Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Making Vinegar


FoodMan
 Share

Recommended Posts

I want to make vinegar! Any pointers or tips? Is there a source for bacteria starter or do I need to sample my local environ and try to find some friendly neighborhood culture? I apologize for my ignorance, my search powers have failed me beyond "set it out and see if it turns into vinegar".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to make vinegar! Any pointers or tips? Is there a source for bacteria starter or do I need to sample my local environ and try to find some friendly neighborhood culture? I apologize for my ignorance, my search powers have failed me beyond "set it out and see if it turns into vinegar".

I go to a store with some 'natural' vinegars, look for a bottle with some filmy stuff on top of the vinegar (mother), add that to your wine - and away you go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might find it helpful to read through this topic there is a lot of good information.

You can buy very good vinegar "mothers" at many internet vendors.

I use large containers with a spigot at the bottom, which makes it easier to draw off the vinegar without disturbing the mother, which floats on top. However, you can use any container that allows you to use a screen or cloth to cover the top so to avoid an infestation of vinegar flies (similar to a fruit fly.)

"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

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought a mother on ebay for 4.99.

But if you use a jug with a spigot, whatever you do BE SURE YOU ONLY USE AN ALL-PLASTIC SPIGOT!!!

After a few months, many dregs of some great wines, and almost a solid gallon of what smelled like terrific vinegar, I discovered that the vinegar had dissolved the stem of the spigot to aluminum-foil thickness. It also completely dissolved the entire nut that held the spigot to the inside of the jug.

The result was a a metallic tasting product that had to go down the drain :sad:

Good wine is a necessity of life for me. --Thomas Jefferson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

The Russ Parsons LA Times article I cited in a previous post (Russ Parsons on Acid) inspired me to make my own vinegar. I just bought 2 bottles of hearty red wine and a small bottle of raw, unpasteurized vinegar. I still need to acquire an appropriate container, cheesecloth, and some patience.

But I hesitate. I have a question: Is this going to stink up my house?

Edited by nibor (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh no, not at all. You can be standing right next to a vinegar crock and have no idea it's even there.

I've been sad all year because after I repatriated my mother to her original home, France, she croaked. After all those years in America, reportedly more than 40, a return to the old country proved too much for her. Or maybe it was the plane trip. In any case I'm starting over, although I haven't produced anything usable yet. The vinegar I started with I got from a nearby winery, and lo and behold, it has that acetone smell that I never encountered with my original mother. I'm just trying to wait it out, hoping for the best, but I'm still in mourning for my dear old mother.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh no, not at all.  You can be standing right next to a vinegar crock and have no idea it's even there.

I've been sad all year because after I repatriated my mother to her original home, France, she croaked.  After all those years in America, reportedly more than 40, a return to the old country proved too much for her.  Or maybe it was the plane trip.  In any case I'm starting over, although I haven't produced anything usable yet.  The vinegar I started with I got from a nearby winery, and lo and behold, it has that acetone smell that I never encountered with my original mother.  I'm just trying to wait it out, hoping for the best, but I'm still in mourning for my dear old mother.

Thanks Abra. I will give it a go. Sorry about your "mom".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A question: in the Russ Parsons article above, it mentions that white vinegars are difficult to sustain because of oxidation. Could somebody verify that this is the case (and it is actually difficult to do), and if so, how it is prevented in commercial settings?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

BUMP!

I've been making vinegar for a few years now, following Abra's instructions and others. All was going swimmingly until about a year ago, when things just went sour. Alright, enough of that. But seriously, I was producing jar after jar of vinegar, and giving mothers away, until things just sort of stopped. No mother would form. I thought I might have starved it for oxygen, so I got a descendant of the original mother and started again. Now I have a crock of good smelling and tasting vinegar, but it is completely cloudy. I've tried running it through coffee filters, and they just clog up right away. So, I'm going to start again. My question is, is the sludgy vinegar safe to use? And does anyone know what might cause that? Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm only guessing but I wonder if it isn't more of the aceto bacteria that haven't formed a mat yet. You haven't said how long this run has been going.

Safe, I would think that it isn't poison just because you said "good smelling and tasting vinegar".

Good Luck

Robert

Seattle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...

Bumping up an old thread. I just got a bunch of apple and pear ciders that I don't think I will drink. I started thinking that I'd like to try and make vinegar out of some cans. I read a bunch of things and feel puzzled. Ideas In Food's Aki & Alex are saying (http://blog.ideasinfood.com/ideas_in_food/2013/01/cider-vinegar.html) that just leaving the cider exposed to air would produce apple cider vinegar (I have no idea if their cider is similar enough to what I have).

 

The ciders (Finnish) I have contain a) apple wine, apple juice concentrate, carbon dioxide, apple flavourants (and sulphite), b) apple wine juice, apple juice concentrate, carbon dioxide, acidity regulator, flavours, preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium disulphite), sweeteners, colours. Could someone be so kind and give some instructions as to how I could try turn these into vinegars? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Couple things:

First, I wouldn't waste time on anything that contains preservatives. 

Second, you need alcohol to produce vinegar. Sugar is converted to alcohol during the first fermentation and the alcohol to acetic acid (vinegar) during the second.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

Couple things:

First, I wouldn't waste time on anything that contains preservatives. 

Second, you need alcohol to produce vinegar. Sugar is converted to alcohol during the first fermentation and the alcohol to acetic acid (vinegar) during the second.

 

So you wouldn't use even the first one that according to the ingredient list contains just sulphites (which I think are preservatives in there)? The cider's have 4.7% alcohol in them so I guess that's covered. And quite a bit of suagar in there as well. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certainly not ideal but worth a try if you don't intend to use the cider in another way.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

Certainly not ideal but worth a try if you don't intend to use the cider in another way.

 

And how would you recommend trying if I may ask? Put the cider in a glass jar (for a week, two weeks?) with a cheesecloth on top, in 27-30°C room temp (it's very hot in our apartment during summer) and wait? Something I'm missing, something to notice? Many thanks for your responses!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That may be enough to work, but it best to use mother....especially with the preservatives present.

It should smell of vinegar within a week or two.

  • Like 1

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the last few months, after a couple of years of vinegar failure, I've gotten up and cranking again. I used some Bragg's apple cider vinegar, which boasts that it contains a mother, and started both apple cider vinegar with cider from our trees, and wine vinegar. I'd try adding a cup or so of the Bragg's--or other unpasteurized vinegar--to your cider. I put in in a fairly wide-mouthed jar, cover it with a Mr. Coffee-style coffee filter held tight by a rubber band, and put it in a dark place. I'd say it took about a month to get a visible mother, but the speed seems to depend partly on temperature. If a lot of your liquid is evaporating, I would add a bit of water. One theory I have about my earlier failures is that the wine got too concentrated. Might not be a problem with your comparatively low level of alcohol, though.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Catherine.  Buy some Bragg's  it has a great vinegar "mother" which will convert any fruit juice to vinegar.

It takes time but you can produce some fantastic vinegars but everything you start with has to be sterilized.

Use glass or vitrified china - or the plastic containers intended for the purpose. 

NO METAL!  and glazed crockery often has microscopic cracks that the vinegar will penetrate and you will find a little or a lot of moisture under it - I speak from experience, having bought a "vinegar jar" with a tap at the bottom and fortunately had it on a tray on a shelf in my pantry because it oozed vinegar.  

 

I use more red wine vine vinegar than the others so it is in a 3 gallon container.  I can't drink alcohol (allergic) but I have wine-fancier friends who won't drink "leftover" red wines so bring me the "remains" and I make vinegar - they get a supply in return.  

If it is made and stored properly, the "mother" floats at the top of the vinegar and the clear stuff can be drawn off at the bottom with no need to strain it.  I just drew off this glass.

This one is very tasty and diluted and sweetened or mixed with fruit juice, can be served over ice makes a very refreshing summer drink.  

And when diluted and sweetened, it can also be carbonated.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 3.21.24 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 3.21.49 PM.png

 

 

  • Like 5

"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

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

My apple cider has been in its jar for about a month now, and some days ago I purchased apple vinegar from the store (not organic, didn't think it had a mother of any kind really). The cider hadn't really changed much as far as I could see, so I decided to put some of the apple vinegar in with it. Well, didn't take long until something happened.

 

Now I'm very unsure if what I have is good or bad. Hopefully the thing can be seen from the pictures. It's a white/opaque "disk" that floats on top. Is that what I want to see, or is it some sort of bad mold? 

20160625_1449002.jpg

20160625_1449121.jpg

20160626_1247176.jpg

Edited by EsaK
Added a better picture. (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure looks like mother of vinegar — that's what you want to see.

 

  • Like 1

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Somewhere in the earlier pages it was asked how could a vinegar mother be "stored", and I didn't see any thoughts on it. F.e. I have wine or fruit juices very rarely under normal circumstances, but I would hate to give up my vinegar mother. So if I want to avoid having it sit in some, say apple cider vinegar, for too long (to not make it turn watery), and avoid killing the mother, is there any way to store it? I can dry a sourdough starter and then get back to it later, but how could I store a vinegar mother to preserve it? First thought that came to mind was covering it with 10% white vinegar, don't know if that's a good or bad idea. Please help :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

If you drink wine with dinner, you might consider making your own red wine vinegar.  You need to get some vinegar mother (I suspect it's available on the Internet) and then just pour leftover red wine into a bottle with the mother.  Takes time, but the results are delicious, and it's satisfying to make and use your own.  

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...