Wow, homemade vinegar. Curl your toes!

denninmi(8a)May 16, 2011

OK, I finally figured out how to convert my almost 2 year old hard cider into vinegar -- I put it into a large plastic food tub (got it at a restaurant supply, wasn't cheap but I'll have it for years) so it had a lot of surface area, then inoculated with some organic raw vinegar from Whole Foods.

It took about 5 weeks. Formed a big solid, slimy, kind of rubbery mat of "mother" on top.

I strained, pasteurized, and bottled it almost 2 weeks ago now.

I used some yesterday on a marinated bean salad/salsa kind of thing.

I must say, this stuff is STRONG. I was worried that it might not come out strong enough to be safe should I want to try pickling with it. No worries there, it just about curled my toes.

I will do the right thing and actually test it properly before using it for pickling this summer, but in a side by side taste test with commercial cider and white vinegar, mine is definitely more acidic by a good deal.

I ended up with 7 1/2 gallons.

I also saved the mother -- I cut her up into pieces and popped them into the freezer. I don't know if this will work, but I suspect it will.

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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Oooohhhh........your post got me right there at the back of my tongue! LOL

I'll bet that will make some killer Dill Pickles!
Let us know your acidity when you test it...I am curious and would love to know.

When you say you "inoculated" with organic from the store, do you mean you just dumped some in with your cider?

Making my own vinegar is something I haven't tried, yet, but would like to one of these days.

Deanna

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 7:32PM
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denninmi(8a)

Yes, I bought a pint of organic raw vinegar at Whole Foods. Shook it up because it had a little "stuff" in the bottom, then just poured it in and stirred it together.

It did the trick all right.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:15AM
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david52_gw

This is interesting. The best tasting pickles I can make, far and away, are done with the raw organic cider vinegar, but that stuff costs a small fortune when scaled up to making dozens of qts. I get around this by diluting the good stuff with standard supermarket cider - not as good, but still pretty good.

However, I can buy heat pasteurized / refrigerated apple cider in season, for 4 or 5 bucks a gallon, and if I could use that to make my own hard cider, then turn it into vinegar.

I think I'd best run this up the flagpole and see if it passes the Dear Wife-rolling-her-eyes-seal-of-approval before setting this all up........

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:34AM
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jxbrown(z10/24 SD, CA)

I've been making red wine vinegar for a couple of years now. I started with a cup of Bragg's apple cider vinegar and a cup of red wine and I feed it with wine when I have an unfinished bottle. It's good.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 10:46PM
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tracydr(9b)

I'd rather have hard cider. Yum!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 8:46PM
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tracydr(9b)

I'd rather have hard cider. Yum!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 9:49PM
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erin_nc(7)

I've heard of adding raw apple cider vinegar with mother to regular cider vinegar. This was to offset expense of the Braggs. From what I read, the mother bloomed just fine.

Anyone tried this?

Also, jxbrown, any particular type of red wine or will any do?

Thanks!
Erin

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 12:01PM
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jxbrown(z10/24 SD, CA)

Whatever is leftover in the bottle!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 3:36AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Hmmm...
Erin, adding Braggs (my all time favorite vinegar) to store bought apple cider vinegar might be something I HAVE to try!

Braggs costs at least 4 times as much as Heinz or whatever store brand here.
If I can tone down the harshness of cheap vinegar by mixing with Braggs and giving it some time, that would be fantastic.

I can drink Braggs straight from the bottle. It's THAT good to me!
Thanks for the idea and I'll post with results as soon as I get off my duff and actually try it! LOL

Deanna

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 12:21AM
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gardendawgie(5)

I suspect a better try on saving the mother would be to put it into a glass bottle with some vinegar to keep it wet and not frozen. I believe it can last for years that way although feeding it a little would help.

I never made vinegar but always thought it would be nice. I did not realize the quality could be so good. Next project for me.

Denninmi has all the fun with these good projects. He never stops amazing me. I have to go pick some wild elderberries and make some wine then turn it into vinegar. Never knew where to get the mommie. I mean mother.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 3:19AM
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denninmi(8a)

Thanks.

My next little projects = I've got 25 Cornish X chickens and 6 broadbreasted bronze turkeys coming this week. Future food.

On the less carnivorous side, I bought 10 pineapples a couple of weeks ago when they were on sale for $1. I processed and preserved the fruit, but I put all of the cores and rinds into a big vat, added a little sugar and some bread yeast (yeah, I know, but I didn't have wine yeast), and let it go. It's definitely pineapple hard cider now. I'm going to put it all through the juicer in another week or so, then strain it and go from there. Pineapple vinegar!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:32PM
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chickenwhisperer

jxbrown, Do you make your vinegar in jars or in a wooden barrel? I'm just starting out with this, and it is very hard to find information.

I have a small amount of vinegar going, but the mother keeps absorbing almost all of it. When I add more wine, she tries to sink to the bottom of the jar.

I would like to make the vinegar from start to finish in the wooden barrel (it's only a 5 liter), but I'm not sure if I should make the vinegar in it, or just age the finished vinegar in it.

Any info at all would be very helpful.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 8:18PM
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gardencraze(9b Groveland FL.)

Hi, I'm loving this topic. I just started to make vinegar and I've got 2 containers going, one is wine and the other apple cider. I bought these containers at a resale shop and they are supper neat cuz they have a spout and holds about 2 gallons each, so I can continualy take vinegar by the spout and add more by the top. my V is not ready yet but I am anxiously wating. I bought a book on how to make and it says not to use plastic or aluminum. should use stainless steel, wood or glass containers. I'll let you all know how it turns out. thanx for sharing.

Carmen, a member in good standing since 2009

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 11:42PM
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chickenwhisperer

Hi, gardencraze! Haven't checked lately because I thought no one was reading this thread anymore. I bought (and prepared a small oak barrel). I have a small batch of vinegar that I made in a glass jar, and it's ready to use. I don't know if I should transfer this into the barrel. Also, do you know anything about raising a batch from start to finish in a wooden barrel?

I'm not sure if the wood imparts too strong a flavor if the vinegar is left too long.

I seem to be growing robust mothers. In fact, they seem to slurp up most of the wine. Is that what's going on with yours?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:38AM
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happyday(WI4a)

What happens to the alcohol? Does the vinegar yeast eat it and convert it to acid?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 2:10PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I started some Strawberry Zin + Braggs on 10-29.
As of today, not much mother, but some sediment in the bottom. Very, very mild vinegar flavor.

I don't know if it isn't done or not enough Braggs to start or is it just the nature of this wine? Hmmm?

It's going to make some awesome salad dressing though since it's light on the "tang" and pretty sweet.

I may bottle some and give it to my daughter for Christmas!

Deanna

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 8:53AM
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chickenwhisperer

happyday, I think the mother does eat the alcohol, but I've read that there should be some water added so that she doesn't get so inebriated that she quits doing her job.

I have had so much trouble getting any information on this topic.

dgkritch, I have the opposite problem with the mother. Mine grows so rapidly and so profusely that she seems to hog most of the vinegar. I started a batch with Braggs at the end of October, and Mom is already about 1/2 inch thick.

If there are any experienced vinegar-makers out there, please chime in with any and all advice you can spare.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 11:58AM
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sautesmom

How do you keep the fruit flies out?

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 10:12PM
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chickenwhisperer

Sautesmom, I cover the jar with cheesecloth using a very large rubber band, or I will use a thin piece of fabric to cover the jar. I guess you could use string to tie the fabric onto the jar, too.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 10:31AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"What happens to the alcohol? Does the vinegar yeast eat it and convert it to acid?"

Yes. Well, almost. The ethanol is made by yeast fermentation of sugars. The acetic acid is made by bacterial fermentation of the ethanol. The mother is a culture of bacteria, not yeast.

Jim

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 12:12PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Some mold might have gotten into one of my batches of squash wine. I might be making squash vinegar.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 1:29PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Not related to the vinegar, but just had an epiphany last night on covers for jars that still need air but no nasties.

Paper coffee filter and canning ring (or rubberband).

Voila! They're what??? A penny apiece? Recyclable. Readily available.
And almost cute... tee hee.

Works for me!

Deanna

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 7:30PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Deanna, that is exactly what I used, a paper coffee filter and some bread ties. And bacteria still got in, and since I didn't use a campden tablet...looks like I'm now making squash vinegar. :(

I think the filters may come with bacteria already on them, as I have also used them to line flower pots, and when I repotted, the coffee filter was loaded with fluffy white mold, which did not grow in the potting soil, just the filter. Something to think about while making your morning coffee.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 9:00PM
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chickenwhisperer

I have officially started my first oak barrel batch of red wine vinegar with a "continuous" feeding tube. I used 4 cups wine, 2 cups filtered water, 1 cup mother, 1 cup red wine vinegar (that I started in the jar).
Supposedly, I can "feed" it in about 6 weeks with wine & water.
Although the feeding tube will be below the new mother, I wonder it the mother will stick to the edges of the tube and then the mother will sink anyway.
Any info????

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:42AM
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happyday(WI4a)

Where did you get your wine? If it is store bought with preservatives, the mother might be inhibited.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:05PM
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chickenwhisperer

Happyday, I did buy the wine at a store, and it has sulfites. The vinegar I brewed in the jar was the same. The mother was actually agressive. I hope that continues in the barrel.

This is almost a blind experiment for me. Still hoping some vinegar experts chime in with advice . . .

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:18PM
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happyday(WI4a)

CW, I'm no expert, but I wish you luck.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:50PM
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chickenwhisperer

Carmen, do you just add the wine on top of the mother or do you have a tube attached to a funnel? Does she sink when you do that?
Will the mother regenerate if she sinks?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 11:46AM
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jmacdowall

I've just started making vinegar. I've done a ton of research on the Internet and have been trying to get it all in my blog. Check it out! Feel free to comment!

Here is a link that might be useful: Better Done at Home

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 3:06PM
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sfisher

I know this is a old thread, but if anyone would like to start it back up, or if any of the people that were starting vinegar back in 2011 would like to comment on what happened, I would like to here about it. I just purchased a 10 liter oak barrel, and started my mother in a quart jar. I am making red wine vinegar.

Thanks Steve

This post was edited by sfisher on Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 22:42

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 10:40PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The Natural process of vinegar starts with wine yeasts that digest sugar and convert it to ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. In this process no oxygen is let in.

Once all the sugar is converted to alcohol, if you introduce acetic acid producing bacteria and provide oxygen, the bacteria will convert the alcohol content of the wine into acetic acid. That solution of acetic acid and water is called "wine vinegar" because it was made from vine. But you can make vinegar from any alcohol( beer, vodka, ...) But to do that you have to hire some of those bacteria that do it.

CIDER is just an unfinished apple wine that at certain stage they stop fermentation, either by refrigeration or pasteurization. In the first case the yeast are there but because of cold they are inactive. In the second case they are destroyed/killed so that that the wine is still fruity. That is similar to making FRUITY wines. When it is done, they kill the yeasts and then add honey or other sweetener.

I have made wine and wine vinegar from my own wine.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 11:17PM
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ToulouseLePlot

I've been making cider vinegar for 3 years or so. Learning by doing because there is not a lot of reliable information, so I applaud the forum for sharing experiences - that's the way to accelerate the learning curve.

Picture at bottom of article was my first attempt, I now use a larger glass vessel (like you get orange-juice from at a hotel breakfast buffet) sitting on a heated mat with a single layer of muslin over the opening, which is not otherwise lidded. Heat is to keep the liquid as close to 20°C as I can, previous attempts have failed in the winter months without it.

I try and re-use the vinegar & mother from the last batch to start the next one. When I had failure I have tried several cheaper 'organic, unfiltered, unpasteurised cider vinegar with Mother, without preservatives' - the two readily available here in UK failed. Braggs has worked on all 3 occasions I have had to start over. I'm making 10 litres (21 US pints) at a time so the cost of Braggs is soon dissipated. I make the cider from apple juice from Costco.

other tips I've learnt:
◊ Start warm and keep warm (above 15°C).
◊ The bacteria does not like CO² - so shake the cider to drive off all CO² in suspension and leave some where warm for a few days (watch out for restarting fermentation).
◊ 7-8% ABV cider seems to get to 4.5-5% acid (sulphuric equivalent) - now I need a chemistry teacher to check, but I think you convert percentage sulphuric equivalent to acetic concentration by dividing by 0.6, which gives 7-8% acetic acid.
◊ To test, I get a wine acid testing kit (simple kitchen sink titration) and scale down the stuff you are testing to a tenth from the recommendations for wine.
◊ I put all the cider (I don't understand why it's called raw cider in US, it's just cider over here) in the glass vessel at once on top of a litre (2 US pint) of old vinegar and 1/4 of the old Mother. The old Mother sits at the bottom and a new one starts forming after about 2 weeks. It grows throughout the process and from when it covers the entire surface takes about 1 week per percent ABV to convert to vinegar. So 8%acetic acid takes about 8 weeks from 8% ABV cider.
◊ Put it somewhere vibration free, Mother is heavier than cider, a slight knock - or just walk past on floorboards - and the mother will sink.
◊ Sunk Mother will re-grow if there's enough alcohol left to make it viable, but you lose 2-3 weeks.

Why? Well I find cider vinegar far softer and a more attractive flavour than white and different from malt (though they all have their uses). It costs me about $0.5 per pint to make and $5 a pint to buy.

Used by itself - use a lot in cooking now, curries, soups, stews, stir-fry. In sauces for salads (green, slaw, cucumber, tomato). Pickling onions, herrings, piccalilli, chilli. Making home-made mustard (this is fantastic - if anyone's interested I'll post my recipe) and horseradish.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 4:25PM
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ToulouseLePlot

I've been making cider vinegar for 3 years or so. Learning by doing because there is not a lot of reliable information, so I applaud the forum for sharing experiences - that's the way to accelerate the learning curve.

Picture at bottom of article was my first attempt, I now use a larger glass vessel (like you get orange-juice from at a hotel breakfast buffet) sitting on a heated mat with a single layer of muslin over the opening, which is not otherwise lidded. Heat is to keep the liquid as close to 20°C as I can, previous attempts have failed in the winter months without it.

I try and re-use the vinegar & mother from the last batch to start the next one. When I had failure I have tried several cheaper 'organic, unfiltered, unpasteurised cider vinegar with Mother, without preservatives' - the two readily available here in UK failed. Braggs has worked on all 3 occasions I have had to start over. I'm making 10 litres (21 US pints) at a time so the cost of Braggs is soon dissipated. I make the cider from apple juice from Costco.

other tips I've learnt:
◊ Start warm and keep warm (above 15°C).
◊ The bacteria does not like CO² - so shake the cider to drive off all CO² in suspension and leave some where warm for a few days (watch out for restarting fermentation).
◊ 7-8% ABV cider seems to get to 4.5-5% acid (sulphuric equivalent) - now I need a chemistry teacher to check, but I think you convert percentage sulphuric equivalent to acetic concentration by dividing by 0.6, which gives 7-8% acetic acid.
◊ To test, I get a wine acid testing kit (simple kitchen sink titration) and scale down the stuff you are testing to a tenth from the recommendations for wine.
◊ I put all the cider (I don't understand why it's called raw cider in US, it's just cider over here) in the glass vessel at once on top of a litre (2 US pint) of old vinegar and 1/4 of the old Mother. The old Mother sits at the bottom and a new one starts forming after about 2 weeks. It grows throughout the process and from when it covers the entire surface takes about 1 week per percent ABV to convert to vinegar. So 8%acetic acid takes about 8 weeks from 8% ABV cider.
◊ Put it somewhere vibration free, Mother is heavier than cider, a slight knock - or just walk past on floorboards - and the mother will sink.
◊ Sunk Mother will re-grow if there's enough alcohol left to make it viable, but you lose 2-3 weeks.

Why? Well I find cider vinegar far softer and a more attractive flavour than white and different from malt (though they all have their uses). It costs me about $0.5 per pint to make and $5 a pint to buy.

Used by itself - use a lot in cooking now, curries, soups, stews, stir-fry. In sauces for salads (green, slaw, cucumber, tomato). Pickling onions, herrings, piccalilli, chilli. Making home-made mustard (this is fantastic - if anyone's interested I'll post my recipe) and horseradish.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 4:58PM
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