Most vinegars tend to be around 5-6% but I found a stronger distilled vinegar that says it's for pickling and it's 10%. Anyone know what the max strength that is safe for human consumption? I tasted it in some uncooked sauce last night (just a small taste) and today my throat is jacked up. My co-worker recently had strep throat so it could be that too but I'm now worried about sharing my new sauce if it's too acidic to be safe.
Your sauce is "safe" but may not be "palatable". If you drink lemonade with no sugar, it will likely have a similar effect.
As others have said, it's part of the whole product. Like sauces that say "made with Carolina Reaper Chiles, the HOTTEST chiles in the WORLD!!!" Yes, Ed Currie's Carolina Reapers are the hottest chiles in the world, but if the sauce maker uses 1/2 an ounce of Reapers in 2 gallons of sauce.....that's not a lot of chiles in the whole batch and the sauce won't be that hot.
using 10% vinegar for pickling-
most extension service recipes for pickles and such list 6 cups 5% vinegar and 3 cups water plus whatever salt and spices. A person could use 3 cups 10% vinegar and 6 cups water and the resulting brine would have the same acidity.
The point where the 10% acidity comes into play is-
Let's say you are getting ready to launch your BestEverSauceCompany, you have the PERFECT sauce recipe with lots of freaking awesome ingredients, and the viscosity is Perfect...so you sent it out to the FoodLab for pH testing ....AwCRAP! The pH is
too low!(edit- actually, that should be the pH is TOO HIGH...or... the amount of acidity in the sauce is too low) Well, you could double the amount of 5% vinegar, but that would mess up the viscosity...or you could use 10% vinegar. Doubling the acids in the sauce without compromising the consistency. Just one example.
Hope this helps~
EDIT- if the amount of acids (vinegar, lemon/lime juices) in the sauce are too low, the pH level will be too high. Adding more acidity lowers the pH. Sorry for the DPSE!
Edited by salsalady, 25 June 2017 - 01:42 PM.