Out of all of the days of the year, today is the one earmarked to spice it up. International Hot and Spicy Food Day, happening today, is the celebration of fiery foods and the spices that make them that way.
“The success of the spicy food craze is based on several key factors. Mainly to make the food more fun. A dash of any of these products will turn a boring food into the vibrant meal,” said Jim Beckett, international foods manager at Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield. “Fiery foods has grown from a cult to a huge foodie trend in the last couple of years. The trend has been driven by cooking shows, talk shows, hot sauce shows and food articles and recipes in the press … . The industry has received an additional boost because of the good press received by the Health Food Industry. Turns out eating peppers is good for you too.”
Jungle Jim’s was good enough to provide us with a special quiz and a recipe just for our readers to make their own hot sauce at home and help mark the day with some knowledge and homemade heat.
Q: How do you know how hot a pepper is?
A: Look at the Scoville units. The higher the number, the hotter the pepper.
Q: How many Scoville units are in a jalapeno — 100; 5,000; 10,000; or 20,000?
Q: What is the hottest hot pepper available right now — red savina habanero pepper, trinidad scorpion pepper or the bhut jolokia pepper?
A: Trinidad scorpion pepper
Q: How many Scoville units are in the hottest pepper available — one million; 1,500,000; or 2,000,000?
A: About 1,500,000 — actually 1,463,700
Q: What is the number of Scoville units in a Chinese hot pepper (the one you get in your Chinese takeout)?
Q: What do you call a hot sauce aficianado — a Hot Head, Fire Head or Chile Head?
Make hot sauce at home
“People travel and experience different spicy foods therefore demand for those foods increase,” said Leigh Barnhart Ochs, director of Jungle Jim’s Cooking School. She provided us with this recipe to make hot sauce at home.
JUNGLE JIM’S COOKING SCHOOL THREE-PEPPER HOT SAUCE
3 habanero peppers
2 serrano peppers
1 large jalapeño pepper
1 8-ounce can sliced peaches, with juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Remove stems from peppers. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
Makes 2 cups