Review: DIY Gift Kits – Hot Sauce Making Kit
You gotta be kitting me…
We were skeptical at first when DIY Gift Kits reached out to us. After all, we’ve been making sauce for 4 years and someone’s made it so simple that it fits in a tiny box? Scoff sound. No way. They sent one along anyway for us to give it a try.
Arriving in a small package, we wondered what wonders would be held inside the cardboard box. For the full fall effect, we unpacked it outside in the wild.
We’ve not described a box before, but this one was well-packed. Once everything was out it was tough to get back in correctly, so be prepared for that. The fold-out brochure is full of excellent information, recipes and an explanation of why to cook things according to the instructions.
Overall we’d give the presentation a solid 5/5.
This Hot Sauce Making Kit comes with everything you need to get started. For holding the sauce, they’ve included 3 woozy bottles (standard 5 ounce bottles that most hot sauces come in – more on bottles here) including “sissy tips” (which help for more liquid-y sauces) and 4 squeeze bottles with their tops. One note on the squeeze bottle tops, you’ll need to cut those before anything will come out.
We’ll get to the ingredients in a moment, but let’s talk about the unsung hero of this entire operation, the funnel! The funnel that is included in this sauce kit is awesome. Now, it probably seems weird that we’re getting excited about a funnel, but it fits perfectly into the bottles and even fits well into the 2-ounce bottles we have for when we send our testers out. It has already replaced our primary funnel and will continue to stick around.
Caps, pH strips and gloves are the other pieces of the puzzle component-wise. We didn’t end up using the gloves primarily because the peppers are already dried out and we typically don’t with dried peppers, but for beginners it is probably a good idea to use them. The testing strips are also a nice touch to help you know how long the sauce can keep. 3.2-4.0 is usually a safe bet that it can hang out for a while.
The final piece outside of the ingredients was the fold-out paper that gives you all of the information you need to know about how to make the sauces, other facts and recipes to get started with. Now that we’ve seen the innards, let’s get to the ingredients!
The DIY Gift Kits Hot Sauce Making Kit comes with apple cider vinegar, dried peppers, and a secret spice blend. Pepper-wise they provide habaneros, ancho pasilla, chipotle, and a single ghost pepper for added spiciness.
The dried peppers will need to soak a bit to rehydrate and that can either be done before or during the cooking of the sauce. As a warning, those ancho pasillas puff wayyyy up, so have them in a large bowl.
When making sauce, typically you want to add in some dry ingredients to elevate the flavor of the sauce you are making and that’s where the Spice Blend comes into play in this kit. After dumping it out and taking some whiffs, we think it’s got garlic, cumin and some other spices in there. Hard to tell and the packet doesn’t tell you much but it’s a good start. You’ll need to bring your own salt for the sauces, but that’s not biggie.
Making Your Sauce
Now that we’ve taken a look at everything that comes with this kit, it’s time to review the recipes and cooking process. We made three total recipes, following two that were in the fold-out and one that we freewheeled.
First up was the “Smokin’ Sauce,” a mild sauce heavily featuring the Ancho Pasilla peppers. We made the mistake of adding the vinegar in before cooking it some, but hey, sauce-making isn’t an exact science.
Once we cooked it a bit, it was time to blend. We had the right amount of vinegar and water added, but the result was a bit bizarre. Remember how we mentioned the ancho pasilla bloats up quite a bit? It bloated so much that the initial blend was like looking at sludge.
This was a smoky and thicc sauce, so we added some more vinegar. And then some more vinegar. And then the vinegar in the kit was gone. With all of the vinegar in the kit we were able to get it to a consistency we liked and filled up a woozy and a squeeze bottle with the sauce it produced.
Again, sauce isn’t an exact science, so we aren’t taking points off for the thickness of the sauce. Just have some additional vinegar on hand to help get it to a consistency that you like. Flavorwise, it was as advertised, packing a nice smokiness and a hint of heat. Would be good for smoked meats, burgers or tacos.
The next recipe we tried was the Purist Paste, marked as “HOTTTTT” with 5 flames. 5 Habaneros, 1 ancho pasilla and 1 ghost pepper made up this sauce and we made sure to venture outside before cooking. When we first started, we accidentally maced the house making a habanero sauce and have been booted out to the porch to cook ever since.
The consistency for this sauce was much better on the first try and we got it bottled up easily. The heat level wasn’t as advertised, but if you’ve been following us for any amount of time you know that our tolerance is high and probably broken at this point.
With the remaining peppers we decided to bring in the big guns and really crank up the heat for the third recipe we wanted to make. Meet our dried Carolina Reapers.
We were off the grid, in unmarked territory with only our peppers and our wits. For this final sauce, we abandoned the spice mix and went with what we knew. This was the rough recipe we ended up with:
- 3 dried Carolina Reapers
- 3 habaneros
- 10 chipotles
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp mustard
- a pinch of salt
- vinegar to consistency
This is what we ended up with after cooking and blending. Carolina Reapers add a major punch, so this rocketed up to a 7/7 (on the official Fartley Farms scale) and the new ingredients are our preferred spice base. Due to our bias, this was our favorite sauce, but the initial smoky sauce was also pretty good.
The key here is to use the kit’s recipes as a base to get comfortable with the process and branch off from there. From our count, you get a good 20-30 habaneros in this kit which gives you a loooot of freedom to experiment.
Bottling Your Sauce
After the cooking is done in any batch, you have to bottle your sauce. Thankfully the process is stupid simple with this kit, just toss the funnel into the opening, pour the sauce in carefully (giving the funnel room to breath) and you’re done.
The sauces look great and the bottles alone are insanely helpful. It can be hard to know where to get them from and the DIY Gift Kits box has enough to keep you going in your initial saucery.
We were skeptical going in, but this box is an amazing starter pack for the spice lord in your life. With insanely simple instructions to follow, laid out in a way that makes sense, your friends or family will be pleased with how easy it is to get started. For the intermediate sauce aficionado, this kit will give them the base of what they need while also allowing them to branch out and investigate new flavor profiles on their own.
If you are trying to decide a last-minute gift this holiday season, the Hot Sauce Making Kit runs at 47.82 on Amazon and is a pretty good steal considering it can make roughly 6-20 bottles of sauce from our estimation. Feel free to hit us up if you have any questions and special thanks to DIY Gift Kits for sending this along and turning us into believers of this kit.
Hello spicy traveler, try our sauces!
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