Index of Thoughts

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Make your own Vinegar

I am pretty excited to finally share with you my Made From Scratch Vinegar that I started back in the summer!!  What a fun, inexpensive project.  The first time that I tried it was a miserable failure.  I found that there weren't any really good tutorials out there on making vinegar from scratch.  I got a little advice from here and there but not just one great site!  So, I am sharing all the correct info here.  There are lots of sites giving FALSE info!!

Here is a how to make Fruit Scrap Vinegar:

  • You can use just about any scraps from fruit that you would normally throw away.  You can use fruit that is bruised or starting to go bad too.  I used pineapple & mango scraps first.  I also have another 5 gallon batch of apple cider vinegar going too from all the bruised apples that I got from my mom's tree.  Just roughly cut them up first.  You can use anything with sugar in it.  If you are using wine, make sure you dilute it good so the alcohol doesn't kill the bacteria.
  • Put the scraps about half way in a good large jar with a wide mouth opening so enough air can circulate in.  I read that glass or enameled ware is the preferred choice but I have my apple cider going in a plastic 5 gallon bucket.  I will update this post to see if it does spoil it.  Some say that it will react with other materials.  Also make sure your glass is clean.  **Update:  The plastic did not react with the vinegar!  Yeah!!  But metal does react.
  • Then fill up the jar with water leaving a good head space.
  • Then you have to inoculate the mixture with the Mother.  This is what they call Acetobacter which turns sugar into vinegar.  It is a mucousy, cellulose looking glob.  You can order it or just inoculate it with some Bragg's vinegar with the mother in it.  I added about 1/3 cup to my gallon jar.  **Note: Other blogs & tutorials out there say that you can just let it happen naturally & not inoculate but that is not the case.  My attempts at that failed.  It can happen of course but how do you know that Acetobacter is around in your scraps. 

  • Now you want to cover the top with cheesecloth and a rubber band so dust or fruit flies don't get in.  Acetobacter needs air to ferment and also put it in a dark room temperature spot.  The bacteria is light sensitive.  It will have an odor but it didn't bother me that much.

  • Below is a picture of what should be happening after a day or so.  There will be lots of bubbling and fizzing going on.  That means it is working!!

  • After a couple of weeks the mother will start growing on the top.  You can see the layer here.  It is a real icky boogey looking thing. **Note: If mold has started growing then dump it immediately!  I read in many other tutorials to skim it off that it is fine.  It is NOT fine at all.  If you aren't sure then dump it.  If it doesn't look like a gross cellulose booger then it didn't work.

  • When the water has turned colors have a couple of weeks or so, then you can remove the fruit scraps and toss them.  Recover the vinegar with your cheesecloth and place back in your spot.  Let it sit for a couple of more months.  Some say that it is finished when the mother sinks to the bottom.  Others say that is finished when you can taste & smell the vinegar.  I started mine in the beginning of August and I filtered off the mother and capped it yesterday (10/22/12).
  • I saved the mother so I can inoculate other batches without using Bragg's.  I will just keep feeding it sugared water using juices, honey water, etc....  And I will keep the cheesecloth on it and in a dark spot in my pantry.  I will probably feed it every month or so.
    The mother that I filtered off at the end.  
  • Here is my finished Fruit Scrap Vinegar below.  I tasted it and it is pretty strong but you can definitely taste the pineapple.  I could use it now but I think that I will let it age some more first.  Aging it will really let the flavor develop more and it won't be so pungent.  **Note:  If you plan on canning or preserving with your vinegar, you have to make sure that it is at least 4% acetic acid.  You would have to titrate it to find out.  If you want here is a tutorial.

I can't wait to taste my homemade vinegar in several months or even a year!  What a treat.  It already has such an amazing flavor compared to the chemically made store bought stuff!

I entered my post to one of my favorite blogs, Small Family Footprint. They are having a special post on favorite sustainable living. Go check it out & vote for my Vinegar!!
Click HERE to VOTE & check out some other cool ideas!!

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