Saturday, May 24, 2014

Notes on Chinese Hot Sauce

Many of the Chinese hot sauce ingredients are antibiotic if not also antimicrobial:
garlic, ginger and the capsaicin in the hot chilies. (The hotter the chilies the more capsaicin they contain)

My hot sauce uses arbor peppers, which are ten times hotter than jalapenos (CraigDremann's Pepper Hotness Scale). While I could not prove it empirically, nothing ever grows in the sauce though it is in the refrigerator of over 1½ years. Some commercially prepared sauces, like this, on the market have added ascorbic acid presumably as a preservative. Others do not list additional preservatives.   When serving the hot sauce, I additionally mix it with soy sauce and rice vinegar, which adds salt and lowers its PH.

From: J Ethnopharmacol. 1996 Jun;52(2):61-70.

The antimicrobial properties of chile peppers (Capsicum species) and their uses in Mayan medicine

A survey of the Mayan pharmacopoeia revealed that tissues of Capsicum species (Solanaceae) are included in a number of herbal remedies for a variety of ailments of probable microbial origin. Using a filter disk assay, plain and heated aqueous extracts from fresh Capsicum annuum, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum Chinese, Capsicum frutescens, and Capsicum pubescens varieties were tested for their antimicrobial effects with fifteen bacterial species and one yeast species. Two pungent compounds found in Capsicum species (capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin) were also tested for their anti-microbial effects. The plain and heated extracts were found to exhibit varying degrees of inhibition against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Clostridium sporogenes, Clostridium tetani, and Streptococcus pyogenes.

Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman report in the March 1998 issue of the journal Quarterly Review of Biology.

“Garlic, onion, allspice and oregano, for example, were found to be the best all-around bacteria killers (they kill everything), followed by thyme, cinnamon, tarragon and cumin (any of which kill up to 80 percent of bacteria). Capsicums, including chilies and other hot peppers, are in the middle of the antimicrobial pack (killing or inhibiting up to 75 percent of bacteria), while pepper of the white or black variety inhibits 25 percent of bacteria, as do ginger, anise seed, celery seed and the juices of lemons and limes.

The Cornell researchers report in the article, "Countries with hotter climates used spices more frequently than countries with cooler climates. Indeed, in hot countries nearly every meat-based recipe calls for at least one spice, and most include many spices, especially the potent spices, whereas in cooler counties substantial fractions of dishes are prepared without spices, or with just a few." As a result, the estimated fraction of food-spoilage bacteria inhibited by the spices in each recipe is greater in hot than in cold climate”

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