Pepper Vinegar Makes Greens Better
Well it makes almost anything better if you ask me. This was a batch from last summer. We already have peppers on our plants this year so I’m excited to get the new batches jarred for Summer BBQ! Peppers can be canned using the full sterile canning methods, but with short term seasonal vinegars that will be consumed within a few months I usually don’t go through as much trouble as I would for something that I wanted to last for years. Here’s a typical recipe – and keep in mind the basic ingredients: vinegar, salt, sugar and peppers are just a starting point. You should definitely experiment with additions like garlic, peppercorns, lemon etc until you get the flavor profile you’re looking for. The recipe is very approximate and uses measures like “handfuls” because every jar of pepper vinegar is different.
Pepper Vinegar for Greens
- 1 qt Mason Jar (or 2 pt jars) (2-part lids- ring+disk – work well but are not necessary)
- 1 handful assorted peppers (long and/or thin peppers work best)
- 4 cloves peeled garlic -whole
- 1 TBSP whole black peppercorns
- 2 TBSP Kosher salt
- 1 TBSP turbinado or cane sugar
- approx. 1 qt apple cider vinegar
Start by washing the Mason jar with hot soapy water. Rinse 3 times with tap water, then and towel dry the outside thoroughly. If you want to be able to give this as a gift or keep longer then I would suggest boiling the jars and utensils according to your favorite canning technique (see link above).
Heat vinegar, salt, peppercorns, sugar over low heat, stirring gently until everything dissolves. (note: make sure you don’t put your face directly over the pot because vinegar fumes are harsh). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Slice the peppers along the long axis and pace them in the clean, dry jar – seeds and all – until the jar is full. There’s no real technique, but I like alternating colors just for aesthetic value. Then place the garlic cloves in the spaces between the peppers.
With a funnel (with an opening large enough for the peppercorns to flow through) placed in the Mason jar carefully pour the cooled vinegar into the pepper filled jar until the liquid nearly reaches the top (leave about 1/2 inch of headspace. Now drop the disk part of the 2-part lid onto the jar and press to set. This may cause some liquid to spill over so have a towel ready. Then screw on the ring part of the 2-part lid and allow the vinegar to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Wait 3 weeks (if you can) for best results. Always refrigerate unused portions when you’re done.
I use my vinegar: on collards greens, in vinegar BBQ sauce, to add zing to creamy soups, over pulled pork, on grits and anything else that could use a spicy-sweet-hot-salty kick. What do you use your vinegar on?