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How to Seal Hot Sauce Bottle  RSS feed

 
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I am making 5oz and 10oz hot sauce to sell, and I need to know how to seal the bottles and keep the air out. I was told that I need woozy bottles with the metal cap to be able to seal them, but I want to know what the process is to seal them and will that keep the air out. Thanks
 
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Sounds like a great project.

Laws for selling food varry drastically depending on where in the world you are. It would be difficult to give advice without knowing where you are. Best bet would be to check with your local law makers to discover what they require in the way of container and processing method. We can tell you what we know and do, however; it's not necessarily in agreence with your local authority.

Another factor to consider is how the sauce is made and if it's pasteurized. If you are making fermented hot sauce and selling it live ( not heat treated) then it would need different packaging then cooked sauce.

Can you tell us a bit more about your project?
 
Edwin Rivera
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I live in IL and the sauce has vinegar, habanero peppers and salt as some of the key ingredients.
 
raven ranson
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Is it cooked or live culture ( fermented)?

PS. Sounds delicious!
 
Edwin Rivera
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Cooked
 
raven ranson
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I think it will need to be heat or pressure treated to seal the caps. This is beyond my skill set. I'm confident someone here knows the answer.

If it was just for home use, I would probably take a similar recipie and guess at it, but selling adds a whole different element of safety concerns.
 
Edwin Rivera
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I think I can follow the canning process with the woozy bottles, but I am not sure if it works or how to do it which is why I am asking for help. . Thanks for your input
 
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I think the actual technique is going to depend on exactly what kind of bottle you are using. Different bottles have different instructions for sealing. I've seen some that use heat/vacuum from a boiling water bath just like regular canning jars. Another option would be to use something like beer bottles and a capper. Not sure if that would work well or be safe for hot sauce but you can see the difference in method.

I looked up the Woozy bottles and it looks like you seal them with shrink wrap. Wether or not you need to process them the way you do jams and jellies before sealing isn't really clear.
 
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I make my own sauces too.
Last year I tried canning the sauce in 5 oz woozies.
Because of the pot I had at the time, I was unable to totally immerse the filled bottles, but had the liquid almost to the top.
Not knowing better, I sanitized the caps separately, planning to put them on as soon as the sauce filled bottles had boiled adequately.
My little experiment was a dismal failure!
About half of sauce erupted out of the bottles, and was lost, as well as making a mess of the bottles, requiring me to clean the tops before capping.
I think it's the shape, but I'm not entirely sure.
Anyway...it was for my own use, and the PH was low enough, and it was kept in the refrigerator anyway, and I didn't die.

I've done a good bit of research since, and have a fresh batch of sauce ready to go.
I'll be boiling the bottles, sanitizing the plastic caps in a bleach solution, and rinsing with boiled water, and hot filling the bottles, capping, and turning the bottles upside down to cool.
This is supposed to help with the seal. Or so the internet says...
Not sure the PH yet, I need to test it still, but as much vinegar as I used, I know it's well below what is needed for stability.

Once I get this technique down, I do plan on selling the sauces.
I grow my own peppers, and have several really good recipes I want to try on the public.

Everything I've been able to get from researching says the hot fill meathod is perfectly safe.
 
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Daniel Vandermeir wrote:  I've done a good bit of research since, and have a fresh batch of sauce ready to go.
I'll be boiling the bottles, sanitizing the plastic caps in a bleach solution, and rinsing with boiled water, and hot filling the bottles, capping, and turning the bottles upside down to cool.
This is supposed to help with the seal. Or so the internet says...
Not sure the PH yet, I need to test it still, but as much vinegar as I used, I know it's well below what is needed for stability.

Everything I've been able to get from researching says the hot fill meathod is perfectly safe.



One thing that you didn't mention is that you need to keep the bottles hot while filling them.

I have always used this method for various pickles.  Last year I could not get the jars to seal.  I assume it is my altitude since I am over 3000 ft.  And the ones that did seal have since unsealed while in my cabinet.  I found this out because I started smelling vinegar.
 
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I find that when I ferment my hot sauce for a good 2 - 3 months or more, there isn't much left in the liquid to go bad.  In essence, it's already "spoiled" when it fermented.  Like sour kraut, it's just a hot pepper mash and sea salt.  Nothing more.  The anaerobic fermentation makes it taste amazing and keeps any bad bacteria from breeding inside the mash.

My technique:  pick a big mess of peppers and give them a quick rinse with hose.  I'll pulse them in the food processor to make a rough mash.  Mix in a generous amount of sea salt.  For a gallon of pepper mash, I'll throw in half a handful of salt.  Then put the mash in a big 2 gal. jar let it ferment for about 75 days.  I only fill the jar halfway because it will bubble up and spill out if you don''t leave enough head space.  The Tabasco company ferments their sauce for 2 years in barrels.  I'm not so patient.  Once the mash has stopped actively fermenting (no new bubbles) I'll strain it off and pour the liquid in a sauce pan. If I want to get every last drop, I'll dump the remaining mash into cheese cloth and give it a squeeze to get it all out.  I'll cook the pepper juice for five minutes to stop the fermentation and kill off any remaining bacteria, and then add the vinegar (about a 50/50 ratio), bringing it to a boil as well. 

If you want fresh sauce with the lovely probiotic culture still in it, then don't boil it.  Just keep it in the fridge.  It should keep for a couple of months.  Same with the pepper mash that's left over.  You can use that in cooking as well.

Taste your sauce.  What's it need?  More salt?  More vinegar? 

The bottles are sterilized in a hot water bath by boiling for 10 minutes or so.  I pull them from the water, pour out the excess water that's inside them, and fill the bottles with the hot sauce/vinegar mix using a small stainless steel funnel (sterilized in the hot water bath).  I cap with sterilized caps.

That's it.  The bottles don't go back into a water bath.  The hot sauce doesn't spoil.  As I said above, anything that could ferment already has.  All the sugars in the peppers have been converted to alcohol or gas that bubbles off. 
 
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