Recipe Box

Frost Warning Hot Pepper Sauce

Ah, October. Here in CowTown, Michigan, that means the vegetable garden can quickly take an abrupt turn for the worse. Here’s our weather prediction for tonight:

WHAT…Temperatures ranging from 32 to 36 will result in frost formation WHERE…Parts of Southwest and West-Central Lower Michigan WHEN…From 2 AM to 9 AM EDT Friday
IMPACTS…Frost could kill or damage sensitive outdoor vegetation if left uncovered.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold.

“Noooooo! Not a frost warning!”

The four bell pepper plants in our veg garden have had an amazing year. They’re over three feet tall and very lush. They make a rather pretty hedge along the back of the garden.

In July, I chopped and dehydrated enough green and red bell peppers to fill a quart jar. Those will make quick and tasty additions to soups, stews, and chili throughout the winter. I also stuffed 18 of the biggest peppers with seasoned ground beef and rice and baked them. Here’s a good trick: Use muffin tins to prop up your stuffed peppers for baking. After they’re baked, let them cool, then put the tins right into the freezer. Once they’re frozen solid, pop the peppers out of the tins (they may need a few minutes at room temperature before they come loose), put them in Ziploc freezer bags and viola! You have quick dinners for nights when you need something fast.

But, back to that frost warning. Pepper plants don’t fare well in a frost. The only peppers I hadn’t already picked were all so tiny – some just an inch across.

I may be little but I’m still useful!

Those wee peppers have just as much flavor as a big, mature one, but there’s just not much meat to them. They’re very thin, and not suitable for most recipes. But, there’s still an excellent use for immature and smaller peppers, so dress warmly, run outside and gather up all your wee pepper babes, because we’re going to make hot sauce!


This stuff is delicious on tacos. It’s tasty as a chip dip, too. However you use it, your hot sauce will have that extra bit of deliciousness that comes from knowing you’ve won a battle against the weather.

I’ve included two nutritional information labels at the end of this recipe, showing the difference between a regular and a no-salt version. I don’t add the salt. If you’re going to use this as a chip dip, there’s most likely already a salt hit on the chips. Anyway, check the labels and decide which version you want to make.

Graphics courtesy

Frost Warning Hot Pepper Sauce

A bright, spicy green sauce made from those bell peppers you rescued from the frost.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Condiments and Garnishes
Cuisine: Low Sodium, Mexican
Keyword: Garden Fresh, Vegetables
Servings: 2 pints


  • 4 cup green bell pepper
  • 2 cup white onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt Optional
  • 1 tsp black whole peppercorns
  • 4 tbsp olive oil


  • Prepare the ingredients: Remove stems and seeds from the bell peppers and chop them. Chop the onion, tomato, and garlic cloves. Grind the coriander seeds and peppercorns, or pulverize them with a mortar and pestle.
  • Add all ingredients to a large non-stick frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until all ingredients are cooked through, blended and soft.
  • Let the mixture cool for five minutes.
  • One cupful at a time, run the mixture through a blender set on high speed, until it's smooth and creamy.
  • Store your sauce in a glass jar in the fridge for immediate use, or freeze in plastic containers for the future.


This recipe can easily be customized to your tastes. Use more or less garlic, switch up the spices (basil or oregano would be nice), leave out the salt, splash in some red wine or balsamic vinegar... have some fun, experiment. Odds are no matter what you do, it'll be tasty.
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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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