One of the great things about living in a place that puts such high value on seasonality is that we get some of the best produce in the world at the peak of its flavor. The downside of course is that ingredients like fresh chili peppers are almost impossible to find outside of summer.
This has led me to pickle, ferment, or otherwise preserve chilies when I can get them, so I have some to use the rest of the year. One of the easiest preservation methods is to pickle them in a vinegar based brine. This not only allows you to preserve the peppers, it also creates a spicy vinegar that works on anything from noodle soups like pho and ramen to tacos and stir fries.
You can use it after it soaks for about a day, but it’s best left to age in the fridge for a few weeks. It’s low pH and moderate salt content will make this last indefinitely in the fridge, and the flavor improves with age.
This brings me to the best part of this versatile condiment. You can keep adding chili peppers and top up the vinegar brine to have an endless supply. My chili vinegar has been going since we moved 5 years ago and you can check out a photo in step 3 of the recipe below that shows some remnants of other chilies like the insanely spicy Prik Khee Noo Sian, Japanese togarashi, and Serrano peppers.
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