kind of shelf life can I expect for my hot sauce?

A: Homemade hot sauce will have a shelf life of about 90 days in refrigeration assuming you have taken the right precautions. First and foremost you must sterilize everything you use to make and bottle your hot sauce. While vinegar and sugar are good preservatives, the fact that there are peppers and other vegetables in your sauce, limits the amount of safe shelf life. Don’t place any kinds of oil in your sauce, since it can introduce botulinum. Thoroughly wash any fruit, vegetable or herbs you put into your sauce. If you have a tight seal and boil your sauce for at least 20 minutes, you can safely store the sauce on the shelf (in shaded and cool location) for 6 months.  A rule of thumb is that a hot sauce recipe with at 20% vinegar will have a pH at a safe level for preserving. We suggest that your sauce be refrigerated until you intend to use if it has less than 20% vinegar. The smell and taste should be clear indicators if your sauce is or is not ready for prime time.

Q: Should I add veggies to my hot sauce?

A: We believe that adding fresh ingredients is the key to an excellent sauce, but is not required if you are going for a simple sauce. Adding fresh cilantro, onions and tomatoes can really make for a delicious blend. Also, to make regional favorites you’ll want to consider adding the fruit and vegetables popular for that region (Brazilian, Jamaican, Cajun). Be sure to wash your fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits thoroughly before using.

Q: Anything that could create risky or poisonous results?

A:You must sterilize your bottles and anything that your sauce touches to minimize the risk of any contamination. You can include fresh ingredients (herbs, vegetables, fruit) but blend them into your sauce without cooking them first. It is critical that you pasteurize the sauce by boiling before bottling if you want your sauce to last for a length of time.  Boil blended sauce (120°C/248 °F) for 2 minutes while stirring (to prevent scorching on the bottom), and let rest for 20 min before bottling. If your sauce smells off or builds up a lot of pressure in the bottle, then toss it out. We recommend 20-30% vinegar or lemon/ lime juice.

Another risk or concern is working with your sauce after cooking. The cooked and hot sauce should be handled carefully. If you are going to blend the sauce, be sure to be aware that the steam can create pressure in a blender, so make sure that there is ventilation.

Q: What is the key to a great hot sauce?

A: Quality ingredients (spices, vinegar, fresh vegetables, peppers), proportions and experimentation. We have found that our recipes for our DIY Hot Sauce Kits receive universal praise for producing great results, because we use quality ingredients and have exacting proportions. However, we also highly encourage experimenting and making a sauce which has your own signature. You will find that through experimenting you can end up with a flavor that is something distinctive and through refinement that will win prizes. Like art, great hot sauce is often in the taste buds of the receiver.

Q: Is there a recommended pH for my hot sauce

A: A pH of around 3.4 will create an ideal acidic solution that will prevent bacteria growth. You can either use limes or lemons, vinegar or you can ferment the hot sauce.

Q: What kind of health risks or hazards could happen with home made sauce? 

A: If you don’t properly bottle and store your sauces you could end up with salmonella, e-coli or botulism poisoning.  These could come from any of the fresh ingredients if you have not properly cleaned your produce or followed the proper cooking and bottling instructions.

Q: How should I sterilize hot sauce bottles and utensils? 

A: Before you start making your hot sauce, sterilize bottles, lids, funnels, and any utensils you’ll be using during the hot sauce making process. If you have one of our hot sauce kits, you can dissolve a half tablespoon of the sanitizing powder in a half gallon of warm water and leave bottles and other items in the solution for two minutes before air drying. If you don’t have sanitizing powder, you can sterilize items by boiling them for three minutes and letting them air dry.

Q: Which peppers correspond to which level of heat in my sauce?

A: In this heat index we only include peppers which we think make sense for your hot sauce makings

Poblano / Ancho  = Mild

Pasilla = Mild

Guajillo = Warm

Jalapeno = Hot

Chipotle = Hot

Serrano =  Hot

Arbol = Hot

Manzano = Hot

Tabasco = Very Hot

Cayenne = Very Hot

Habanero = Very Hot

Anything hotter is probably not going to be good for hot sauce.

Q: What is the Scoville scale?

A: Invented in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville, the Scoville scale measures the heat levels of peppers. Our kits come with chipotle, arbol, and guajillo peppers.

Scoville scale - hot pepper heat level

Q: What is a good hot sauce for beginners to start out with?

A: Here is our basic recipe from our DIY Hot Sauce Making Kit

Sterilize anything coming into contact with your sauce (bottles, caps, blender, spoons).

• Remove stems from dried peppers (arbol for hot and guajillo for mild). Use  gloves to protect your hands and do not touch your eyes. Grind the peppers in a blender or food processor (seeds are ok). GUAJILLO PEPPER is a variety of chili pepper with only a small amount of heat and an earthy, mild fruity flavor. ARBOL PEPPER has a lot of heat and would be used for extra-hot sauces. CHIPOTLE PEPPER is medium heat pepper which adds a rich, smoky flavor to the sauces. Add about 1⁄2 – 1 cup of boiling water and continue to blend. Let rest for a few minutes to absorb the hot water.

• Add a combination of fresh or canned tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro and/or puréed carrot and blend. Typically you’ll want to use 2-3 tbs of diced onion, 1 tsp of garlic per bottle and 1-2 tbs of tomato sauce. Add to the mix and blend in the food processor. Be sure to thoroughly wash any fresh ingredients (vegetables, herbs, fruits) prior to adding.

• Before adding the other spices, it is best to taste them to get a sense of the flavor and amount of heat each provides. Add the spices a small bit at a time, tasting as you go. Adjust ingredient ratios to suit your preference. To make a hotter sauce, add more pepper. Create a sweeter heat by adding more brown sugar. Add salt to taste.

• Adding some acidity with vinegar, lemon, or lime helps to preserve the sauce and bring the ingredients together and enhances the flavor. We recommend 20-30% vinegar or lemon/lime juice.

• Bring sauce to a boil (120°C/248 °F) and then let rest for 20 minutes before bottling. Use a funnel to pour into glass bottles, cap and let rest for 12 hours. Age 2 weeks. Refrigerate your sauces.

Q: What typically will lead to my hot sauce going bad?

A: Your hot sauce should be refrigerated. When making your hot sauce be sure to bring it to a boil before bottling. Using lemon, lime and/or vinegar will work as a natural preservative. The most common problem is not sterilizing your bottles or anything that comes in contact with sauce and/or not thoroughly washing your ingredients.

Q: Are there any concerns about allergies or reactions to the peppers if I’m making hot sauce to sell or give to friends?

A: Yes, some people have severe allergies to peppers. However, most people who have this allergy are aware of it and would avoid hot sauce.

Q: Is hot sauce gluten-free?

A: Most hot sauce is gluten-free. You would have to intentionally add an ingredient with gluten to create a hot sauce that was not.

Q: Should I keep the seeds from the peppers in my sauce:

A: This is not necessary, but won’t hurt anything.

Q: Can I sell my homemade hot sauce at a fruit stand, farmer’s market or a local store?

A:  You’ll need to contact your local health authority and follow their guidelines for any kind of licensing, health permits, insurance or other requirements for commercial sauce resale.

Q: What should I know about pH levels?

A: pH is the level of acidity and/or alkalinity in a substance. The lower the pH the more acidic and the higher the more alkaline. A neutral pH is 7.0. Anything below 7.0 is acidic and above is alkaline. The target pH for a shelf stable product is 4.6 pH. You will be wanting to balance your ingredients to achieve this pH.

Q: How can I make a hot sauce less spicy?

A: If you’re trying to make a hot sauce milder, try adding more vinegar to the mixture. Lime juice is also an ideal way to neutralize the capsaicin from the peppers. If you’ve added acids like vinegar and citrus juice already, try a little olive oil to further dilute the hot sauce.

Q: What kind of bottles are best for hot sauce?

A: We include 5 oz glass woozy bottles with our kits and think they work well. There are larger woozy bottles available. There are a few different cap options. One is a standard screw on cap. Another is a flip-top with a shaker hold. The flip-top requires an internal liner dropper be installed inside the cap.

Q: Can I reuse my hot sauce bottles?

A: Yes, as long as you properly clean and sanitize the bottles. Also, be sure to inspect the bottle for any kind of crack or damage. It’s best to replace the cap.

Q: What equipment do I need to make homemade sauces?

A: Use a powerful blender for blending your sauce. You don’t want to use a weaker blender which leaves your sauce chunky. For the cooking of your sauce ideally use an enamel coated pot, which minimizes sticking or scorching. Avoid aluminum and cast-iron or reactive cooking surfaces.

It’s helpful to have a funnel for filling your bottles. A turkey baster can work as well.

A Cuisinart or manual chopper can be helpful for prepping the produce.

We provide gloves in our kits for handling of your peppers. This is a really good idea when making your sauce.

Q: What kind of vinegars are best for hot sauce?

A: It’s really a matter of personal preference. We recommend trying to experiment with different vinegars (apple cider, wine, white wine, red or rice). Remember that using lemon or lime juice is also an option. Rice vinegar has a low pH, so you will need to use extra. Typically you want to use a 10:1 ratio of vegetables/peppers to vinegar.

Q: How long will I need to cook my sauce?

A: We recommend that you cook your sauce for at least 10 minutes at a boil (simmering boil is fine). Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir regularly.

Q: Can I bottle my sauce in a mason jar?

A: Yes, as long as you apply the same approaches to sanitizing and sterilization.

We are constantly adding new FAQs as they come in from customers. Let us know if you have a question we can answer! Email [email protected]

Be sure to watch our Hot Sauce Making Video