I’ve learned a few things since being married to a southern (born and raised) boy for the last 20 years. If you can shoot it, you can eat it. If you can grow it, you can eat it. If it’s good, it’s even better fried. If you can cook it, cook it even longer..for example turnip greens!
Marrying a Southerner has been a culinary adventure. Since marrying into my husband’s family I have experienced more unique foods than I ever had in all the years before we met. Okra, Rutabaga, Turnip Greens, Black Eyed Peas, Chow-Chow, Squash Pickles…and many more! I also learned that southerners are rarely happy to let a side dish stand as it is, they love to cover it, smother it and add goodies like bacon drippings (I know yum!) and the ever popular hot pepper vinegar. They love to douse their greens, their peas and their fried okra in this simple yet delicious seasoned vinegar that adds just the right kick to their favorite dishes.
I will never forget the first time I had turnip greens with pepper vinegar. One would think you could not improve on turnip greens cooked low and slow in rendered bacon but adding pepper vinegar takes even the best cooked veggies up a notch. I was hooked!
I knew I had to learn to make my own pepper vinegar…paying homage to the memory of every good “southern” cook, and I found the perfect way to store it. Darling bottles from the Dollar Tree and Home Goods.
I couldn’t wait to start making pepper vinegar, and now I’m going to share this great little sauce with you…so you can too can learn how to be a true Southerner too!
Homemade Southern Pepper Vinegar-Heather from At The Picket Fence
servings vary depending on amount of peppers and size of jars
Variety of hot peppers, cayenne, chili, etc
Tsp. of course salt per 3 cups of vinegar
Glass jars with plastic stoppers (they can have metal spouts but the parts that have constant contact with the vinegar need to be non-metallic)Chopstick or other type of long thin stick that will fit into neck of jar
Wash containers thoroughly removing all soap residue. Boil water and pour into each jar, allow to cool slightly and than discard water. This will sterilize containers. Allow containers to air dry. Gently wash peppers and air dry. Depending on the desired heat you can poke small holes in some of the peppers, this allows the juice of the peppers to more thoroughly incorporate with the vinegar. (We suggest wearing gloves while handling the peppers, especially if you are going to cut into them at all) If you are desiring less heat in your vinegar sauce, than leave peppers intact.
Using a chopstick, gently push each pepper into the container, making sure each pepper will fit through the neck of the container and layering them in a pretty pattern.
Be sure to fill your container with plenty of peppers but not where any stems are coming up into the neck of the container. Place vinegar and salt into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes to sterilize the vinegar. Allow to cool slightly. Pour vinegar into a measuring cup with a lip. Placing a funnel into the container, gently pour the vinegar over the peppers.
Fill containers to the bottom of the neck, being careful not to overfill. Allow vinegar to cool. If vinegar level seems to have decreased you may need to add more vinegar, as the peppers will absorb some. After containers have cooled completely, place tops on containers and store in a cool dry place for at least a week for best flavor. Vinegar will continue to age and the flavor will intensify over time. When vinegar is used up, you can replace with more sterilized vinegar reusing the peppers. Now all you have to do is enjoy your homemade pepper vinegar on anything and everything!
Feeling a little bit more Southern now? Well, I guarantee you’ll fit right in after you start putting this homemade pepper vinegar on anything and everything you eat! Enjoy!