Vinegar is very useful. I am not sure it is the cure all that some people say, but I've found it the most useful thing in my pantry. It clears up dandruff, helps digestion, kills parasites, cleans the house, and helps with inflammation. I am told it does even more, but that is what I have tried.
The vinegar you buy in the store is pasteurized and distilled and that kills a lot of the stuff that is good for you. You can not buy unpasteurized vinegar, so I learned to just make my own.
I have read many methods of making vinegar, and to be honest it is a little overwhelming how much I found. Some recipes sound simple, where some sound like you need a full lab to make it.
Let me tell you how I did it:
First I started by making a Mother of Vinegar. That really was not as hard as I thought at first.
To make vinegar you have to feed the mother sugar that it can ferment to create alcohol and that is what turns to vinegar. Anything that ferments can be used, but you do want to keep the flavors of that in mind while doing it. Old, but not rotten fruit is the best thing to use. Most old fruit is starting to ferment already.
I used a glass one gallon tea pitcher with a spout on the bottom. It has to be glass or ceramic. Vinegar is an acid, so you do not want anything corrosive. I cleaned everything with a bleach sanitizing solution (1 tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon of water), and let it air dry.
(Update 3/26/14: This is VERY important. I forgot this, and I have had mold grow in my last 3 batches. I was starting to think I lost my mind.)A few weeks before starting this I bought a bunch of fruit. I let the kids help themselves but I got extra hoping some would get old. I used what was left to make the vinegar.
- 1 plum
- a handful of strawberries
- a handful of grapes
- 1 green apple
I cut everything up, making sure nothing was rotten. I covered the fruit up with wine and apple cider vinegar. I used the Bragg kind with the mother in it. For extra sugar I added some honey.
Honey can slow things down, because it does not go bad. I found it really added to the over all flavor though.
I poured in the mother of vinegar, and the solution it as made in. I used a coffee filter to cover it up. It's important that it is able to breath, but you want to keep things out. It is possible to attract vinegar flies. Store it in a warm, but not hot dark place.
Do not be surprised when you smell an alcohol smell in the room it is fermenting in. Once a week I would pull it out, and check on it. The whole family would smell and taste it. We were always surprised by how good it was!
After a week we noticed, it formed a new mother.
Every two weeks we would feed it by adding more fruit, or a little wine.
Last weekend when tasting it, we realized it was done! I pulled out the many layers of mother, and set them aside. I poured out the vinegar into the bottles, and filtered the fruit out. Since it is unpasteurized I am keeping it in the fridge.
I sure it will be great in salad dressing! I know it was good when the bratwurst was cooked in it!
I have started a lemon vinegar now, using the mother I saved from this one. I have used 8 lemons, some white wine, and some apple cider. It is almost a week old now.