With a sous vide set-up at home, creating infusions such as this strawberry-chili vinegar should be as easy as getting inspiration from practically any fresh produce at the market. Couldn’t be much simpler either, with the task needing you to take note of only two working temperature ranges:
1-4 hours at 131F-160F for water, vinegar, and alcohol infusions, and
3-12 hours at 149-176F for oil infusions
I see recipes such as this one serving much more to spark your culinary creativity rather than as a guideline that you strictly need to adhere to. There should really be no specific ingredients, rules, nor precise measurements to be followed.
Creating your own flavored vinegars at home definitely has nothing but advantages to it. Aside from being a cheaper and more customizable alternative over buying ready-made ones, it is an excellent preservation method for produce which come seasonal.
Let’s start by blending those strawberries into a smooth pulp, together with some sugar if you’re using any. I put sugar here just to be more clear with my instructions, but I’ll definitely skip going by my own preference. I’d rather have my vinegar really tart to begin with, only adding any sweetener later if needed by a specific recipe.
You can definitely add more strawberries if you like, making your vinegar only more fruity as you do so.
The strawberry puree then goes into a sous vide bag together with your choice of vinegar, which again comes down to personal taste. I do suggest that you stay away from vinegars that are too expensive, as you’ll be altering its flavor anyway. Also, try to look for a clear and neutral-colored type so you’ll end up with something as vibrantly red as you see in the photos. White balsamic, distilled cane, and white wine vinegars would be excellent choices.
I’ve added a few pieces of whole red chilis, leaving them whole, for a slight peppery flavor. If you want them for the heat, you’ll need to chop them up, then adjust in quantity to suit your tolerance for spice. Jalapeños, serranos, poblanos. . . any type of chili would do, as long as you’re familiar with the heat intensity of each.
The whole bag then goes into a 140F water bath for around 2-4 hours.
Though the relatively high acidity from the vinegar should be enough to inhibit any bacterial activity, chilling this vinegar before storing would be excellent practice of food safety.
Finally, strain the vinegar through a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth.
This vinegar would definitely keep for months, serving various recipes from pastas, salads, grilled items, appetizers. . . again, be limited only by your creativity.