We grew many varieties of peppers this year and my husband made several batches of hot sauce. Here is the process in his words
I've been making hot sauce with my garden peppers this year and it isn't nearly as difficult as it might seem. Here is my process:
1. I collect my peppers in batches and keep them in the fridge until I have enough to make sauce (I don't care if the earlier picks start to get a little pruny, as long as they don't start to rot.
2. Clean all of them by seeding and keeping the seeds.
3. Toss all peppers into a sauce pan and sautee without anything added until they begin to blacken and soften.
4. Pour in white vinegar and season with salt. (At minimum, it should be 1 part vinegar to 2 parts pepper meat.)
5. Puree the mixture with a submersible blender. (You can use a normal blender, but keep a firm hand on the lid because the steam will blow it off.)
6. Continue to simmer, while adding anything else you want. I've added garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, black pepper, green tomatoes, etc. to get the flavor I am going for on a particular batch. Follow your mouth, tasting and letting the peppers speak to you.
7. Put a lid on it and let it simmer for 30 or 45 minutes to finish breaking down.
8. Pour the hot liquid into cleaned mason jars, filling halfway up the neck, then lidding. The hot liquid will sanitize the glass and create a vacuum when it cools. If the air pocket is too big, ad a bit of vinegar to top it off. You can shake it after it cools, to mix.
9. Place the mason jar into a cool/dark location or the fridge and age for 3 months.
10. After 3 months, open the jar (you may have to run under hot water to release the vacuum) and strain the liquid through a fine metal mesh.
11. Discard the pulp left behind (the seeds and skin parts will have already released their heat during aging, so they don't add to the flavor).
12. If your sauce is too thick for your taste, add more vinegar. You can't have too much vinegar.
13. Simmer the liquid again to get it hot, then add about 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum powder (optional) and stir until integrated. This prevents the sauce from separating in the bottle, but you can just as easily "shake well".
14. Funnel sauce into your hot sauce bottles and enjoy!
I bought my bottle kit from http://peppermania.com/hot_sauce_bottles.html and it comes with the drippers, lids, shrink wrap, xanthan gum, and even some gifted seeds.
For my first three batches, I just winged it with whatever peppers I had, then experimented until I had flavors I liked. You might want to take notes on what you put in your sauce (like I should have), in case you want to recreate it again. Otherwise, just remember peppers, vinegar, and salt as your base...the latter two of which are natural preservatives.
Note: Keep in mind when you sautee the peppers, your kitchen/house will fill with evaporated peppers and you will cry and cough. I don't use gloves, goggles, or a paper mask, but you may want to if you don't enjoy the punishment like I do. Open a window and keep the stove fan going.