Continuing our new section of simple ways to use the produce from your garden, I have the most simple recipe ever to share with you… How to Make Your Own Hot Pepper Vinegar, or as it’s called here in Alabama, Pepper Sauce. No cooking involved, and it tastes so great on any greens or beans. We are talking truly Southern style here.
Back in eastern North Carolina where I was raised, our pepper vinegar was made with cayenne peppers and apple cider vinegar. Here is Alabama it is usually made with tabasco peppers and white vinegar. I still prefer the apple cider vinegar, but if you prefer a much milder vinegar, use the white vinegar.
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Usually one tabasco pepper plant will yield more than enough peppers for several bottles. When your peppers turn red, it is time to pick them and make the sauce. You might want to wear gloves, because the oils from the peppers is hot and you will be sorry if you forget and touch your eyes.
You can use any kind of bottle for your pepper sauce. A canning jar works well for larger peppers because of the wider mouth, but tabasco peppers are so small that you can use pretty bottles with tiny necks. A vinegar cruet always sat on our table at home and on my grandparents table. I have a small collection of these cruets and they are beautiful filled with red peppers.
- After picking or buying your red peppers, wash them gently and let them dry thoroughly.
- Drop fresh peppers into the glass jar and then cover with vinegar. ALTERNATIVE: If you are in a hurry, heat the vinegar just short of boiling before pouring over the peppers.
- Close with a plastic top. Vinegar will eat a metal lid. ALTERNATIVE: If using the heated vinegar, be sure to let it cool completely before closing.
- Place bottle in a darkish area for 4-6 weeks before using. ALTERNATIVE: If heated vinegar is used, let sit for one week before use.
You can also choose to reuse a pretty wine bottle for your pepper sauce. This one is from a local winery and I love the label so I decided to use it for my pepper vinegar. Tabasco peppers are so small they easily fit into the tiny wine bottle neck. After filling the bottle with peppers I covered them with apple cider vinegar and closed the bottle with the original wine cork.
It looks beautiful sitting on my table. In fact I never did put it in a dark place. I loved the way it looked and set it on my table from day 1. We have not used it yet though, because it takes a few weeks for the flavors to blend.
Now, just in case that you have never been to the south and have no idea WHY someone would want pepper vinegar, I’ve got some uses for you too. (Southerners can skip this part.) Pepper Vinegar is a condiment used to spice up all “greens” and beans. Use it as you would salt and pepper by sprinkling it over your collards, cabbage, butter beans, string beans and other vegetables. It gives a kick to the pot likker.*
- nonstandard spelling of pot liquor, used in the southern US.
Now that I’ve shared with you how to make your own hot pepper vinegar, you might want to take a look at more SUPER Simple Recipes from the Garden:
And if you are into fun facts and trivia information, you might want to read this article about AVERY ISLAND, where Tabasco Sauce is made and “Tabasco peppers are still hand-picked by workers who use a colored stick to match the right shade (of red).”