Hillside Harvest Original Hot Pepper Hot Sauce Review

Hillside Harvest calls its hot sauce line “flavor forward”, and that’s certainly true. Its original flavor is a hot sauce that brings plenty of flavor to the table, with a delicious mix of apples, honey, and ginger. But how is the heat? Does it blend well with the flavor? Is it balanced? And how usable is Hillside Harvest Original Hot Pepper Hot Sauce? Can it be a daily go-to on your table? Let’s unpack what makes this sauce tick.

SUMMARY
Hillside Harvest – Original Hot Pepper Hot Sauce
4.5
$11.85 ($2.37 / Ounce)

Hillside Harvest Original Hot Pepper Hot Sauce brings serious flavor to the table — a fruity sweet sauce with serious depth. The Caribbean chili pepper natural flavors (sweet and fruity) work very well in the sauce, and there’s plenty of upper-medium heat here too.

Heat Level: Upper-Medium
Pros:
  • Serious flavor depth
  • No-sodium hot sauce
  • Heat is legit while not overtaking the flavor
  • Very usable across many food types
Cons:
  • Upper medium heat may catch some by surprise
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09/29/2022 12:05 am GMT

Table of Contents

Flavor

The ingredients list is simple for Hillside Harvest Original, but don’t let that fool you. There’s a ton of depth here. The ingredients: distilled vinegar, apples, hot peppers, honey, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and xanthan gum.

The honey and apples star here, with their flavors mingling right up top and providing a tasty fruity and earthy sweetness. Vinegar leads the ingredients list, but, in actual tasting, it is surprisingly slight. It’s enough to amplify the natural tang in those apples, which really makes the front end of the flavor profile shine here.

Then you get the heat from the Caribbean hot peppers (more on that below). It hits soon after that sweetness, but there’s plenty of depth still to this sauce. Amid that heat, the fresh ginger and garlic flavors arrive. There’s that tropical, exotic bite and a bit of pungency here. And the lemon juice arrives, adding to the tang and providing a citrusy undertone to the sauce. It’s a real journey in the flavor department, really quite unique.

Now, what may be best about Hillside Harvest Original Hot Pepper Hot Sauce: It does all of this without any sodium. That’s right, there’s no salt here at all. So, if you’re watching your salt intake, this no-sodium hot sauce should be high on your list of table sauces.

Hillside Harvest Original Hot Pepper Hot Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

The chili peppers here are a bit of a mystery. The label states “hot peppers” and Hillside Harvest’s site mentions they use Caribbean chilies. Our guess is they use scotch bonnets. This chili runs from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units, so it packs plenty of punch and the scotch bonnet’s flavor profile (sweet, tropical, fruity) maps well to the flavors in Hillside Harvest Original Hot Sauce.

And the heat maps once dilution is considered. Hillside Harvest doesn’t list the sauce’s Scoville heat range, but I’d put it at the high end of medium heat. It packs some punch. I love it (and think it pairs very well with the flavor), but it could be a little high for those used to Sriracha or Tabasco as their high end of heat on the table.

As for the eating experience: the spiciness hits you quickly and moves from your tongue to the back of your throat pretty quickly. It lingers for 5 to 10 minutes, not at an uncomfortable level of heat, but more as an ongoing warmth. I could handle a couple of tablespoons of it before I needed a couple of minutes to breathe.

Overall, this is a heat level that works very well with the unique flavors of Hillside Harvest Original. It doesn’t hold back any punches, in flavor or in heat. But it’s not so hot as to drown out the flavors. It’s just about as hot as you’d ever want to make a hot sauce, while still allowing the flavors to shine through.

Usability

The unique blend of flavors here work across many food types. I found Hillside Harvest Original works just as well on eggs as it does on tacos. I also tried it as a chicken marinade and wasn’t disappointed. It provided plenty of sweet heat and citrusy flair.

Its sweetness also makes this hot sauce an excellent option for spicing up beverages and cocktails. I didn’t try it, but I wonder what this hot sauce would bring to a nice mug of apple cider.

The bottle’s opening is the size of a dime, which allows plenty of room for the fresh ingredients to pour out. This sauce is slightly thick, so you can aim with this hot sauce reasonably well on the plate.

Collectibility

The label is classy, a black and purple design featuring a modern font. It looks good. Does it jump out at you? No, but it certainly speaks to the idea of “fresh” by focusing on the brand name “Hillside Harvest”. For a brand that’s focused on the flavors of both the hot sauces itself (including how the chili peppers impact it), that’s smart.

And kudos to Hillside Harvest, a local Boston brand, for becoming (as of 2021) the official hot sauce of the Boston Red Sox. Yup, their local hot sauces are available right there in Fenway Park. That’s a serious feather in their cap and a sure sign of their quality.

The Score

Hillside Harvest Original Hot Pepper Hot Sauce brings serious flavor to the table — a fruity sweet sauce with serious depth. The Caribbean chili pepper natural flavors (sweet and fruity) work very well in the sauce, and there’s plenty of upper-medium heat here too.

FINAL SCORE4.5
Overall Flavor5
Heat Balance4.5
Usability4.5
Collectibility4
X-Factor4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 12, 2022 to include new content.
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