July 30, 2012

How to Make and Use Vinegar

I've nearly used up all of my homemade vinegar, and since it's summer - the season of fruit - it's time to make more.

Whenever I make jam and jelly, I put the peels and apple cores in the freezer in quart-size bags. I can either use these to make juice for jelly-making in the winter when it's cooler, or I can use them to make vinegar. So far I've made apple, pear, and plum vinegar, but I think that any fruit will work. I've read of people making date vinegar and pineapple vinegar. You can, of course, make vinegar from fresh fruit, which is what I am going to do this year: plums again. I'll cut them in half and remove the pits.

Making vinegar is really quite simple, although it took several tries before I got it right. I'm using photos from my last batch of pear vinegar in this post.

To make last summer's batch, I took a bag of pear scraps out of the freezer and let it thaw, then put the peels and cores in a clean 1/2-gallon jar, filled it with filtered water and 1/2 cup of sugar, then stirred to dissolve the sugar. I added "mother of vinegar" and what was left of my last batch of vinegar, and covered the jar loosely.


The easiest way to make vinegar is to use some "mother of vinegar" from a previous batch. If you don't have some homemade vinegar, you can buy Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (affiliate link) to use as a starter.


Stir or lightly shake the jar every day or so. Covering the jar with a thin hankie, then using a canning ring or a rubber band to hold the hankie in place, will allow air in but will keep any little vinegar flies out. This batch bubbled quite vigorously and the hankie was soiled nearly every day. Changing it often helps keeps the vinegar flies away.

After a few weeks it will begin to smell vinegary.

When the bubbling stops it's time to remove the fruit. I poured the jar's contents through a strainer into another clean jar, put a clean hankie over it, and let the flavor develop for another week or two. The mushy fruit that I'd strained out went onto the compost pile.


After a couple of days the solids will settle to the bottom. In the photo below, the top layer is new mother-of-vinegar. The layer of stuff on the bottom is fruit mush that went through the strainer holes when I strained it. On top of the mush you can see a curled-up "piece of stuff" - that's the old piece of mother-of-vinegar that I put in the jar several weeks ago.


After a couple of weeks I poured the finished vinegar into a pretty bottle, straining it through a cloth to get a clear liquid.


I moved the thick gelatinous layer of new mother to a pint jar and poured enough vinegar into the jar to cover the mother-of-vinegar so I can use it in the future as a starter for another batch.


What can you do with your homemade vinegar? Anything you'd use storebought vinegar for, both culinary and otherwise. For instance, here are 130 Uses for Vinegar. Can you think of more?


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email

20 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:54 PM

    I like this blog its a master peace ! .

    ReplyDelete
  2. Seriously???? WOW! I learn so much from you. Where do you keep the vinegar as it ferments? Cool, dark, warm, bright???? Might try this one day I buy Braggs all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, really! :-) I left it on my kitchen counter but not in direct sunlight, although it probably should have been in a cool, dark place instead. You can reuse the "mother" from the first batch on a second batch (actually, mine grows mother continually and I can't really stop it from doing so! If I remove one, another will grow in no time.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. oh i tried making vinegar - it didn't seem to work but obviously I was impatient! I thought a week at most not several. Opps! I will have to try again :) Thanks for the hop! My first time, learning so much!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so glad you stopped by the Hop this week and that you were blessed by some of the entries. Yes, making vinegar does take time; in fact, I've found that most "old-fashioned, do it yourself" things take time and I think we're just not used to that anymore. Do try again, and if you have any questions, just ask!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had no idea how to make vinegar. Thanks for the instructions! Thanks for linking up at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home!

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have wanted to make this and haven't... and haven't been sure how to do it either... thank you for the great information. I am pinning this... and putting it on Google+. Thank you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're welcome, Joy. Thank you for pinning and sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have you ever made coconut vinegar from coconut water?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't but it sounds very intriguing! Have you tried it, Sara?

      Delete
  10. Thanks for sharing, Kathy. Plum vinegar! I never thought of that. I like the idea and it just so happens our neighbor's plum orchard is plum full of plums...they're begging us to come harvest. I just haven't had the time, as we're trying to do our own harvesting. But, now I'm inspired. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sally, yes, vinegar can be made from just about any fruit. I've made apple (from peels and cores leftover from other canning!), plum, pineapple, and pear vinegar, and I've read about making date vinegar. No matter where you live, there is some kind of fruit that can be used. Go harvest some of those plums! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I use vinegar in so many things and I love the idea of making my own! Thank you for sharing this helpful tutorial with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. Sharing your post :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. You're welcome, April. Once you get the hang of it and have an established mother culture to use, it's really quite easy and is just a matter of time. Thank you so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous1:27 AM

    Does it have to be refrigerated? What happens to vinegar if it's canned?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no need to refrigerate or can vinegar. It keeps at room temperature.

      Delete
  15. Now that looks like an adventure. I think my grandson would be fascinated by the "Mother." It would be a good learning experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is an interesting learning experience. I bet your grandson would enjoy it, Kim. It's a lesson in patience and self-reliance as well as science.

      Delete
  16. I love apple vinegar, the benefit for me is real

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jual, apple cider vinegar is SO good for us!

      Delete

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll leave a comment - I would love to hear from you. If you wish to email me instead, please click here. Thank you!

Please note that anonymous comments are usually deleted unread because of the high amount of spam. Instead of commenting anonymously, consider choosing the NAME/URL option - just fill in your name, leaving a URL is optional.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...