This a a Louisiana-style hot sauce, though there are doubtless many variations of this recipe. It’s best to let the sauce age, the flavor improves as it mellows, but go ahead and start using as soon as you like. In fact, you’ll be able to discern the changes in flavor if you sample it as it ages.

For a full-heat effect, use the whole pepper, seeds and all. To lessen the intensity of the heat, use no seeds, or just some seeds. Also, the ribs contain heat–some say the ribs are even hotter than the seeds–so, again, to lessen the heat, remove some or all of the ribs.

You can use other peppers here, or a combination. For an all green hot sauce use jalapeños or green versions of other peppers.

Use kitchen or latex gloves when handling peppers, and remember the first rule of chiles–your eyes will start to itch as soon as you begin to handle chiles and you will want to rub your eyes. Do not.

1/2 c chopped fresh cayenne peppers, prepared to your preferences
2/3 c white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
1 t salt, or to taste, optional

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour into a clean, sterilized bottle and let steep in the refrigerator for at least a week before using, or not.

2. You can also put the purée in a fine meshed colander and mash it through into a measuring cup. This will keep back some of the pepper’s skin which some people do not care for. Then bottle and store.