Chili sauce is produced worldwide, but each is augmented by the cultural elements of where it is made. Most chili sauces consist primarily of chilis, though some preparations include tomato as the primary ingredient. Vinegar, sugar, and salt are added to the chili sauce processing equipment, and the mixture is thickened mainly by cooking.
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The hidden hotness of chilis unveiled
The magical heat of the chili pepper comes from their natural defense mechanism against would-be mammalian predators. Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers that imparts a powerful burning sensation after ingesting. Biting into a chili pepper releases the chemical, which then binds to pain and temperature receptors. The highest concentration of capsaicin is found in the membrane directly surrounding the seeds of chili peppers, but the seeds themselves contain none.
The concentration of capsaicin in the chili decreases with distance from the seeds. Based on capsaicin concentration, the Scoville scale is used to estimate relative pungency. The unique burn of chili peppers has made them a staple ingredient in many cultures, adding a new dimension to the taste of any dish.
Chili sauce processing equipment: Firing up your process for making chili sauces
Chili processing begins with the cleansing of prospective peppers, followed by blanching in a boiling tank or steam chamber. You then grind down the chilis, adding water as necessary to ease grinding. During this stage, you typically remove the pepper peels, and if looking to tame the spicy flavor you may remove the seeds as well. It should be noted that Often, the seeds are processed into various powders which can be used for a variety of different application.
The ground chili paste is now ready to be combined with your other ingredients in a mixer and should be boiled to incorporate all the elements and thicken the sauce. While cooling, acetic acid, sodium benzoate, and sorbic acid should be added below 80ºC, and ascorbic acid must wait until the mixture cools to 65ºC. Bottling should also occur at 65ºC to prevent the growth of microbes. It’s also worth noting that prior to labeling, bottles should be stored in a cool dark place for a week or two to screen for defects.
Serving your spicy sauce, better thick than quick
In its raw form, chili sauce is usually quite thin due to its high water content. Thicker sauces are often more practical for consumption, so chili sauce processing equipment such as a mixer and cooker provides the opportunity to achieve a more desirable consistency. Starches such as cassava starch are commonly added to chili sauces to bulk up the viscosity. In addition, cooking the sauce allows you to boil off excess water, further condensing the mixture. Thicker liquids are sometimes more difficult to process, so to incorporate all ingredients you require high shear mixers or agitators. In addition, after cooking, the sauce is rapidly cooled using a fan to help the mixture further thicken.
The not-so-sweet truth about sugar content
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, chili sauces often contain fairly large amounts of sugar. In sweet chili sauce, sugar makes up 30% of the composition or more. Sugar-free chili sauces provide fewer calories while sacrificing relatively little in the way of flavor. To achieve this, sugar substitutes such as stevia, erythritol, or other sugar alcohols are commonly used to add sweetness without the extra carbs. The process of developing these sugar-free alternatives remains largely the same, though you should consider how your chosen sweetener might interact with your formula differently than table sugar. Most notably, aspartame can lose its sweetness with heating.