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We make a famous hot sauce, but we are having a problem properly sealing the bottles for shipping. We tried to shipped the sauce to friends and family, but after a 3 to 4 day trip, the sauce gets to them and explodes, with half the sauce bursting out as soon as bottle is open. Any advice on how to keep my hot sauce from expanding during travel and exploding out of the bottle?

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    It sounds like it might be fermenting and building pressure. Is it pasteurized before shipping?
    – moscafj
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 20:19
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    Welcome to SA! Are you sure "famous" is the word you want to use here?
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 21:35
  • Welcome! Would you be willing to share the ingredients and especially your processing methods with us? Even if you don’t want to post the full recipe, there is a good chance that the problem originates somewhere in the context of processing & packaging.
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 21:45
  • Sealing actually looks OK as the bottles only "explode" when people try to open them. Preparation, on the other hand, seems a bit off.
    – mustaccio
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 23:13
  • What elevation are you at, and how is it being shipped? I remember hearing about problems with bags of chips being packaged at low elevation, then being driven through the mountains and blowing up. Bottles should take more pressure before having issues, but only if well sealed.
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 1:52

3 Answers 3

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The sauce is fermenting.

Fermenting things give off CO2. That might not be bad for a hot sauce. But as long as it is going on the flavor is going to be changing. Also as regards exploding, Co2 in a sealed space will build up pressure.

You can kill your hot sauce before you seal the bottle. I would can them in a hot water bath - traditional canning. Then they will stop fermenting. They will be safe to seal up and ship.

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

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I have seen this before in a friends bottled tomato juice. When opened it geysered up and hit the ceiling ..and us…he neglected the hot water bath. I bottle 50 x250 ml jars every fall .50/50 water and apple cider vinegar to start the sauce. I hot water bath for 12 minutes after it comes back on the boil and I have no issues with storage . I ( and my friends) are having recently problems with newly redesigned Bernardin lids sealing properly .

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Add vinegar and if you do, maybe put your bottles in the refrigerator until time to mail them. Maybe that will help.

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    From a food safety perspective, the asker would have to add quite a lot to bring the ph levels to a level where (presumable unpasteurized?) sauce would become shelf stable.
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 21:41

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