Each summer I grow a lot of cucumbers to make all kinds of pickles. Of course, several of the pickle recipes I developed can be found on this site. Mostly though I just throw different herbs and things in that are available from my garden at the time I pick the cukes.
I try to make sure to grow enough cucumbers to last through the winter and early spring. This year I also had the good fortune of having plenty extra to do things like make my favorite pickle soup recipe and – getting to today’s topic: garlic dill pickle hot sauce.
This recipe combines already fermented garlic dill pickles and fermented green hot peppers. I used a blend of green jalapenos and habaneros but the exact choice is up to you. Just bear in mind the addition of pickles and plenty of pickle brine will reduce the overall heat and therefore you might want to start with peppers that you know will still net you a very hot sauce if that’s what you want. Using green serranos would be a good option for people who like hot but not melt-your-soul levels, and they’re fairly easy to source.
Note on processing: My recipe makes use of a juicer or food mill to eventually separate all the liquid from the food solids like skins and seeds. Then, with the use of a food dehydrator, you can transform the pulp and solids into a delicious spicy pickle powder, amazing for Bloody Marys and more. (Process explained below.) This separation creates a thinner, dasher-style sauce (with a consistency like Tabasco). If you can’t or don’t want to do this, you’ll end up with a thicker, relish-like sauce that will best best be stored in jars or squeeze bottles. Still an awesome sauce.
With no further ado, let’s get to the recipe.
This recipe should yield at least 25 oz. (over 5 woozy bottles) of sauce and around 5-6 oz. of spicy pickle powder.
You will need:
- Blender or food processor
- Large saucepan and wooden spoon
- Recommended; juicer or food mill to separate pulp from liquid
- If extracting juice, you will also want to add xanthan gum at processing to prevent separation
- Fine mesh strainer
- Bottling funnel
- Optional; Woozy bottles
- For spicy pickle powder; wax or parchment paper, food dehydrator, and coffee/spice grinder
- For pasteurizing at the end: large saucepan and thermometer
- 1/2 lb. sour garlic dill pickles, about 4-5 pickles (recipe here; to purchase, Bubbie’s at or delivered by Whole Foods is a great option)
- Can add any pieces of garlic, hot pepper slices or other blendable additives from the pickle ferment brine
- 2 cups pickle brine
- 1/2 cup pepper ferment brine
- 1/2 cup white vinegar (or sub with pickle or pepper ferment brine)
- Fresh bunch of dill and/or 1 tsp ground dill weed
- Fermented green peppers (details below)
Green pepper ferment:
- Half gallon jar, ferment weight and airlock lid recommended
- 3 – 3.5 lbs. green peppers (I used 2 lbs. green jalapenos and 1.5 lbs. green habaneros); you don’t need to remove seeds since the juicer or food mill will take care of this later
- 4 cups filtered or distilled water
- 3.5 percent brine or 2.5 TBSP additive-free salt
Ferment at room temperature for at least a month. Include all the peppers in the recipe.
1.) In the blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and blend until everything is a uniform consistency. Based on the volume, you may need to do two separate batches in a blender.
Note: If you do not plan to strain the liquid from the solids in the next step, I recommend blending for at least five more minutes. Then, if you wish to prevent further fermentation and potential pressurization of storage vessels in the fridge, you should bring the sauce to a boil in saucepan, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir a few times. Then place into storage containers and refrigerate after about an hour. This relish-style sauce would be complete with no need to complete the following steps.
2.) Run the blended mix through a juicer or food mill until all liquid has been extracted. If desired, the solids can be run through the juicer a second time for maximum juice extraction. If using a juicer, you may notice some foam forms at the top of the liquid which is normal; you can spoon it off.
3.) You may also run the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to remove any remaining solids.
4.) To prevent further separation of this liquid in the bottles, return all the juice to the blender (rinse the blender out first) and add 1/8 tsp xanthan gum per cup of sauce. (If you want a thicker sauce, you may go as high as 1/4 tsp per cup.) Blending on medium for 20-30 seconds will be sufficient. If you don’t wish to add xanthan gum, you can simply shake the bottle before using.
5.) If using sauce bottles, make sure they and the caps are sanitized (using something like One Step) or are boiled before filling with sauce. Using the bottling funnel, fill sauce bottles with the sauce to within 1/2″ from the top and seal tightly.
6.) Pasteurizing: Place the bottles on their sides in the large saucepan (to prevent tipping over and breaking). You can also first place a kitchen towel in the saucepan for the bottles to rest on, if desired. Fill with water until the bottles are covered with water at least 1″ above the highest bottle. On high heat, bring the temperature to 180 and then hold for four minutes. Remove the bottles, and allow them to cool upside down for 3 minutes. They can then be stored unopened at room temperature for several months, although I advise cold storage for maximum shelf life.
Making the pickle powder:
Collect all the pulp and spread it evenly on sheets of wax or parchment paper that are sized to fit your dehydrator. It should be thick enough that you can’t see the wax paper underneath. Set dehydrator at 125F and allow to dehydrate around 24 hours (may vary depending on your model). The perfect time to stop will be when the pulp appears completely dry and is just beginning to show signs of browning. Then transfer to the spice grinder in batches. (You’re advised to do it outdoors and/or wear some type of light pollen-preventing mask.) Grind until desired consistency. Store in an airtight container.