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Making Vinegar


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Thanks Abra!

I thought there was an egullet course in vinegar making and couldn't find it. I must have been thinking of your blog!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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You can go to any health food store and find vinegar that is unfiltered and containing the mother.

All you have to do is shake it up, to break up the mother somewhat and pour some of it into a larger (dark) bottle, add your wine loosely cover it, so there can be some air exchange but stuff can't fall into the bottle (I use a 6 inch square of cloth and a rubberband) and put it in a dark, cool place. Leave it alone for a couple of months, then begin tasting a bit from time to time.

When it has the taste you like, carefully decant some into another bottle for use, being careful to keep the mother in the orignal bottle and add more wine to it so the process continues.

I have several going at the same time. Red and rosé as well as white. I have even had fair success with sherry although it takes much, much longer and you need a high concentration of vinegar and mother to start with and add only a little sherry at a time, otherwise the mother will cease working.

I happen not to drink but have a lot of friends that do and they save me their "leftovers" - wines that have been opened and left out too long, champagne that has lost its fizz and etc.

Some have begun to turn on their own but are still perfectly fine to add to the vinegar pot.

I mostly use magnum size bottles and have one jereboam.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I happen not to drink but have a lot of friends that do and they save me their "leftovers" - wines that have been opened and left out too long, champagne that has lost its fizz and etc. 

Both a wine writer I know and the aforementioned AoE article mention using the spit bucket from tastings. It seemed icky at first, but then I realized that the vinegar's going to pretty much kill anything from people's mouths. I've only accepted that on a rational level, not a visceral one.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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No thanks! And I am pretty sure that my friends would never think of drinking from a bottle. They are the types that have to have a special glass for every type of wine. God forbid they should every have to drink a red wine from a glass designed for white! Bottle drinking would be totally anathema. These are some good wines too, nothing cheap. In the last box they brought was a third of a bottle of 2001 Cotes du Rhone Rubis - they bought a case at a charity auction. They killed two bottles at a dinner party and couldn't quite finish the third so it came to me. The aroma was wonderful, wish I could taste.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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John, you'll find that being owned by a vinegar mother is like having that Amish Friendship Cake batter in your fridge. The chef is probably overjoyed to have found a new home for a part of his mother. That stuff grows like weeds, and soon you too will be palming it off on all of your friends.

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  • 2 months later...
You can go to any health food store and find vinegar that is unfiltered and containing the mother.

Exactly what I thought. I went to Sherwyn's (big health food store here in Chicago) looking for a mother. I found Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother and that was it. They may have had two kinds of red wine vinegar but neither of them had any sign of a mother.

I did end up buying red wine vinegar from Fox & Obel (what an expensive place!) and Whole Foods. Both had some kind of something in the bottom. Could be sediment but I'm hoping for more than that.

Sur La Table had a "Vinegar Barrel with Stand" on sale so I picked it up.

I'm ready to get started on making my own Red Wine Vinegar. I'm not in any hurry whatsoever as I don't use a lot of red wine vinegar. So, why am I making it? Because the pictures Abra had of a mother looked cool. And I figure if I have good quality red wine vinegar, I'll find some recipes and start using it.

- kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I have been reading about people trying to turn their red wine vinegar mother into a white wine vinegar mother and that got me thinking...

Can I turn an Apple Cider Vinegar Mother (which I can find) into a Red Wine Vinegar Mother? :hmmm:

- kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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This might be of interest.

Melinda Lee, Food New host on KNX 1070

My Webpage

which you can listen to online.

Is going to be explaining how to make vinegar during the next hour this morning.

It is now just before 9 a.m. here.

Melinda is very good at explaining how things work without visual props.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 3 months later...

Vinegar,

I tried making vinegar from mother of vinegar that I bought at a wine store and followed the instructions on the label (hey it must be right – right? :huh: ). It says fill a jar half way with wine, add the vinegar and leave the top off covered with cheese cloth. After 6 months close it up and it’s ready to go. Well it smells like vinegar, sort of tastes like vinegar but kind of “weak”. So I thought let it rest for 6 more months but this time the top was closed. That was 4 years ago and it’s still there, every once ina while I open the lid and smell, add some fresh wine and taste it. Still tastes like vinegar, smells like vinegar but not as strong as vinegar.

So my questions are:

1. How can I raise the acidity in it?

2. Can it die and how do I know if its dead?

3. On a related note - once you’ve made a flavored vinegar – does it ever go bad?

Thanks,

Jason

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If the mother's not growing, visibly and rapidly, it's probably dead. My vinegar, by contrast, needs dilution for some applications, so I think of homemade vinegar as stronger, rather than weaker, than commercial stuff. Since you're not too far from me, I'll be happy to give you some mother if we ever manage to get ourselves to the same place at the same time.

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  • 3 months later...

Okay, so how do I get a mother? I think that's my main question. Is it possible to just set some wine outside and let it 'catch' some bacteria or does it have to be a certain kind? (I actually think it does, but I'm not sure.)

Also, I have some raspberries that aren't so good anymore. But they smell incredible!! I started to throw them out, but I then I though that maybe I could use them to make vinegar. Can I do that? (I actually really want to use them. So if there's some procedure that I need to follow instead of using the ones I already have, I'd be willing to do that.)

Thanks for the help.

-Greg

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I haven't made vinegar before but I highly recommend you check out Leeners, they have vinegar making kits.

I purchase my cheese and sausage making stuff from them and they are great, next year I plan to expand to vinegar and hot sauce. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Okay, so how do I get a mother?  I think that's my main question.  Is it possible to just set some wine outside and let it 'catch' some bacteria or does it have to be a certain kind?  (I actually think it does, but I'm not sure.)

There is a recipe for vinegar in "Foods of Naples" by Giuliano Bugialli. You are instructed to place a piece of bread in a jar, pour a bottle of wine over it, loosely cover the jar mouth with cloth, and wait for about 25 days. I guess this assumes that some of the proper bacteria are floating around nearby. I just tried this recipe last week, I can let you know if it works in about 20 days. :smile:

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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You can make a lovely raspberry vinegar by soaking your raspberries in a good champagne or other white wine vinegar. Leave them for about a month, strain, and you're good to go.

I make red wine vinegar all the time, that is, on a continuous basis, and I do recommend that you get a good mother to start with. I'll be interested to hear about the bread-soaking technique. But even with an established mother, you need to add wine and let it rest for at least 6 months before you start using the vinegar. After that it's an ongoing process of addition, use, and begging your friends to take some of your mother before it takes over the house.

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The link isn't working for me, foodie52.

You can buy vinegar mother at wine and beer making shops here. A good friend that is into beer making brought me some. I also have a bottle of "organic" cider vinegar that has grown a lovely chunk of mother.

What I want to duplicate is that lovely, mild pineapple vinegar that I have had in southern Mexico. The way I understand it, the cook throws pineapple peelings and cores into a "vinegar jar" that has a spigot on the bottom and keeps on making vinegar. I could be wrong.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Diana Kennedy, among other deep researcher/writers on Mexican cuisines, has a lot to say about pineapple vinegar. She does provide a 'recipe' or how-to for it in, I believe, The Art of Mexican Cooking, [i just checked a source - the recipe's in The Cuisines of Mexico, and it may be recapped in AoMC] and she also says that you can buy it in markets around the country. I have never successfully tracked any down, but that may just be my bad luck!

There is a fermented 'beer' made from fleshy pineapple rinds and sugar called 'tepache.' This I have made, and it afforded a mild buzz and one ferocious headache the next morning. Obviously, left to its own devices, this would become vinegar.

For pineapple vinegar, sterilize a crock or sizeable jar, and dissolve some sugar in very warm water - use the brown cones of sugar called panela or panocha, one 3 or so inch tall cone to 1 gallon of water. Wash a couple of good sized, ripe, sweet pineapples, and cut the skins off in strips - vertically or horizontally - leaving a good 1/2 inch of flesh attached. Chunk them into the sugar water, cover with cheesecloth tied around the top, or set a lid slightly ajar, etc. so nothing can get in, and put it in a warm place in the kitchen where it can operate undisturbed. A mother, a whitish, translucent, jellyfish type thing looking like it's been separated from the Mother Ship, should form in a couple of weeks. Check the vinegar, and when it reaches the degree of tartness you like (this is supposed to be known for its mild acidity and fruity taste), drain it off and refrigerate. Alternatively, you can just bottle it and keep it in the fridge or in a cool place in the kitchen.

I do know that you can keep the mother, and continue to use it for making various vinegars, but at this point perhaps one should visit The Vinegarman! I also know that vinegars are made in Mexico from fruits other than pineapple, so mango sounds quite likely.

From what I read and hear ... though haven't personally found ... this is a very common practice, pineapple being the most common/best known.

Theabroma

I hope to hear from the vinegar veterans out there.

Edited by theabroma (log)

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Just recalled this: I buy a Chinese brand of rice vinegar here in Dallas ... don't have any on hand at the moment, but will go back to Hong Kong Market and check ... but it is mild, comes in a pale green glass bordeaux shaped bottle, and it usually forms a mother. Someone got it out the other day to use, and freaked when they say this albino Dementor floating in the bottom. Don't see why that can't be used to start a batch.

I'll get back to HKMkt over the weekend and get the brand name info.

Also - Sur la Table sells vinegar (making) pots; will also check on those.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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We had a fairly vigorous discussion on this thread a year and a half ago.

If you do not have a winemaking supply near you but do have a health food store in your area, you can usually find unfiltered and unpasteurized vinegars that contain the mother and it will say so right on the label.

Any unpasteurized vinegar will eventually form a mother if it is not kept very cold. That is, if you keep it in the upper part of the refrigerator door, which is usually not as cold as the rest of the interior, a mother may form. It will form more rapidly if left at room temperature.

Some people say it is advisable to use the mother from the type of vinegar you want to produce, that is white wine vinegar for whites, red for red and so on. However I have had perfectly good results with using a mother from apple cider vinegar. As time goes on, the mother becomes more compatible to the particular type of wine in which it is working.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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andiesenji, thanks for the link to the other thread. Lots of good info in there. And thank you to everyone else for their input.

I do have more questions though. In the Good Eats vinegar show, Alton visited a vinegar maker. (Mendocino I think.) In one scene, he and the vinegar maker were looking at the mother which was in a large glass jug. If I remember correctly, the mother was laying on the bottom. The winemaker said that it was doing that because it was through converting the wine to vinegar (or something like that). And that if you add more alcohol, the mother would rise to the top. Will that be true for home batches also?

And I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but can you put a mother in 'suspended animation'? If you want to stop making vinegar for a while, how do you 'store' the mother?

-Greg

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