Vinegar: Making it is easier than you think.
In its simplest form, vinegar is alcohol that has been diluted and fermented. You can use fruit juice, fruit scraps, wine, or beer. If given the chance to ferment, they will eventually turn into vinegar.
Making vinegar that tastes great can be easy. You’ll want to start with a mother vinegar culture. A mother is a thick skin that develops on the top of the mixture when you are making vinegar. It’s a culture of live bacteria that eats up the alcohol in wine or beer. If you want to start off with a mother, check out this listing on Etsy.
An unfiltered, unpasteurized bottle of vinegar will also have the right cultures for you to get started. You can find unpasteurized vinegar like Braggs on Amazon or in your local health food store.
Homemade Vinegar Recipe
Once you have made vinegar once, you can keep the mother and use it to make a new batch. Making a new batch from here on out will take a lot less time since you have a mother culture to start with!
Got some leftover red wine or ale? These are great for making vinegar and you won’t be throwing them down the drain.
Grab the alcohol of your choice and follow these easy steps:
- If you’re using wine, dilute it by half with water. If you are using beer, you don’t need to dilute it since the alcohol content is lower.
- Pour your alcohol of choice into a clean jar or vinegar-making crock.
- Add the mother culture. If you don’t have a mother culture yet, add some unfiltered, unpasteurized vinegar to your mixture, and let it do its thing. If you’ve purchased a packet of cultures, just follow the directions on the packet.
- Cover your mixture with a paper towel or layers of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
- Place your mixture in a dark, warm location and check on it in two weeks. Do not disturb the mother that is forming.
- After a couple months, taste test your vinegar. If it still tastes like wine, leave it a little longer. Too tart? Add some water.
- Once you have the taste you’re looking for, strain the liquid through a mesh strainer and bottle your vinegar.
Making your own vinegar is tasty and ensures that you’re not consuming any undesirable additives that are sometimes found in commercial vinegar. Homemade vinegar also makes a nice gift!
Vinegar has been a staple in homes for thousands of years. It’s said that around 5000 B.C. the Babylonians were using dates to make both wine and vinegar as a preserving agent, keeping food fresh so it wouldn’t make people sick.
Vinegar residue has been found in ancient Egypt artifacts dating back to 3000 B.C. In Rome, fruit and figs were used to make wine, and the wine was used to make vinegar. Romans also used the vinegar for dunking their bread. China made vinegar out of rice wine.
Aside from culinary uses, vinegar has been used throughout history as medicine. The Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) was the first to tout apple cider vinegar as a health remedy, prescribing that it be used with honey to help with coughs and other ailments. He also used apple cider vinegar to clean wounds.
Apple cider vinegar contains very few calories and has very few nutrients, but it can kill pathogens and bacteria. This is why it’s been used as a food preservative throughout history. It has been touted as a weight loss aid, helps to reduce dandruff, and can improve heart health.
Although there is no modern research to prove these claims, Japanese scientists found that drinking apple cider vinegar helps with obesity.
Vinegar is highly acidic so drinking too much can harm the enamel on your teeth, so moderation is the key here.
There are even health drinks you can make at home from vinegar! Switzel is great for cooling you down on a hot day, hydrating you with electrolytes, aiding in digestion, and fighting inflammation.
- 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons real maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon or more of freshly grated ginger
- 4 cups water
- Mix all the ingredients in a jug.
- Serve over ice or gently warm on the stovetop for a hot drink.
- Stir well prior to serving.