By Dorian Karahalios

Whether you’re adding a dash to your campfire instant mashed potatoes or sneaking it in as dinner’s secret ingredient, pepper vinegar is a versatile and flavor-packed provision that will bring complex flavor and life to any dish. 

The beauty of pepper vinegar is in its simplicity and versatility. More heat? Super-hots like Carolina reapers pack a punch. Less heat? Habanadas provide the floral notes of habaneros without the spice kick. You’re just stuffing a bottle with things and filling the empty space with vinegar, so there’s plenty of room to play around! 

This recipe focuses on balance and flavor over heat and uses the most commonly found peppers in the grocery store. 

Ingredients: 

  • 200 milliliters apple cider or white wine vinegar 
  • 2 jalapeños 
  • 3 habaneros 
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed 
  • 1 tsp white and/or pink peppercorns 
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (optional) 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Directions: 

To provide critical smokiness, fire roast the jalapeños. You can do this directly on top of a gas range or utilizing the broil setting on your oven. Blacken the majority of the pepper skin, then scrape off most of the charred skin with a knife. Cut jalapeños and habaneros and place inside glass bottle with garlic and peppercorns. Mix sugar and salt into vinegar, then bring to a boil. Pour vinegar mixture into a 250 milliliter glass bottle with a cap. Note: Garlic may turn blue after a while. This is normal.

Campfire Pepper Vinegar // Photo: Dorian Karahalios