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Homemade vinegar  RSS feed

 
Kat deZwart
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Location: Limburg, Netherlands, sandy loam
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I'm thinking of starting my own vinegar culture. It would be a good destination for some of the lesser countrywines produced and give me a great homemade base for pickling veggies and stuff. Any experience around here?

 
John Polk
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I too have thought about doing the same thing. I think probably the easiest way would be to buy 1 bottle of vinegar that still has the 'mother' in it. Like sour dough bread, once you have the original culture, you can keep it alive forever.

We have a decent wine here for $2.49 (Charles Shaw, commonly called "2 Buck Chuck". While not fancy, it is certainly drinkable with dinner, but I feel it could be easily turned into a very good, cheap wine vinegar. Laughingly, we also have an organic raw, unpasteurized/unfiltered vinegar here, but the one pint bottle will cost 2x what the bottle of wine does.

 
Kat deZwart
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In my storebought organic apple cider vinegar there sometimes is a cloudy mass to be found. Is it always a good way to obtain a motherculture? I'm worried it might be contaminated with something like aspergillus or other nasties. I've also heard it's not possible to use a cider mother for wine or vice versa.
 
Leila Rich
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This thread reminded me I was supposed to post about making vinegar ages ago!
I have only made cider vinegar, but I'm pretty sure the process is basically the same for wine vinegar. Most info says to do fiddly things like juice and ferment the fruit into alcohol, then allow the acetic acid beasties convert it into vinegar. If I'm going to go to that kind of effort, I want a nice glass of cider at the end
I've made really good cider vinegar by throwing entire apples into a big plastic rubbish bin. Windfall, bruised, bird-pecked, codlin moth, a bit of rot, in they all went, covered with water and an old net curtain. As more apples fell, I chucked them in.
No added culture: as long as the vinegar flies and air can get in (pretty much the opposite of making alcohol), the 'mother' will form with no more help.
I've recently had a couple of cidermaking sessions. I dumped all the squeezed-out pulp into a 100 liter bin and covered it with water. It already has a healthy 'mother' on the surface.
I've never heard of vinegar going 'bad'. It's so acid, I can't imagine anything much surviving in it. Makes a great hot drink with honey though...
 
L. Jones
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Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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Simply putting unpasteurized cider in a mason jar with a bit of cheesecloth over the top (no "vinegar flies" needed, evidently) and leaving it for months worked perfectly when I was a kid. Presumably the same would work for wine vinegar. If it's already wine, put it in a jar and leave it alone.

Keep the vinegar FAR AWAY from your wine/beer/cider operations or you may make a lot more vinegar than you had in mind.
 
Leila Rich
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Yeah, I'm a bit nervous about my lovely-looking cider and country wines being in the vicinity if all that vinegar...so far so good
And I agree on the vinegar flies, I think they just hurry things along.
 
Kat deZwart
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Leila,

If you use the apples in water method, don't you get all kind of fuzzy and hairy things growing on top?

Thnx all for the feedback. I've got some dandylionwine going that I'm suspecting of going straight to the vinegarstage... Didn't have a waterlock to spare so covered the bottle with a bit of cloth and over that a plastic bag that inflates as the CO2 formes. That has worked in the past, but now it's quite funky... :/
 
Leila Rich
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No fuzz or funk Kat. My theory is the vinegar bacteria are staunch enough to overwhelm everything else. Certainly pathetic wine yeasts!
I was about to start going on about wine, but I think I'll start another thread.
 
Kat deZwart
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L. Jones wrote:Simply putting unpasteurized cider in a mason jar with a bit of cheesecloth over the top (no "vinegar flies" needed, evidently) and leaving it for months worked perfectly when I was a kid.

Do you mean sweet cider/applejuice or hard cider/applewine?

I can't believe that sweet cider won't get anything green growing on top...

anyway, I'll start with a bit of cheapo wine and keep y'all posted...
 
L. Jones
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...yet you make gingerbeer with the same method and no fear of green fuzz (substituting "tea towel" for cheesecloth.)

Ripe apples have wild yeast on them. So the sweet (raw) cider becomes hard cider. Left open to the air (ie, cloth, not airlock), the hard cider then becomes vinegar. First the alcohol and then the acid keep green fuzzies at bay - and the cheesecloth or tea-towel likely help a bit, though mostly they keep the flies out.

It works, really. If it makes you happier, start with plastic-wrap and a rubber band, then switch to cheesecloth. But you don't need to.

An interesting read in the public domain - of which there are several scans online in various library projects (of differing quality, and I don't recall which place had the best quality one I currently have, nor is it any guarantee that if I had saved the address it would still be in the same place) is the English translation of Pasteur's "Studies on Fermentation: Diseases of Beer, Their Causes, and the Means of Preventing Them" - if you can get past the archaic terminology, it's a lot of practical stuff from the man himself (and much applies to wine and cider.) If you find an online scan but it's of poor quality, keep checking - there are good ones out there.
 
Leila Rich
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I've just got rid of a failed batch at a friend's where they used my suggested method of not mincing the fruit-it really ponged!
I remembered this thread...and I retract my advice to use whole fruit--it can fail very stinkily!

I'd already started a batch of vinegar last month by roughly chopping windfall apples, dumping them in a foodsafe bucket and mincing with a stick blender
and today I made a giant vat of chutney with apples from a wild tree, so I thought I may as well add to the working vinegar

I experimented a bit by freezing/defrosting the apple scraps
This makes the fruit really easy to mince in a food processor with a bit of water,
but it's easy enough to process without, and I think it was overkill.

Mixed new into old, laid the cloth back on the floating apple mince surface to stop it rising up above the liquid

replaced the old net curtain secured with a couple of bungees (bungees are awesome!)


 
Joylynn Hardesty
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My apple tree died, the replacement is not yet fruiting. I have enough to spare if they are needed.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Ummm.... new personal rule, preview everything, even edits, before posting!

Most folks seem to be speaking of apple cider vinegar here. I have several bushels of cooking PEARS from a friend's trees. I am wondering if the peel and cores of pears also produce a nice vinegar? Can acv be used as a starter here as well? I have enough PEARS to spare if more of the actual fruit is needed than peels and cores produce. So far I have 2 gallons of cores and peels to use, with far more coming!

Also does the fruit need to be chopped in less than 1" square pieces? I'm not quite sure of the definition of 'minced'. I think of minced garlic in 1/16" pieces.

Thanks for the help in response to THIS somewhat complete thought.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Well, I discarded the peals and mushed my cores and softish pears up, and I think I have pear vinegar. Anyone have a picture of their finished vinegar? Does it look similar to a wine when it is ready to rack off?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Over due update. I strained it. It smelled like vinegar. I used it. I yet live!
 
Tobias Ber
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i ve had some thoughts.... if you make fruit juice with one of these electric machines... you ll end up with pulp. what about making vinegar with it?
2 years ago, i made ACV from apple peels and cores. i put them with water in a blender, then in a covered bucket and stirred daily to prevent mold. then added mother made from ACV. it s a mild vinegar, not very much acid and of a very light color. but that s kinda logic. there has not been much sugar, so not much alcohol, so not much acid.

next question: can cultures produce alcohol and vinegar at the same time? for example a bucket or other vessel filled with juice/pulp etc. and yeast. later add the vinegar-mother. will both fermentation processes run at the same time? so one could just add juice/fruit-pulp/sugar/carbohydrates when they are produced. just keep adding to that bucket and from time to time strain a bit vinegar as needed.

i m thinking of vinegar for household use.

have a blessed weekend.
 
Wj Carroll
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Location: near Athens, GA
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I make my own wine vinegar.  One day, I noticed a vinegar mother growing in an old bottle of red wine vinegar that had gotten pushed back in a cabinet and forgotten.  I added the contents to a pint jar full of red wine (cab).  Two months later, I had a pint of vinegar.  The mother had grown, so I started a new batch.  The results were good - a much more complex wine vinegar than I am used too and very good on salads.  Early on, it is still a little sweet, but it sours as it ages.  I have also used kombucha that has fermented too long as vinegar in pickling - plain kombucha tastes just like apple cider vinegar.
 
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