technically under 4.6 but most of us shoot for under 4. Let me dig here for a good post by a wonderful woman.
Hot Sauce 101-
hot sauce- anything you concoct that is spicy (but not a bbq sauce )
mash- ground peppers that are fermented using salt or a starter culture (like kefir or sauer kraut or kim chee juices for the lacto bacillius). The peppers take on an aged,sometimes sour flavor. Some people like the sour flavor, some don't. It's just a recipe variety.
pickled mash- ground peppers that are cured/preserved in vinegar. Some people like a vinegary flavor to their peppers.
For a beginner, I would STRONGLY suggest using or creating some kind of cooked sauce. There are 100's of recipes so find one or create one that you like. Here's lots of basic recipes to start with-
Mason jar processing-
You don't have to use those cute little hot sauce bottles! Using regular canning jars does allow you to can a sauce without having to cook it first, however, for a beginner, I would suggest cooking the sauce before canning it so you can taste the sauce and make any flavor corrections or additions before it's all canned up.
If you add an acid to the sauce, like vinegar or lemon/lime juice, you can get away with just doing a "hot water bath", but if you do not add any acid to the peppers,onions,garlic,etc, then you MUST pressure can it to prevent botulism. Also, if you do not cook the sauce and are using raw vegetables/peppers, I would STRONGLY suggest that you pressure can the jars.
There are MANY good canning website- do some googling. Here's a link to the Ball canning site-
If you want to use canning jars, search out a recipe that has been designed for canning so you know it has the proper pH levels.
Here's some notes on using woozies-
Sterilize the woozie bottles.
Rinse with bleach water 2 tsp/1 gal COOL water. Do this the day before to allow the bleach to dissipate.
Boil bottles in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Drain.
Heat the sauce to boiling, simmer for 30 minutes. ( strongly suggest using a non-aluminum, non-cast iron pan. Stainless or glass is preferred)
Transfer the HOT (heated) sauce to the woozie bottles one at a time using a turkey baster, cup-and-funnel or small spouted measuring cup. The sauce must be a minimum of 180F when it's put into the bottle to properly sterilize the bottle (which has already been cleaned) and the cap (which has not been sanitized)
Wipe the top if necessary. Screw on the cap and immediately invert the bottle. Leave the bottle inverted for at least 5 minutes. This allows the hot product to come in contact with the cap and to kill all the nasties.
If you order some woozie bottles online, specify LINED caps.
That's pretty much it!
Making pepper mash is a whole other ball game and there is a lot of confusion regarding salt mash (which is fermented), vinegar mash (which is NOT fermented!), cooked peppers left to age, uncooked peppers....I'd avoid trying any of these until you have a handle on the basics. If you do it wrong, botulism can kill!
Here's a thread discussing mash-
edit- there are many different temperatures quoted for hot packing hot sauce. Washington state says 170F, others say up to 195. The differences come from different authorities. The state inspector may want 175F and the county extension service suggests 190F. Regardless of the differences, if the sauce is simmering when it's packed, it's at least 212F and you're good to go.
This comes from this thread http://www.thehotpep...-an-uber-newbie