A Fun and Easy Way to Make Vinegar
Making vinegar one essential ingredient needed is called mother of vinegar. This mother is cellulose and acetic acid bacteria. When the mother is added to fermented alcohol with air exposure the alcohol becomes acetic acid, the main ingredient in vinegar. Mother of vinegar can be purchased on line and at some stores that sell wine, beer and spirits. Sometimes this slimy substance can be found floating in the bottom of unfiltered vinegar, such as cider vinegar. I actually found this substance growing in my aged balsamic vinegar. At the time, some years ago, I had no idea what it was. In fact, it was revolting to have found this slimy slug-like thing in my beautiful vinegar cruet. Yes, it got dumped down the sink as I gagged … While thinking how lucky I was not to have eaten this diseased product. In reality this mother is harmless.
Just as I would only use quality wine to make my vinegar, the mother of vinegar must be of equal quality. Since my friends are not vinegar makers, not having mother of vinegar to share, and I am driven to do this from scratch with known products I am going to give making my own starter, mother of vinegar, a try. So, the purchased mother of vinegar I received today through the mail has been placed on my shelf, and hopefully will never be used.
Step 1: Making the Mother of Vinegar
Use a container made of glass, wood (prepared barrel), or stoneware (vinegar pot). Avoid metal and plastic. Glass will require a cover to block out light. A tap at the bottom of the container is advised to allow for tasting without disturbing the mother. The mother of vinegar needs to float at the top. Disturbing it could cause it to sink and become ineffective. There are attractive vinegar pots with wooden spigots. I experienced leaking and the tap breaking off when I used a wooden spigot. You will notice in my photo I have chosen a vinegar pot with a plastic spigot. The wooden one was preferable. But with reading reviews of products with the wooden tap I have found others experienced the same difficulties I experienced.
I thoroughly cleaned the pot first. I placed half strength white distilled vinegar, the other half water, into my pot and let it set for several hours. I drained this vinegar thru the spigot and then poured out what was left. Then air dried. After this process I added one tablespoon of wine vinegar, 2 cups red wine and 1 cup of quality bottled water. My pot was covered with cheese cloth and the open end top was placed to secure the cloth. The cloth with a rubber band works well too. The cloth is to keep out fruit flies but let air in. The pot has been placed in a corner of my kitchen where it will not be disturbed for the next eight weeks. Step 2 will begin the first week of December if this is successful.
The mother is beginning to form. The wine now smells of mild vinegar. I will be checking again in several weeks, and taking a taste test.