How to Make Your Own Vinegarhttp://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Own-Vinegar
There is an abundance of recipes on making flavoured vinegars but it is also possible to make your own vinegar at home. It can be made from pretty much any liquid containing alcohol, and the flavor of homemade vinegar is often reckoned to be far better than anything you can find at a store. It also makes a unique gift! People have been making vinegar around the world for thousands of years, why can't you?.
Things You'll NeedSmall bowl
Wide-mouthed container (such as a jug)
Storage bottle with lid
- Unpasteurized, unfiltered vinegar. It's important to use vinegar that hasn't been processed in a way that interferes with the acetic acid bacteria.
- Mother of vinegar. This slimy looking thing consists of acetic acid bacteria and cellulose. It's a natural product of the vinegar-making process. If you have a friend who makes vinegar, you may be able to get a piece of theirs, or you can make your own. You can make your own by mixing unpasteurized and unfiltered vinegar with an alcoholic liquid and putting the mixture in a sunny spot for two weeks, but in that case, you might as well use the vinegar itself as a starter; a mother will form with your vinegar that you use next time.
- Mycoderma aceti. You may be able to find it in a wine-making store. It's clear and comes in a jar.
2Prep the container. Choose a container made from glass or enameled earthenware. You don't want the container material to react with the vinegar. Aluminum, iron and plastic will ruin the vinegar. Clean it thoroughly. Pour in the starter and swirl it to coat all the surfaces so that the vessel is inoculated with the acetic acid bacteria.
4Cover the opening with cheesecloth. Tighten the cheesecloth around the opening with a rubber band or string. This will allow oxygen in while keeping flies and other contaminants out.
5Wait. Put the container in a warm, dark place and let nature do its thing. Keep the mixture between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (around 15 to 27 degrees Celsius). During the course of about 3-4 weeks, it should start forming a mother of vinegar; you can observe this if you used a glass container. The amount of time it takes for the vinegar making process, however, depends greatly on the type of alcoholic liquid you used, and how much of it you're converting. The range is anywhere between 3 weeks to 6 months.
- Some sources suggest stirring the mixture daily in order to provide oxygen, and taste testing a little bit at a time towards the end of the 3-4 week period to see if the vinegar's ready. Other sources recommend leaving the mixture undisturbed, so that the mother doesn't sink.
- If you decide to leave the mixture undisturbed, it'll be a little
trickier to see if it's ready. Smell it through the cheesecloth; it's
done when there is an intense vinegary smell that almost burns in your
nostrils. If, based on this, you taste it and it's not ready after all,
let it ferment undisturbed for another period of time, depending on how
close it is to your desired vinegar flavor.
- A container with a spout at the bottom would make this much easier, since you can taste the vinegar without disturbing the mother at the top.
6Bottle and store your delicious, homemade vinegar! Strain out the vinegar through cheesecloth or a coffee filter, separating the mother, which can be kept for making more vinegar.
- Unless you ferment the vinegar for a very long time, there is probably alcohol still left in it, which you can remove by boiling. While you're at it, you can pasteurize and reduce the vinegar, so that you can store it for longer and concentrate the flavours, respectively. To achieve pasteurization, heat the vinegar to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (77 degrees Celsius) and hold it there for 10 minutes. Crock Pots are perfect for holding food for a long time below the boiling point. Use a thermometer to check your crock pot's temperature at each setting to determine which setting is closest to 170 degrees.
- Unpasteurized vinegar can be stored in sterilized, capped jars in the refrigerator for a few months. Pasteurized vinegar can be stored in sterilized containers with tight-fitting lids at room temperature for more than a few months, as long as they are kept out of direct sunlight.
- The vinegar can be flavored as with any other vinegar if wished.
- Warning you may enjoy your product more than store bought as it was made with love for you and others the lost art of food.
The most common variation is probably cider vinegar... made from sound, tart apples. You can "do it yourself" by washing and cutting such apples into small pieces . . . skins, cores, stems and all. Make a mush of the whole business by hand or with an electric juicer and strain it through a muslin bag (you can also hand press the pulp in a potato ricer lined with cloth).
Pour the juice you collect into clean, dark, glass jugs and cover their tops with several thicknesses of cheesecloth, held in place with string or rubber bands. Let the brew work in a cool, dark place for about six months . . . then strain, bottle and cork.
If you don't want to bother with apples, just allow some sweet cider to stand in a warm place in an open jug for a few weeks. It'll gradually turn to vinegar.
The tangy liquid can also be made from apple wastes, should you be baking a lot of pies or canning peeled apples. Simply put the peelings, cores and bruised fruit into a widemouthed jar or crock and cover with cold water. Store — covered — in a warm place and add fresh peelings, cores and bruised apples from time to time. When the batch tastes sufficiently strong . . . strain, bottle and cork.
The substance that gradually thickens on top during this process is the "mother". You can save it as starter for another batch, add it to mead to make honey vinegar or use it to magically transform homemade berry, fruit or vegetable wines into wine vinegar.
Nor does the fun end once you've brewed up a few tubfulls of the plain cider, honey or wine product! All you need to make endless variations on the cider variety is a selection of dried herbs. It's easy.
Wash and strip basil, tarragon, mint, dill and/or other herb leaves from the plant stems. Spread the leaves on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and dry them in the sun or a very low oven until they begin to curl. If that's too much trouble, just hang small bunches of herbs to dry in a warm, clean attic.
Dump one packed cupful of the dried herbs (mix 'em and match 'em . . . try different combinations till you find your own special blend) into each pint of your experimental cider vinegar and pour into clear glass bottles or jars. Cover and let stand for two weeks in a sunny window. Shake the bottles once or twice a day and — when the liquid tastes sufficiently strong — strain, bottle and cap.
Herb vinegar can also be made with finely-chopped fresh chives, celery leaves or cloves of garlic (remove the garlic after 24 hours).
Be well, beloveds, and be grateful.
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