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Tropical Hot Sauce

Hot sauce.  It’s on every single table here in St. Croix.  What used to be the cute little bottles of Texas Pete in North Carolina are now replaced by massive repurposed bottles of homemade hot sauce bursting with the flavors of local ingredients.  This makes me happy.  It also makes J happy as he was never a fan of the conventional hot sauces.  Each house and each restaurant boasts a different heat, texture and flavor.  I find that I lean more towards the tropical fruit infused sauces as they provide a subtle sweet balance to the zing of the local seasoning peppers.

I posted this on Facebook a few days ago:


This rings true not only for my candy sweet smoothies, it’s also true for the different ways I find uses for all the abundance of our island.  We have carambola {star fruit} growing in our backyard and it not only goes into conventional choices like fruit salad, it also gets pickled and candied.  Today, it gets blended into the easiest homemade hot sauce ever.  I started playing around with this by first gathering what was locally available then adjusting the ratios to taste as our greed for the hot stuff evolved into what is now a stationary gallon in our fridge.  We go through it lightening fast as it seems to be tasty in everything from fried rice to pizza.

If my carambola aren’t already destined for my green smoothies, they make it into our hot sauce.  If you’ve never had anything beyond a pepper-vinegar concoction, you’re really in for a treat.  It layers on more than just heat.  It’s complex and rich and strikes the perfect marriage between heat, sweet and savory.  It’s essentially a delicious sauce which I find is what is lacking for regular hot sauces.


What I like about this hot sauce the most is that it strikes the perfect balance between sweet and heat.  The raw apple cider vinegar also cuts through to add a zing of its own but it’s not too overpowering in any of its elements.  Rather as it sits and matures, it blends together into something magical.  This hot sauce has got flavor.  There’s nothing I hate more than a searing hot pain of unadulterated heat that only gives way to numbness. Depending on what time of the year it is and how ripe and juicy your fruit is, the additional water and sugar are completely optional.  I’ve made batches with such sugary, juicy mango {another great option besides carambola}, it didn’t need either.  What I’m trying to say here is that no only is hot sauce, by nature very forgiving, this one is even more so.

If you’re feeling intimidated by sauce making, particularly making your own hot sauce, let me be the first to assure you just how easy it is.  It’s just a matter of obtaining some ripe fruit, some of your favorite trusty hot peppers and a few other key ingredients to blend into your chosen consistency.  That’s it.  The great thing about this hot sauce is that as the flavors mingle, it settles into something that went from good to great.  We have a bottle that’s “matured” for several months now and we prefer it over our new batches.  Better yet, if you’re not a fan of big heat, you can definitely taper this down to accommodate a much more mild palette.  Add in just a half or quarter of the allotted peppers and make sure you scrape out both seeds and ribs {oh, and don’t rub your eyes afterwards like I do…d’oh!}  I don’t recommend adding any more sugar as I like the natural fructose to shine through but if need be, don’t be afraid to add a hit of honey, agave, sugar, etc.

The important thing to remember is that my hot sauce recipe that I’m sharing with you today is completely versatile and customizable.  Unlike baking, throw in whatever feels good to you.  After all, this is how this tropical carambola hot sauce first began.  Don’t have starfruit available locally?  Experiment with peaches, pineapple, plums, orange…you get the idea.  I’ve been known to blister the peppers first for more depth, chuck in a few carrots for added sweetness and conjure up a tangle of cilantro to add more sparkle but all of these additions merely add layers to the base recipe I’m sharing.  At its starting point, it’s fresh, straightforward and sings in harmony with all the local caribbean flavors of St. Croix.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Tropical Hot Sauce
Prep time

Total time

Serves: 20 oz

  • 3 ripe carambola/starfruit {or fruit of choice}
  • 3 hot peppers of choice {seeded/gutted or not}
  • ¼ red onion
  • ½ tb kosher salt
  • 1 tb raw apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tb raw sugar
  • 4 tb water

  1. Prepare your fruit. Depending on what you’re using, de-seed them. You may or may not need to use the water and sugar later.
  2. You may use whole, intact peppers or gut/seed them. Your choice.
  3. Throw everything into a blender/food processor until you achieve your desired consistency.
  4. After your first blend, taste your sauce.
  5. Depending on your preference, add in the sugar, water and extra salt, if needed.
  6. Blend again.
  7. Bottle and chill. I find that this hot sauce tastes best after sitting for about a week.


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2 thoughts on “Tropical Hot Sauce

  • brian bartkowiak says:

    ooo..sweet and spicy! hehe looks like something i would mistake for a smoothie and end up downing it and being in BIG trouble! hahahaha

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    hahahaha! I typically have a long neck bottle to store these in but shattered in doing the dishes last week. Definitely would suck guzzling this down. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend, Brain!

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