February 26, 2021

Making Some Peppered Vinegar


Making Some Peppered Vinegar
This last Christmas I made my fermented hot sauce again. As part of that "build" I decided to go ahead and make some spiced vinegar instead of using just plain vinegar in the hot sauce. One of my recipients has a wife who's very allergic to one of the ingredients, so I figured the spiced vinegar would have to do for them as a gift.......also, I like the stuff so good enough reason.

The spiced vinegar is essentially a "tea" made from white vinegar, dried peppers, and some garlic. That's it. Everything was placed in a clean 5 gallon bucket with a gamma lid and left to rest for a month. The initial "pull" of vinegar was just what I could draw off the top using a big ladle and a filtered funnel to keep out the inevitable pepper that got into the ladle. I'm not sure how much vinegar was left when I was done, but I essentially had a half-full bucket of wet peppers.

Beginning of batch #3

I knew there is a LOT of goodness still left in the bucket, so I went ahead and filled it back up with white vinegar and left it to steep for two months. I only got a gallon and a half or so out of the second steeping, but they peppers still looked good so I'm going for another batch of spiced vinegar. This time though I went ahead and ran all the vinegar-sogged peppers through a food processor, which shredded it quite a bit and compacted the lot quite a bit. I added a couple more heads of garlic, sliced roughly, and almost a pound of red pepper powder from the Korean Store here in town. I was able to get somewhere between three and four gallons of white vinegar into the bucket and I'll let this last bit steep for several months for a final batch.

One thing I did do though is reserve a good bit of the pepper mash, about 2 1/2 pints worth, added two heads of garlic and a little bit of the seasoned pepper and 1.6% salt. Blended well and packed into jars I now have some Garlic Chilli paste for cooking with.

Ok....I'm sure you've gotten to this point and have been thinking...."That's nice Chris, but you haven't really given me much to go on....."

True, but while the reason I was even screwing around with this second and then potential third batch is because one of my brothers asked me if I had any more of the vinegar because he was almost out, and another had asked me how I made it. I figured I'd go ahead and hook the former up with his own setup using a 2 gallon dispenser I literally had laying around:

Pepper Seasoned Vinegar


Basic 2 gallon load-out

Dried Peppers

     1/3# Chile de Arbol

     1/3# Chile Puya

     1/3# Chile Guajillo 

4 Heads Garlic

1C Korean Powdered Pepper Flakes

2 gallons White Vinegar

2 Gallon Vessel (Bucket, Dispenser, etc)

The dried chilies, and the garlic, were purchased from the local Mexican food market and the dried pepper flakes were from the Korean market. The weights for the dried peppers are just approximate, but by in-the-bag volume I went with a ratio of equal amounts the larger Guajillo peppers and a combo of smaller Puya and Arbol peppers.  Do you need to use those exact peppers? Heck no. Grab what looks good, get extra, and just go nuts. These peppers and the garlic came out to $6.35. Now the powdered pepper flakes were $4.50 for a 1# bag and might be a bit much since I only used a cup. You could easily just grab some more/different dried peppers in its place....again, go nuts.

Looks more expensive than they are

Peel and slice the garlic, and layer what you can in your vessel. I used an extra 2 gallon dispenser I had previously used for making Kombucha (which I learned I don't care for that much). Fill that bad boy up with your dry ingredients and then fill in the rest with vinegar. You should easily get a gallon in and probably more.

Before & after on filling the dispenser

Total cost, including the jar and the extra vinegar that didn't go into the jar.....$24....and half the cost was the jar! If you want to be pessimistic and assume we only got in one gallon of white vinegar and were only able to get one infusion's worth of vinegar, then you get a cost of $12 a gallon, or roughly 10¢ an ounce. 

When you figure the cheapest peppered vinegar (only one type of pepper) runs 30¢ an ounce and the high-end stuff runs $3.00 an ounce, doing a little kitchen work not only pays off, but gets you some fancy-schmancy dividends, er vinegar.

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