In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Extreme Caribbean Pickled Peppers.

pickled peppers

I grew up calling this cut-up pepper sauce, but I guess a better description for it would be pickled peppers since it resembles many of the pickled items I’ve seen in the grocery stores in North America. My mom would make this one exclusively with lime juice (no vinegar) and she would allow it to sit in the open sun for about a week or so before anyone was allowed anywhere near it. Supposedly the combination of the acid in the lime juice and the brilliant rays of the Caribbean sun gave it an extra kick and slightly cooked everything into the perfect pepper sauce. That also allowed the lime juice to become a bit thicker and the pieces of lime would become tender and absorb the heat of the peppers…. wicked stuff!

This is a modified version of that original recipe which I grew up enjoying, but it’s just as tasty and packs a real punch.

You’ll Need…

13-18 Habanero or Scotch Bonnet peppers (sliced – include seeds for more heat)
juice of 4 limes
1/4 small caraili (bitter melon) seeded and sliced thin
1 lemon or 2 ripe limes diced
3 cloves garlic crushed and sliced
1 cup of chili peppers (optional)  – remove stems and leave whole
2 Cubanelle peppers (optional) – sliced
1 carrot (peeled and sliced into coins)
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups of vinegar (see notes below)
1 cup cubed green papaya

hot sauce ingredients* If you don’t chili or Cubanelle peppers, you can use just about any other hot pepper you can source. For me it’s what I had in the garden at the time of making!

There’s no cooking involved with this recipe and it’s just a matter of slicing, dicing and assembling everything is a storage container (glass jar). So let’s get started…

Rinse the peppers under cool water and allow to drain/dry. Then peel the green papaya, remove the seeds on the inside and cube. Do the same for the caraili, but slice thin instead of cubing. (in the picture below you’ll see a lot of peppers, this was after I went through my garden and not all were used in the recipe)

trinidad peppersauce recipe

making trinidad pepper sauce

jamaican hot suace

jamaican pickled peppers recipe

making trini peppersauce

The next step is to cube the lemon, slice the Cubanelle and the habanero peppers (remember to remove the stems). It’s very important that you use gloves when handling the hot peppers, or risk having you hands feel as if they’re on fire… not to mention if you mistakenly touch your eyes (or something else lol). Also peel and crush the garlic and slice any big chunks.

trinidad cut up peppersauce

caribbean hot sauce recipe

homemade hot sauce

peppersauce recipe

The final step is to mix everything in a large bowl, then add to a jar (with a lid) and pack down using a spoon. When the jar is full, top with the salt and squeeze the lime juice directly into the jar so it catches the salt on it’s way down into the bottle. Now top off with vinegar (you will not need all 2 cups, but it’s good to have that much just in case), close tightly and give it a good shake to make sure the salt is evenly distributed and the lime juice mixes with the vinegar. Allow this to cure for a couple weeks (if possible) before using… but there’s nothing stopping you using this immediately if you wish.

So the tips again…

– leave the seeds on the hot peppers for more heat

– use rubber gloves when handling the peppers

– allow to marinate for a couple weeks for best results.

With the use of vinegar this can last very long, even when not placed in the refrigerator. If you do decide to store in the fridge, remember that it will loose some of it’s heat (don’t know so I can explain why). WARNING! If you happen to notice the top going a bit frothy, spoon out that part and place the jar in the fridge.

pickled habaneros

Please leave me your comments below, even if it’s just to say hello – it’s appreciated. And don’t forget to join us on Facebook where we share even more tips, cooking ideas and overall good foodie fun. Simply click on the image below to get started.

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  1. February 20, 2019 / 8:16 pm

    Hot, hot, hot. But I like it hot.

  2. Ann Dewey
    August 21, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    Chris, I fixed the extreme Caribbean peppers. Only problem . .
    my husband requested that I chop it in the food processor to make more of a salsa that could be eaten with fritos, pita chips, or tortilla chips. I did a small amount to see how it tasted. It was awesome. So I did the rest of the contents the same way. Biggest problem I have now is the extreme lime taste. What can I add to counteract the strong taste of lime, it is a little overwhelming.
    I did have to change the recipe to make up for the fact that I could not find carali, so I used cucumber instead.
    Also, the only papaya I found was red, & very small. So I beefed it up with cantaloupe which I had a lot of in my garden.
    I hate to add sugar, but I guess if I have to I will.
    My son said that he likes this much better than Tomatillo Salsa, and is going to make it for the next BBQ & “Hot Stuff” contest at work.

  3. bulbul
    October 12, 2015 / 2:31 pm

    I just made two and half jars (about a liter) of the stuff using chocolate habaneros I grew and – this being Central Europe – carrots, cucumbers and green Hungarian (spicy) bell peppers. Now we wait…

    • Larry Muzzy
      February 17, 2019 / 4:56 pm

      Bulbul how did your sauce turn out?

  4. December 4, 2014 / 12:09 pm

    Would anyone suggest the use of ghost peppers for this recipe???
    If not, what could I do with the summer’s crop of them?

    • admin
      December 4, 2014 / 3:20 pm

      I have used both ghost and scorpions for this recipe with much luck. Just be aware that this won’t be an ordinary pickle – really hot!

  5. Shari
    February 13, 2014 / 6:24 am

    Pardon my ignorance. How do you eat this or with what? Looks very interesting.

  6. Peter
    December 28, 2013 / 7:26 pm

    I had recently finished the last jar of pickled peppers gifted to me by my friends in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Being completely hooked I was searching for information and found your blog. After searching around town I found the caraili and carambola I needed and by the end of the day successfully made my first batch. Thank you!

  7. gowra Loknath
    October 8, 2013 / 6:37 pm

    Aye Chris,
    What kinda cut up pepper sauce is that without moorai man?? Main ingredient

  8. joyce collins
    February 6, 2013 / 12:49 pm

    will try this

  9. chris
    December 17, 2012 / 6:50 pm

    Is it best to arrange for ambulances and fire department BEFORE consuming this elixer!!!!!!

    Being of Sicilian heritage, we eat hot food, but I would never eat what my family or in laws eat. I will be making this for them, for breakfst eggs of course. For me a pinch of dried habenero is enough. For tem this is not an issue.

    Good stuff!!

  10. Linda Ferguson
    October 18, 2012 / 3:37 pm

    Thanks .Chris for all the wonderful recipes. Ever since I have been going to Trinidad to see my many wonderful friends there I have come to like the food and all that goes with it. Tks for all the wonderful recipes and for sharing them. Keep them coming. Bye for now

  11. Abhishek
    October 11, 2012 / 9:36 pm

    One of my friend gave me a full jar of this pickle and since then I was in love with this pickle! I asked my friend about the recipe but he didnot know since his mother sent it for him from Trinidad. Finally, I found this recipe here….I tried it immediately and a long story short, it turned out so good! Thank you my friend..

  12. Ashley
    August 10, 2012 / 2:28 am

    Hi Chris. Why did you leave the lime rinds on ? Isn't it going to be a little tough ? 🙂

  13. Mackie
    August 8, 2012 / 7:19 pm

    How long will this keep?

  14. Peace Freedom
    May 1, 2012 / 4:13 pm

    Greetings Chris to you and your family. Wow, man, this looks delicious, and our family just love spice and heat, you know what I mean! Thanks as always for sharing; we will definitely make this! Take care till next time!

    Peace and Love!

  15. Sandra
    January 28, 2012 / 3:12 am

    Chris, I usually make this kind of pepper but I've never used any vinegar. I use lime juice only, I also put pieces of Moorai, Carrots and onions. I call it mixed pepper but according to you Pickled Pepper, I think it's a more appropriate name so now I'll start saying Pickled Peppers. Thanks Chris and God bless!

  16. ChrisV
    September 27, 2011 / 9:11 pm

    I've been looking for something like this!!! I don't know if your familiar with the show "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern", but on a Jamaican episode, he visited this family who had a home made sauce in an old rum bottle juuuust like this except they used the sauce/juice from this instead of eating the actual pickled peppers themselves. They said it was a Jamaican hot sauce called "Gravy". Now, here's where a couple questions come in. Do you know of this "Gravy" hot sauce, and do you have the recipe/can you teach us how to make it? & How much salt do you put on top of the peppers before you squirt the lime juice?

  17. Anjanie
    September 6, 2011 / 9:11 am

    Looks good, will definitely give it a try 🙂

  18. Mrs Rahaman
    July 1, 2011 / 9:09 pm

    oh my god just what i wanted to know i have read other recipe but love this one and method. Got to pick up the pace since my mother passed Thanks who ever you are ha ha ha

  19. Gail Finlay
    April 1, 2011 / 10:32 am

    Looks Good Chris, I will try it.

  20. Gerry
    January 22, 2011 / 4:33 pm

    Just saw this recipe and it looks great…just what I am looking for. Thanks for posting your recipes. I left Trinidad 45 years ago and I am married to a non-Trini, so I need all the help I can get!!!!!

  21. lyoness
    November 3, 2010 / 1:27 pm

    Just the recipe i was searching for, thanks for posting. though i never tried it with lime before will give it a try.

  22. October 5, 2010 / 10:46 am

    Man that looks hot! Amazing though, got to try it.

  23. Bruce
    September 18, 2010 / 5:28 am

    Chris I have seen just about all of your recipes and I must say that I have not tried them yet.Oh almost forgot.I did try the green seasoning and it hit like a home one at my house.My wife loves it.We can never make enough.So thanks a lot Chris.You are a blessing in my house.

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:46 pm

      thanks for stopping by and commenting – always appreciated.

  24. Cheeya
    September 8, 2010 / 6:07 am

    Look beautiful Chris^_^

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:46 pm


  25. Vic S
    September 7, 2010 / 6:36 pm

    Is this what Trinidadians call Mother in Law? I love this stuff…

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:46 pm

      I don't believe so. This is what I know as cut-up peppersauce, I'll post a motherinlaw recipe soon.

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