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Make Your Own Vinegar

Wine makers go to great lengths to prevent their precious liquid from turning to vinegar.  That would tell you that it isn't all that hard to make vinegar at home from scratch.  Being easy as it is, making good vinegar is what separates the men and the boys.

One word of warning here, though.  If you do, occasionally, make wine at home, you may not want to dabble in vinegar making lest you end up contaminating your wine area and making life miserable for yourself.

That said, almost anything containing sugar can be converted into vinegar.  Fruit juices will be the easiest.  If you have wine at home often and can save a glass from each bottle, you may enough in no time to make a vary tasty batch.

So what is needed?

Well, first, a nice container with a wide mouth.  Air is vital to vinegar production, so we want to expose the surface of the liquid to as much air as possible, but at the same time we want to keep out unwanted insects.  A glass crock would be best, followed by stainless steel.  Don't use plastics if you can help it and definitely not anything made form any metal except stainless s steel.

Now we need some fresh juices. Frozen juices will work for the most part, but my experience with bottled ones is usually dismal.  The bottled and some canned juices usually have a preservative to keep them from fermenting.

Next we need some culture to start all the mess going.  "Mothers" are available from wine supply stores and various online locations.  They will tend to do a good job.  If you don't live near a store, try a good quality bottle of unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar at a health food store.  Sometimes the acidic vinegar environment helps to keep down competition from other bacteria until the vinegar ones can flourish.

Now you need darkness.  Put the whole thing in the dark or at leat paint the jar if it is glass.  Light can tend to slow or kill the bacteria.

Also be mindful of the room's temperature. If it seems comfortable to you, the bacterial will probably like it as well.

Ok recap:

  1. Put the starter liquid into the crock
  2. Pour in about the same amount fo fruit juice
  3. Put the whole batch in a dark, cool place.
  4. Periodically check the mix until it is as strong as you like
  5. Decant it into smaller bottles
  6. Let the bottles sit about 6 months before using.

It won't seem hard when you've gotten the hang of it.  You will be really proud of what you've created.

Here are some good starters:

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