Making hot pepper vinegar

Making hot pepper vinegar

Liz & I have been trying the Paleo lifestyle for several months, and we like the results we are seeing. Part of the lifestyle includes LOTS of leafy green vegetables like collards, mustard greens, and spinach. And nothing makes a better condiment for cooked greens than spicy hot pepper vinegar.

You will need:

  • jar
  • peppers
  • vinegar (any, though the clearer, the more visually appealing it will be)
  • For extra credit, some heat shrink cap bands and a hair dryer


These are flexible guidelines. For instance, you can use a mason jar, an old cleaned ketchup bottle, or even a bowl with a lid. Here are the details on the items we used for this batch:

A jar, we use 5 oz woozy bottles, though we also have some 1.7oz that we use as “samplers”, all left over from my hot sauce making projects. (May have to revisit that project again for you…)




Find a source of hot peppers. I picked my own from a self-watering container that I made that was patterned after an “Earthbox



Pick dem peppers!


The process:

  1. Wash, rinse, and dry the bottles. You can use your dishwasher for this.
  2. Wash and rinse the peppers (I recommend wearing gloves to prevent any burn.)
  3. Trim off the tops, I used kitchen scissors. You can also remove the tips of the peppers to allow the vinegar to get into all the nooks and crannies once it is poured in..
  4. Start putting peppers into the bottle
  5. Using the handle end of a wooden spoon, tamp down the peppers to get the bottle REALLY full.
  6. Keep adding peppers until you have about 1 inch of space left at the top of the bottle. Tamp again.
  7. Using a funnel, pour vinegar in until 1/4 inch of  the top.
  8. Put the cap on, invert the bottle, shaking gently to get the vinegar into the peppers better. Once you turn it right side up, add more vinegar if needed.
  9. Put the cap on tightly.
  10. For extra credit, put a shrink band over the cap and use a hair dryer to heat shrink it for a professional look.
  11. Set the sealed bottle in a cool, dry place out of the sun.
  12. Wait at least a week, although 3 months is better. While you wait, grow some greens in a home-made Earthbox! If you do both projects on the same day, by the time the greens are ready to eat, your vinegar will be ready to use!



The finished product!



Shelf life is probably indefinite, but we discard the peppers as the colors fade. As simple as it is to make, we have many bottles waiting to be used.

Also, as you use it up, when the vinegar level gets below the peppers, simply add more vinegar and shake well. This will extend a bottle for several months before color start to fade. Light is the biggest issue, as it speeds the fading process.





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