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I'm trying my hand at a homemade hot sauce using some habaneros and every recipe I've seen calls for unseeding them. I'm not particularly worried about making the sauce too hot, so I'm wondering if I can keep the seeds and whether that would change the texture of the sauce any. Curious if folks have any thoughts there?

  • I've always used a Victotorio strainer to remove pepper and tomato seeds. From ads, it looks like those have gone upscale. There is probably a cheaper brand to be found. I would not deseed habaneros by hand, but seeds make your hot sauce bitter. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 13 at 0:36
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    By the way, a trick my Mexican friends use is to throw the hot peppers into a pot of boiling water for a couple minutes. This supposedly draws the capsicum out of the seeds and pith and into the meat of the pepper. Then the pepper is roasted till the outer (now black) film comes off. Then the seeds are removed. Nice spicy meat is left. – B. Goddard Apr 13 at 18:10
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    Does this answer your question? Hot sauce; Remove seeds? – leftaroundabout Apr 13 at 22:21
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The seeds of all peppers are bitter, you won't notice this when you are using a single pepper in a large dish of food, but if you make hot sauce without removing the seeds you will have a noticeable, and possibly unpleasant bitterness. Grinding the seeds will add more off flavors, so it is worth the effort to get rid of them.

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    FTR, when you write “all peppers” you mean “all capsicum”. The seeds of pepper (piper) are a different story, and so are pink peppercorns or Szechuan pepper (which are, like capsicum/chilies, not actually peppers despite their English name). – leftaroundabout Apr 13 at 9:06
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    As black pepper was known in England before the capsicum peppers, it would be better to say that the capsicum peppers are not really pepper despite their English name. – Willeke Apr 13 at 9:10
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    On the other hand, I've bought dozens of hot sauces with seeds in them and never noticed anything weird about the sauce. I would suggest trying to mash the seeds separately from the flesh of the peppers and tasting them to see if they are worth adding to the sauce or not. – JohnEye Apr 13 at 13:41
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    FWIW in my culture (Malaysian) we never remove seeds from chili peppers (any kind) when making sauces. I've never considered them bitter. But YMMV - I grew up eating it so someone who haven't grown up with it may get the "bitterness" (I put it in quotes because I still don't quite believe it). The same is true for most Thai cooking I've had - they never remove seeds either – slebetman Apr 14 at 4:36
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    @Willeke The story is that Europeans tried to go to India to buy pepper and ended up in the Americas. They realized that there was a similarly 'hot' spice (now know as chilly-peppers) and called it Pepper. The word has origins in Sanskrit. – hrkrshnn Apr 14 at 11:03
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First, the most capsaicin (heat) is in the pith of the peppers. You'll find it to a lesser extent in the seeds. Keeping the seeds will definitely change the texture of the sauce, but if you like that texture then by all means, use them. You can also purée the sauce to make it smoother. I would start with the flesh of the pepper and then use the pith to alter the spiciness to your taste.

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The bulk of the capsaicin is in the embryonic orange felt enclosing the seeds. That makes the seed area the strongest contributor to pungency. The seeds themselves are no benefit in either taste nor much hotness. So for your aims, it makes sense to remove the seeds while making sure that you don't remove their bedding. Consider using gloves for that kind of sorting action (and actually most handling of habaneros). Or consider it as a good training opportunity for learning to avoid touching your face in the age of COVID-19.

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I leave seeds in while either cooking my peppers or fermenting them.

Once I'm ready to process it into sauce, I run the peppers thru a masticating juicer. I end up with the most amount of pulp in the sauce that way. And zero seeds.

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I always figure if you want the hot sauce hotter leave the seeds in, if you want just hot sauce and not killer hot sauce take them out. I would take them out with habanero peppers. I like the flavor of hot sauce with onion garlic and tomato. I don't think it should be painful......good luck.

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    Welcome to Cooking Stack Exchange. Sorry for having to give you a downvote on your first answer, but unfortunately what you state is incorrect. Pepper seeds themselves do not contain much hotness. That's a myth. And as you can read in the top answer, the seeds are mostly bitter, which is usually undesired in hot sauce. Most of the hotness is in the fibers which hold the seeds. The myth persists because most people remove the seeds by scraping them out together with the fibers and don't take care to leave the fibers in. – Philipp Apr 14 at 10:50

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