Vinegar Making Overview
Vinegar has been made at home for hundreds of years. The flavor of vinegar can enhance many of the foods we eat. Making vinegar at home is not difficult. Any fruit or vegetable that contains enough sugar to be fermented can be turned into vinegar. Some examples are peaches, honey, grapes, plums, apples, oranges, cherries and blueberries. The most important thing is that the alcohol content of the product that will be turned into vinegar is about 6% alcohol by volume.
If you have a 12% alcohol wine, first dilute it with 50% water so that the alcohol content is approximately 6% by volume. The process of making vinegar is the same whether you are going to make 1 gallon or 100 gallons.
You will need the following: 1) A clean container or cask with a hole for air (for example, a glass jug, crock, food grade pail, vinegar cask or vinegar barrel). You do not want to close the container but keep it lightly covered. This allows for air transfer and keeps bugs out. 2) Vinegar culture (Mother) 3) Product to be converted to vinegar (cider, red wine, white wine, beer, fruit wine etc..)
Step One- Add vinegar culture to vinegar cask
Step Two- Add 6% by alcohol product to be converted to cask. Allow for 50% excess volume in cask.
Step Three- Cover cask with cheese- cloth, cotton ball, dish- towel etc. Do not seal cask.
Step Four- Allow vinegar cask to rest in a warm place. If you can reach a temperature of 80 – 90 deg F the speed at which the vinegar is produced will be greatly increased. Your product will be converted into vinegar in about 1 to 6 months depending upon temperature. Once conversion is complete, you may begin drawing- off some of the vinegar for consumption and then replacing that amount with new wine. The mother will grow and this will allow for more vinegar for consumption and an increased capacity for making more vinegar. Typically we sell Natural Mother of Vinegar for Red Wine Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Cider Vinegar and Malt Vinegar.
Instructions are included with each culture: Use a clean and sanitized one-gallon jar or bottle. Add to this culture 16 oz of wine and 8 oz of water. Air is needed for the conversion of alcohol to vinegar so plug the opening lightly with cotton or cover with cloth to allow air to enter. Keep in 80-90 deg F. temperatures. Complete conversion is possible in 2-3 months. Use the finished vinegar as a culture to make more vinegar using the same proportions.