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Making Vinegar


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161 replies to this topic

#1 FoodMan

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:55 PM

The bottle of red wine vinegar (Colavita brand) could not have been more than 6-8 months old, and I know I've kept vinegar longer than that. I was going to use it in some salad dressing and I noticed funky looking white swirls in it as well as thin dark red strands. When I tried pouring some, part of the white swirl came out like as a nasty mucousy substance.
What the hell is that?
I’ve bought red wine vinegar before and this never happened. Maybe I should try and post a picture since the bottle is still sitting on my kitchen counter.

Elie

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#2 Oreganought

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:00 PM

The bottle of red wine vinegar (Colavita brand) could not have been more than 6-8 months old, and I know I've kept vinegar longer than that. I was going to use it in some salad dressing and I noticed funky looking white swirls in it as well as thin dark red strands. When I tried pouring some, part of the white swirl came out like as a nasty mucousy substance.
What the hell is that?
I’ve bought red wine vinegar before and this never happened. Maybe I should try and post a picture since the bottle is still sitting on my kitchen counter.

Elie

It's a natural thing called the mother.You can strain the mother out and
put into another container and add some more wine or any alcohol and you'll
end up with a pretty good vinegar.

#3 Abra

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:29 PM

Right, that's the vinegar mother, although it's unusual to find any in a commercial product. Take it out and put in in a crock in a cool, dark place, covered with cheesecloth to keep bugs out. Start feeding it leftover red wine, just a half cup or so at a time at first. The mother will begin to grow, and over time it will grow uncontrollably. I have a French mother that I've been feeding for about 5 years, and once or twice a year I have to tear off parts of the mother and give it to friends, just to keep up. I haven't had to buy red wine vinegar once in all that time, and I'm always on the lookout for recipes that use lots of it. You'll be amazed at how delicious the vinegar is when you make it yourself, with a whole variety of wines. It takes about 6 months for the first batch to be ready, and then it's a continuous process of adding in wine and subtracting vinegar.

Have fun with your goo!

#4 tommy

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:38 PM

it's all a bit creepy, ain't it. :unsure:

#5 Dave the Cook

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:01 PM

it's all a bit creepy, ain't it. :unsure:

Yeah. I was OK with it until I came to this:

I have a French mother that I've been feeding for about 5 years, and once or twice a year I have to tear off parts of the mother . . .


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#6 Oreganought

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:02 PM

it's all a bit creepy, ain't it. :unsure:

Because vinegar is sterilized before being offered for sale, the appearance of a mother is a rare and chance event, most likely due to chance "contamination" of an open bottle of vinegar with a helpful acetic acid bacterium that was floating around in your kitchen at an opportune moment.

#7 tommy

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:05 PM

it's all a bit creepy, ain't it. :unsure:

Because vinegar is sterilized before being offered for sale, the appearance of a mother is a rare and chance event, most likely due to chance "contamination" of an open bottle of vinegar with a helpful acetic acid bacterium that was floating around in your kitchen at an opportune moment.

even worse. :unsure:

#8 FoodMan

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:07 PM

it's all a bit creepy, ain't it. :unsure:

Wow....creepy? Yes. Interesting? Very.

I need to call my wife and make sure she did not through that "disgusting stuff" away.

Thanks a lot for the help, I will make sure to try and make my own vinegar now that I have a "mother".


Elie

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Houston, TX

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contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#9 FoodMan

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:18 PM

Ok, so let me see if I understand this process correctly:
1- using a cheese cloth strain the “mother” out of the vinegar. Reserve the vinegar for regular use.
2- Scrape the “mother” into a large glass mason jar, add red wine (or champagne, or sherry,…) close the mason jar with the ring and a cheese cloth (not with lid??)
3- Put away for 4-6 months and then taste. I should have vinegar.
4- Repeat process to make more vinegar.

Does that pretty much sum it up? I am looking forward to trying it out since it is such a rare occasion for this mucousy stuff to appear. I feel very fortunate :smile:.

Tommy- I’ll send you some of my finest Champagne vinegar once it is ready.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#10 Oreganought

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:46 PM

You got it. You can also add to a puree of fruit like raspberries and turn out
some amazing vinegar as well.

#11 FoodMan

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:51 PM

Oreganought-

This keeps getting better and better...raspberry vinegar! Just to be clear, is it absolutly necessary to use the cheese cloth to close the jar? A lid would not do? I am mainly worried about the sttrong smell this might cause in my pantry if left with nothing but a piece of cheese cloth on.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#12 karma police

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:59 PM

Is the "mother" the white stuff or the dark stuff. I have a bottle of red wine vinegar that has dark specks in it but I would not call in mucilaginous (thank God). The dark specks/swirls were not there when I bought it. If I can make my own vinegar, I'm all over it though.

#13 Oreganought

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 03:04 PM

Oreganought-

This keeps getting better and better...raspberry vinegar! Just to be clear, is it absolutly necessary to use the cheese cloth to close the jar? A lid would not do? I am mainly worried about the sttrong smell this might cause in my pantry if left with nothing but a piece of cheese cloth on.

Elie

No lid FoodMan,it's a living organism and needs oxygen to thrive.

Keep it in a dark place....in a cupboard or pantry,and it's really not
going to smell too bad,you would need to get up close and personal
to really smell vinegar....unless it's in a very small space.I keep mine
out in the open.It doesn't need to be a mason jar the opening can be smaller at the
neck.Have some fun with it

#14 FoodMan

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 03:09 PM

Oreganought-

This keeps getting better and better...raspberry vinegar! Just to be clear, is it absolutly necessary to use the cheese cloth to close the jar? A lid would not do? I am mainly worried about the sttrong smell this might cause in my pantry if left with nothing but a piece of cheese cloth on.

Elie

No lid FoodMan,it's a living organism and needs oxygen to thrive.

Keep it in a dark place....in a cupboard or pantry,and it's really not
going to smell too bad,you would need to get up close and personal
to really smell vinegar....unless it's in a very small space.I keep mine
out in the open.It doesn't need to be a mason jar the opening can be smaller at the
neck.Have some fun with it

I will give it a try. I already called my wife and made sure she did not throw it away.

Thanks again
Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#15 FoodMan

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 03:11 PM

Is the "mother" the white stuff or the dark stuff. I have a bottle of red wine vinegar that has dark specks in it but I would not call in mucilaginous (thank God). The dark specks/swirls were not there when I bought it. If I can make my own vinegar, I'm all over it though.

I think it's the white stuff not the dark stuff. The dark stuff are more like wine residue. The white stuff on the other hand started out relly small and now it is a large "swirl".

Elie

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Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#16 hathor

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 03:17 PM

Completely wanting a mother of my own.
How is it possible to acquire a mother, French or otherwise? I would love to make my own vinegar...not to mention find a home for that last bit of wine in the bottle.

#17 Oreganought

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 03:19 PM

Is the "mother" the white stuff or the dark stuff. I have a bottle of red wine vinegar that has dark specks in it but I would not call in mucilaginous (thank God). The dark specks/swirls were not there when I bought it. If I can make my own vinegar, I'm all over it though.

That's probably just sediment if it's small specks just floating around.If the mother
is dark and feels stiffer to the touch,that is a sign of failing health and should
be discarded.

#18 cakewalk

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 05:46 PM

Absolutely fascinating. I feel like I'm reading a science fiction story.

Is there any way to acquire this mother, other than by accident?

#19 ninadora

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 06:29 PM

i myself have been meaning to post on this topic forever! can anyone reccomend a book or website with sickening amounts of information on making your own vinegar?

oddly enough i recently threw away a bottle of colavita red wine vinegar for the same reason...

this is cosmic, man :rolleyes:





vinegar :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub:

#20 Comfort Me

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 08:19 PM

Completely wanting a mother of my own.
How is it possible to acquire a mother, French or otherwise? I would love to make my own vinegar...not to mention find a home for that last bit of wine in the bottle.

Hathor (and Cakewalk):

I don't know where you are, but in Chicago one can purchase a quality Mother from Chiarugi Hardware, located on Taylor Street in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood. So if your city has an Italian neighborhood, that's where I would start. Or in a winemaking shop. Good luck.

Now I gotta go check my bottles of vinegar!
Aidan

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#21 foodie52

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 08:46 PM

Check out this site. There's lots of cool info here.

Here

#22 zora

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 09:42 PM

So I just march into an Italian store and ask for a mother? Is there some particular Italian name? This is all so good to know...

I would've known it before if I'd actually gotten around to reading all of this book I checked out of the library:

Lost Arts: Making Vinegar...[etc.]

The part on olives was useful...can't vouch for the vinegar part.

Edited by zora, 15 June 2004 - 09:43 PM.

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#23 divina

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 01:08 AM

I make my own vinegar and can't go back!
I only use my left over red wines ( yes I do ahve leftover wine!)
teaching cooking I buy fabulous super tuscans almost every day.. and can't drink it all!

I have a large wine demijohn , about 20 liters???

and someone gave me a mother...
I was told to add new wine, let it sit open ( or with cheesecloth), shake the bottle to get it going... and let it sit for 3 days...
then cork it.

I find that it goes beyond being vinegar ( Aceto) to being ACETONE.. with a nailpolish smell!
So when that happens you need to hsake the bottle again, give it air.. leave it open again for three days and then recork it.

I take out about 2 cups at a time and keep them in a smaller bottle, and feed the mother!

I also read that if you don't have a mother, you can make one.
Italian mamma wisdom..
take 3 dry spaghetti.. and put them in a large jar with your wine.
Let them dissolve.. and this will create you MOTHER!
Mamma Mia!
If you have some homemade vinegar, that can be used to make vinegar...
Anyone coming to Florence I have tons!

Judy

#24 hathor

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:18 AM

I make my own vinegar and can't go back!
I only use my left over red wines ( yes I do ahve leftover wine!)
teaching cooking I buy fabulous super tuscans almost every day.. and can't drink it all!

I have a large wine demijohn , about 20 liters???

and someone gave me a mother...
I was told to add new wine, let it sit open ( or with cheesecloth), shake the bottle to get it going... and let it sit for 3 days...
then cork it.

I find that it goes beyond being vinegar ( Aceto) to being ACETONE.. with a nailpolish smell!
So when that happens you need to hsake the bottle again, give it air.. leave it open again for three days and then recork it.

I take out about 2 cups at a time and keep them in a smaller bottle, and feed the mother!

I also read that if you don't have a mother, you can make one.
Italian mamma wisdom..
take 3 dry spaghetti.. and put them in a large jar with your wine.
Let them dissolve.. and this will create you MOTHER!
Mamma Mia!
If you have some homemade vinegar, that can be used to make vinegar...
Anyone coming to Florence I have tons!

Judy

Grazie mille Divinia!!!
For some reason, I've been obsessing over this since yesterday... will try the spaghetti method and report back! (Oh, a vinegar blog...how stimulating!)
We may be in Florence in the next couple of weeks...I'll let you know.
ciao e grazie!

#25 FoodMan

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:50 AM

I find that it goes beyond being vinegar ( Aceto) to being ACETONE.. with a nailpolish smell!
So when that happens you need to hsake the bottle again, give it air.. leave it open again for three days and then recork it.


Very interesting. Can you elaborate, please? Do you mean this happens when you let it ferment for a long time with the mother in the vinegar/wine? Or does it only happen if you cork it and store it with no mohter in it?

Elie

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Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#26 Oreganought

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 08:09 AM

I find that it goes beyond being vinegar ( Aceto) to being ACETONE.. with a nailpolish smell!
So when that happens you need to hsake the bottle again, give it air.. leave it open again for three days and then recork it.


Very interesting. Can you elaborate, please? Do you mean this happens when you let it ferment for a long time with the mother in the vinegar/wine? Or does it only happen if you cork it and store it with no mohter in it?

Elie

People will use different methods,but it pretty much universal that the container
be open to the air.

I use a large crock style pot with the spigot at the bottom so I can remove
some vinegar when I want and feed with more wine at the top.The mother will grow and you can cut some off and start a new batch,or just give to friends.

If you leave some vinegar out exposed to the air...like a wine vinegar,not
the white stuff it's more than likely it will start to develop a scum and develop into
a mother...not every time though.You might try a few different brands at a time.

Bad vinegar has an acetaldehyde taste, smelling like thinner. This is not wanted for good and high quality vinegar products.
The occurrence of acetaldehyde shows, that the vinegar is not yet ready. It is also an reliable method to determine, if the conversion from alcohol to vinegar was done.

Edited by Oreganought, 16 June 2004 - 08:16 AM.


#27 Comfort Me

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 08:17 AM

Googling "Vinegar Mother" came up with numerous hits for purchasing vinegar mothers, including this one. My wife loves vinegar -- she will dress a salad with just vinegar, no oil -- so I'm going to order a red and a white.
Aidan

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#28 balmagowry

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 08:33 AM

Googling "Vinegar Mother" came up with numerous hits for purchasing vinegar mothers, including this one. My wife loves vinegar -- she will dress a salad with just vinegar, no oil -- so I'm going to order a red and a white.

I gave up on my white a few years back - just wasn't happy with the flavor. But I've got a long-established (about 30 years) kick-ass red if anyone's interested - these things keep reproducing, and mine is just about ready to eat Babylon.

And I still want to know if you ever made the chess pie of your dreams!

#29 Abra

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 04:52 PM

I use what oreganought does, a large crock with a spigot near the bottom, called a vinaigrier, that I brought back from a trip to France. The thing is, you need a large container, not like a quart jar, because the mother will keep growing (as Balmagowry so vividly described) and you need to keep adding wine.

Start out with your little baby mother and add 1/2 cup of wine. In a week or two, add another 1/2 cup. When you see that the mother is coming together and forming a mat over the top, be sure that as you add wine you do so gently, disturbing the mother as little as possible. That's why it helps to have a crock from which you can remove vinegar at the bottom and add wine at the top. Keep adding small amounts of wine over the first 6 months, or the mother will starve. You can also use the vinegar before 6 months, but I found when starting mine that it didn't really get a wonderful taste until then. After that, you remove and add in a continuous cycle.

As far as I know, the mother is specific to the color of wine it lives in. I don't think you can take a red wine mother and convert it to making white wine vinegar. I do, however, add small amounts of white wine, and even sometimes a few drops of leftover dessert wines, with no trouble. The more kinds of wine that go into the pot, the richer and more complex will be the resulting vinegar.

#30 fifi

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:41 PM

I am late to this party. I have always wanted to make the pineapple vinegar that I have had in southern Mexico. Does anyone know how to do that?

I need to find a vinegar jar.

(Elie... The I-can't-remember-the name-of-to-save-me home brew shop, on Bissonnet I think, has vinegar mothers. Is that how you say that? :blink: )
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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