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September 28, 2015

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Whether it be topical news, recipes or interviews with hot sauce producers, check back to our blog for the latest goings on in the chilli world.

Our subscription box contains a selection of hot sauces and fiery treats from the UK for £15 per month

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12 reasons you need to join the Hot Sauce Club


 Why should I join Hot Sauce Club?

If you’re reading this then congratulations, because it means that you’re deadly serious about taking your passionate relationship with all things spicy and edible to the next level.

By next level I mean joining a club that gives you access to a selection of rare hot sauce delights every month in the comfort of your own home. If you haven’t joined just yet, then here are some good reasons why you should…

 

 

1. The box understands you

 Buy Hot Sauce

Sadly us hot sauce lovers are quite often a misunderstood bunch because we’re either busy fending off hot sauce haters, or trying to convert everyone to our way of thinking. The beauty of this subscription box is that it truly understands exactly what your taste buds need, and truly appreciates your interest in the spicier side of life. Wonderful.

 

2. The range = amazing

 Excellent range

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this box contains just hot sauce. Oh no, it is much more than that. Us folks at hot sauce club recognise the need to expand your palate, and therefore send you an abundance of delicious items. 

Expect to receive a bottle of sauce, snacks, chutney, chocolate and even a grow your own chilli kit.

 

3. The items are rare

 Not on the highstreet

You can bet your entire hot sauce collection that you definitely won’t be able to pick up any of the items in this box from your local supermarket.

 

4. It’s excellent value

 Excellent Value

For £15.00 you really are getting a fantastic deal, because we all know that £15.00 wouldn’t even stretch to a round of drinks in your local pub, let alone five spicy items delivered to your door. Bargain.

 

5. No hassle

 No Hassle

Of course you love your constant quest to find new and exciting hot flavoured items, but let’s be honest – sometimes it can get a bit tiring. With this box the searching is done for you, all you have to do is just enjoy the goodies.

 

6. You expand your spicy knowledge

 Increase your spicy knowledge

Not only do you receive unique products, but the folks at the hot sauce club believe in shouting about those who make the products. Because of this they kindly include leaflets and further information which you can share with fellow hot sauce enthusiasts.

 

7. There are stickers involved

 Free stickers

What better way to show off to everyone your membership to the coolest club around than by proudly wearing one of the stickers provided? All the cool kids are doing it.  

 

8. You get to make your own

 Do it yourself

Ever fancied growing your own chillies? Well now you can. Each box contains a chilli kit allowing you to start you very own chilli garden, make your own sauce or even brew your own chilli ginger beer.

 

9. Everyone will be jealous

 Jealous

This subscription box is guaranteed to make you win any competitions you have with fellow hot sauce enthusiasts about who has the biggest passion for all things spicy. 

 

10. There’s something for everyone

 Something for Everyone

As long as you have an appreciation for tasty things you’re bound to find something in this box that you’ll adore. The founders of hot sauce club recognise that everyone has different tastes, hence why we provide variety of items suitable for you and your fellow spice loving associates.

 

11. It’s the best thing you’ll receive in the post

 Excitement in the post

If you can name anything more exciting than receiving a box full of spicy goodies in the post then you’re probably lying.

 

12. You get a referral fee

 Referral Money

Hot sauce club know that fans of delicious spicy items sometimes have a hard time in life. So to make things better they’ll happily offer you £5 for every referral and 25% off for the person you’ve referred. Could a deal get any better? Probably not.

 

Grab your subscription box here.

Subscribe Now

Hot Sauce Made with Termites and Giant Ants

One thing we have learned since starting Hot Sauce Club is that there is a lot of variety in the hot sauce market. With spice and heat being embedded within so many cultures across the globe, there is always something new and surprising to try. We've gotten used to seeing ingredients such as cocoa, mustard and fruit showing up in our sauces but this is a new one on us.

Kumache Hot Sauce

In the video below, National Geographic shows us how Kumache, a hot sauce in Kumarakapay, Venezuela is made. Red ants and termites are hunted down and thrown in with a mix of boiled down yuca and peppers.

It's not something we have tried, but we're game to give it a shot.

If you've come across this sauce before or better yet tried it let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you're looking for something a little more conventional why not check out our hot sauce shop?

The Scoville Scale

Sure you've heard of it, you may even know the rating of your favourite hot chilli sauce, but what is it? We've compiled this handy infographic to get you up to speed.

Scoville Scale

What is the Scoville scale?

 

The Scoville Unit (SHU) scale is a method of quantifying a substance's 'spiciness', through determining the concentration of the chemical compounds responsible for the sensation, which are named capsaicinoids.

 

Measurement

 

The scale and test are named after Wilbur L. Scoville (1865-1942), who developed the Scoville Organoleptic Test in 1912. As originally devised, a solution of the pepper extract is diluted in sugar water until the 'heat' is no longer detectable to a panel of (usually five) tasters; the degree of dilution gives its measure on the Scoville scale.

A single drop of Carolina Reaper extract requires 1,569,300 drops of water to fully mask its heat!

 

  1. Carolina Reaper 1,569,300
  2. Naga Viper 1,382,118
  3. Red savina habanero 350000-580000
  4. Scotch bonnet pepper 100000-350000
  5. Habanero pepper 100000-350000
  6. Bird eye pepper 100000-225000
  7. Tabasco pepper 30000-50000
  8. Jalapeno 3500-10000
  9. Paprika 100-900
  10. Sweet bell pepper 0

 

The greatest weakness of the Scoville Organoleptic Test is its imprecision, because it relies on human subjectivity.

Nowadays, capsaicin concentrations are determined using more scientific methods, typically High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The direct measurement of capsaicin gives much more accurate results than sensory methods.

Sources:

http://www.chilliworld.com/factfile/Measuring_Chilli_Heat.asp

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/hottest-chili

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale

 

15 things all hot sauce addicts know to be true

 

Forget silly little discoveries like the Internet and penicillin because these are nothing in comparison to arguably one of the best things in the entire world; hot sauce.

Not only do you see nothing wrong with spending a small fortune on the spicy stuff, but your nearest and dearest know that you aren’t even exaggerating when you proclaim that you can’t live without it. Sound familiar? Then you’re most definitely addicted to hot sauce.

 

Chilli mouth burn

Image source: TheOatmeal.com

 

1.  New hot sauce = jackpot

 

Despite your existing impressive collection of hot sauces, you still weep with tears of pure joy every time you discover something brand new.

 Hot Sauce Celebration

 

2. There is no favourite

 

It’s physically impossible for you to choose a clear favourite. It’s a bit like asking parents to choose which child is their favourite; it’s just not realistic.

Favourite Hot Sauce 

 

3.  Food is usually bland

 

85% of food that you consume is painfully bland, and you only consider food to be edible if it contains at least three different types of hot sauce. Yummy.

Bland Food 

 

4. The heartburn struggle is real

 

The only downside to your obsession with all things spicy is that you are quite prone to heartburn at least twice a week. But you don’t let this stop you, and instead you take necessary precautions by carrying Gaviscon with you at all times.

Chilli heart burn 

 

5. You carry hot sauce around

 

You like to think that you’re prepared for whatever bland food that life can throw at you, hence why you carry a small supply of some good all rounder spicy sauces around with you at all times. You never know when you may encounter a food emergency.

Sauce holster 

 

6. You’ve made yourself cry

 

At least once you’ve accidentally rubbed your eyes whilst forgetting that you have some delicious hot sauce on your fingers. Ouch.

chilli tears 

 

7. No-one trusts your spicy rating

 

Everyone always brings up that one time you ordered food for your nan and it was so spicy that she contemplated going to A&E because she was convinced that her taste buds were permanently damaged.  You still maintain to this day that it wasn’t even that spicy.  

hot sauce craziness 

 

8. Extra spicy = challenge

 

Anything that carries a food warning is interpreted as a challenge that you must undertake immediately. For the record, nothing can ever be too spicy for you. It is just physically impossible.

Spicy food challenge 

 

9. You have tissues on standby

 

You won’t let a bit of snot, sweat or runny eyes stop you from enjoying the spicier things in life, hence why you ensure that you’ve always got a pocket pack of tissues within reaching distance at all times.

stocking up with tissues 

 

10. You drown your food

 

You don’t believe in adding a few drops of hot sauce to your meal. No, not at all, and instead you opt for the drowning approach. Zingy.

drowning food in hot sauce 

 

11. There’s a secret stash in your desk at work

 

You don’t trust the staff canteen to be able to sufficiently cater to your spicy desires, hence why you keep a minimum of two bottles hidden in the bottom of your desk.

 secret stash of hot sauce

12. You make friends based on hot sauce affection

 

As soon as you discover someone you vaguely know enjoys hot sauce you automatically upgrade them to best friend status, and start planning hot sauce related trips together.

Chilli friends 

 

13. You love all things hot

 

The obsession doesn’t end with just hot sauce. You’re also a fan of chilli chutneys, chillies, spicy peanuts, and obvs chilli chocolate.

Feel the burn 

 

14. You’ve got a subscription to the hot sauce club

 

You await the arrival of your hot sauce box every month with more excitement than you would for your first child.

Hot Sauce Subscription 

 

15. If you don’t you should get one…

 

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

The chilli diet. Or another excuse to order your Hot Sauce Club box?

If you needed another reason to get stuck into the hot stuff, it's here: eating chilli will officially help you slim. Aussie researchers have now even more evidence that spicy foods help us feel full and can therefore prevent overeating. Amazing news for any waistline-watching chilli fans out there.

According to the University of Adelaide “The stomach stretches when it is full, which activates nerves in the stomach to tell the body that it has had enough food. We found that this activation is regulated through hot chilli pepper or TRPV1 receptors.” 

They found the same receptors are impaired by a high fat diet, delaying the feeling of fullness and causing more food consumption. It is the capsaicin in chilli that could reverse this damage.

The scientists think this latest evidence could unlock a new treatment for obesity. We say, just order your next Hot Sauce Club box...

The mysterious charm of the chilli

Imagine a metaphorical fight between a chilli pepper and courgette. Then imagine who would win.  

The status of the chilli pepper is ultimate, untouchable and unique. It commands a reverence and respect that smashes any other fruit, veggie or legume out of the park. We love it because we fear it, and we fear it because we love it.  

A third of the people in the world eat hot chilli peppers every day, and there are a growing number of related products, clubs and festivals all in homage to its wondrous properties. The beetroot or the pear, worthy as they are, just don’t attract these kind of communities.  

So what is it about the chilli we adore so much? Apparently it is almost impossible to truly quantify its appeal, even for leading gastro-psychologists. 

Hedonistic ChilliAccording to the experts, chilli isn’t a food we’re naturally predisposed to enjoy eating when we’re born. We have to work to build a tolerance and overcome a natural aversion to the capsaicin, which provides that burning sensation we’re so familiar with. Nature suggests it is then almost baffling that billions of us across the globe for millennia have persisted in eating the glorious chilli pepper. ‘Hedonic Reversal’ is the best explanation thus far, seeing it fall into the same category as watching scary movies or choosing to go on roller coasters. We calculate the level of risk and enjoy a temporary thrill, knowing that at the end we will be safe.  

But can one sum up the chilli pepper in all its charm so simply, so clinically? I think not. And where science has failed, inevitably novice internet bloggers step in.  

The chilli somehow inspires a deep emotional connection. It signifies heat, passion and fun as well as danger. It’s very image has inspired chilli-shaped fairy lights, print clothing and band names (or at least one pretty significant one). 

There is also a social aspect to the chilli which is best enjoyed in company as Hot Sauce Club attests. For (unscientific) proof of its charm, I conducted a quick straw poll that suggested most people have some fond, hilarious or vaguely traumatic memory or anecdote related to it. These ranged from chillies that induced a mind-altered state, to a belief that one’s tongue actually toasted bread after eating a particularly hot variety. It’s all up for debate you may say, but absolutely no one is sharing similar yarns in relation to a potato. 

Crucially, the main seduction of the chilli is in the very element of the unknown. It could warm you through pleasantly like a brandy on a cold night, or it could be so hot as to absolutely take your face off. The relationship is tender but temperamental. It needs to be nurtured. We know if we abuse it we will sweat, hurt and pay for it the next day. But we also know if we do this in a testosterone dominated, beer-fuelled environment, we can wear it like a badge of honour.  

For all these reasons, and for more I am yet to even discover as I journey towards the spice on these pages, we have learned to love the burn. It is a constant and changing love that can’t be measured, only explored and enjoyed. A love which conquers all others of the fruit and vegetable world. My definitive evidence? Because there will never, ever, be a market for courgette-shaped fairy lights. End of. 

Seagull Eating Hot Sauce

The video was captured on film at a BBQ in Australia by former soldier Gary John Urie.

The greedy gull seized on the chip presented to it by a friend of Gary, who had smothered the chip in hot sauce.

Immediately after eating the fiery chip, the bird makes a dash for the sea to douse the flames. 

Garry an "animal lover" insists the bird wasn't harmed at all.

Although they have a reputations to gobbling down everything in their sight, this seagull's reaction to hot sauce bears a striking similarity to that of a human.

The video has since gone viral, receiving over a million views.

Maybe this will teach it to not steal food

 

The many functional uses of the ghost pepper

Once the world’s hottest chilli pepper, the Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper is said to be 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. The pepper itself is known by many names thanks the many different regions of India and with its many titles comes just as many practical day to day uses.

In its homeland of north east India the Bhut Jolokia is used a form of pest control, of course being India, their pests are elephants. The fiery chilli is smeared on onto the local fences or used within smoke bombs to keep those pesky elephants at bay.

Of course the uses don’t stop there, the Indian Armed Forces are currently investigating the use of a non-lethal chilli grenade made with non-other than this marvellous spice. Although while it won’t kill you, I can only imagine at over a million scoville units…..you may wish that it had.

Chilli Hand GrenadeBut not just to be used as a repellent the real use of the ghost pepper as we at the hotsauceclub can attest to is to add a bit of heat to your meals. And while we understand trying to imagine the heat that this fruit can produce can be difficult, we investigated the forums and reviews of Bjut Jolokia for our readers. Highlights of our research included:

  • The taste is fabulous, if you don't mind losing feeling in your mouth for a good half hour or so
  • Small tip - if you do try one, spit it out after chewing it. The more of it you swallow, the more you will feel as though you've been stabbed in the stomach
  • Hotter than the fires of burning hell and then some
  • Truly Satan was having a party in my mouth and everyone was pissing acid.

Unfortunately for those who now know what they want to avoid in the future – these chillies can come in a range of colours ranging from red to chocolate. Further, the strain of bhut jolokia is very variable – meaning you can a large delta between sizes and production per plant.

So we will leave you with this safety video – if you see anyone reacting like the below. We suggest you avoid eating what they just had.

Nagaland - The Home of Hot

Nagaland instantly grabs the attention of most seasoned chilli aficionados due to two factors,

  • The Naga Chili
  • The Hornbill Festival

In the quest for the hottest chilli, one cannot go past the Naga Morich chilli pepper. Also known as the “Dorset Naga” as a few more of you may be familiar with in the UK (although technically a subspecies of the original Naga).

The chilli collects its name from the north-eastern area of India, from a place called Nagaland (we thought that name was made up before researching it). If you go one step further and really want to impress your friends with your chilli knowledge, you can drop into conversation that Naga Morich means snake or serpent chilli. A very apt name indeed.

Nagaland of course embraces this claim to fame with the annual Hornbill Festival, “The Woodstock of north east India”. The pinnacle of this annual get together is the Naga King Chili-Eating Competition. Only the brave or stupid need apply.

First place in the competition nets the lucky winner £400, which in the rural parts of India is a considerable sum for those willing to endure the pain and humiliation associate with entry.

The team at Hot Sauce Club are decidedly split as to if this should be on our bucket list or not. As we and the contestants are acutely aware, Nagaland makes some pretty potent chilli, comfortably sitting within 500,000 and 1,500,000 SHUs on the Scoville Scale

Last year’s winner managed to get through 14 of these chills.... others were taken away by ambulance at 5!

As the festival lasts 10 days every December, the Naga King competition isn’t the only draw card for the festival. The range of delicacies is a foodie’s paradise. Lots of traditional Naga food is on offer and you can even enter the pork eating contest if a free trip in an ambulance isn’t your thing.

Chilli - The Awesome, Weight Busting, Nutritionally Charged Super Ingredient!

Our favourite hot sauces, chutneys and chilli confectionary have more to offer than just a deliciously fiery embrace! When you’re next enjoying the warmth of a good splash of chilli goodness on your toast or in your chilli con carne, be sure to remember these pretty awesome facts and health benefits that we’ve compiled for you, the unwavering chilli fan!

Firstly, did you know that chilli is actually classified a fruit? It comes from a pod which belongs to the nightshade family (Solanaceae), within the genus Capsicum.

Capsaicin is the chemical that makes chillies and peppers hot and in recent years the effects that it has on our body temperature, energy expenditure, and appetite have been studied. The findings revealed an interesting advantage bestowed upon those (like us!) who unashamedly add copious amounts to their food.

Add chilli to your mealPerdue University, U.S., carried out a small scale study whereby participants added pepper (high in capsaicin) to their meals. The results found that adding 1g of pepper reduced the cravings for salty, sweet and fatty foods across the 25 participants. So it would seem that simply
adding a dash of chilli to your meal can actually reduce cravings, aiding both weight loss and weight management, thanks to the high levels of capsaicin. Team this with the chilli’s ability to speed up your metabolism by up to 50% by increasing your heart rate and you’ve given yourself a fair chance of burning off a few extra calories alongside a heathy eating plan and effective exercise strategy.

As well as suppressing cravings, capsaicin is also known to have anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetic properties and has been found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels (the bad stuff!) in obese individuals. If you thought that was good, you’ll be pleased to hear that chillies have a lot more up their fiery sleeves! Our hot little friends can also fight inflammation, act as natural pain relief, ease congestion, prevent stomach ulcers and reduce the risk of prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes, plus lots of cardiovascular benefits including reduced blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels and platelets aggression.

If you want to get scientific about things, chillies have a pretty impressive nutritional line up; just 100g of free chilli provides 240% of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid), 39% of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine), 32% of vitamin A, 13% of iron,14% of copper, and 7% of potassium of your daily allowance.  Now we’re not suggesting you start chomping on 100g of chilli per day as a tasty snack, but the benefits of our fiery friends are clear to see!

So whether you fancy a tasty hot hit or next time you have a blocked nose, reach into your Hot Sauce Subscription Box for a naturally alleviating remedy that’s tasty too!