Monday, November 02, 2009

Make your own vinegar

A while ago, I posted about how you could make your own wine vinegar, and since then, many people have asked me questions about how to do are the questions answered:

How do you get some vinegar mother? Like that Amish Friendship Bread, it helps to have a friend that has some that can give it to you.  Unlike the Amish Friendship Bread, I have never had anyone at work try to give me some.   The fact is, unless you hang out with people that love vinegar, chances are you don't know anyone that has some to start.   No worries, though.  There's a kind of vinegar, like Braggs Organic Raw Appple Cider (with the mother) that usually is found at health food stores.

Locally, I have found it at the People's Food Coop in Ann Arbor.   Let it sit still for a while and you will see the mother - it's a sludge on the bottom of the bottle.   Carefully pour off most of the vinegar on top and reserve the bottom quarter or so of the bottle and that is your vinegar mother to start.

How do I make wine vinegar?   Take the mother and place it in a crock....I use a small one gallon crock.   I tried to use a crock with a spigot and a lid, but it didn't work well and my mother died off.  I think they need lots of air.   So, I put it in a dark place with a dish towel on the top and a rubber band to hold it on.  Add some wine.  Usually a wine glass full.   Get into the habit of pouring your "mother" a glass of wine whenever you have any.   If there's some dregs left in wine glasses, or a small amount at the end of a bottle, you can throw that in there, too.  Don't worry about germs - the process of making vinegar will take care of any germs.  Start tasting it after a couple weeks.  When it is sour enough, it's done.   You should keep adding some wine each week or so.  Taste it before you add more wine. 

Do I have to use red wine or white wine?  You can use either.  I have even mixed the two, but there are some that say that it is verboten to mix red and white wine when making vinegar, I've never had a problem with doing so.  I did once kill off a mother by adding apple cider to one that was living in red wine.

Can I make apple cider vinegar?   Yes, but make sure you start with fresh Braggs mother that hasn't been eating wine. 

Can I use other brands of natural vinegar? I've never had any luck with other brands, like Spectrum, so I stick to Braggs.

Help!  My vinegar mother is growing huge!  What do I do?  It's going to take over my kitchen.  Time to split it up.  Take it out and it will separate into layers.  Find some friends that want to make some vinegar and pass it on.  Just put it in a plastic baggie.  It's like the Amish Friendship Bread.


Buttercup said...

Wow! Thanks for this very timely post! I have wine to get rid of and a friend who has offered to give me some mother.

A question: I assume that this is continuous, add then subtract. Do you remove vinegar from the top and place into another bottle? Also, how much wine can you treat at once? I have a couple of bottles I want to get rid of. (OK, that was two questions.)

Tricia said...

So is THIS the mother that your kitchen is named for? Just kidding.

I've seen sludge at the bottom of vinegar bottles, I had no idea that was the mother! Or wait, maybe that was sludge in apple cider jugs...