Try this easy method of making your own homemade vinegar – with just a few simple ingredients!
Homesteading involves many skills and accomplishments that you may never have thought of when you first bit the bullet and dived into homestead living! There are many proud little moments you will experience as you learn to become more self-sufficient, and provide more of your family’s needs, yourself. Making your first batch of homemade jam, for example. Or canning a year’s worth of pickles or tomato sauce. Or picking up your first few fresh, warm eggs from the chicken house!
One thing you may have never considered is making your own homemade vinegar. There are a number of ways to do this, and although the most “old-school” way to go would be to ferment everything from scratch, this can sometimes lead to unexpected (and unpleasant) results. This more “intermediate” method allows for some natural fermentation, but uses a starter “culture” of active vinegar to give you a better chance of success.
It’s super easy, and it’s also a good way to use up an opened bottle of wine, or beer that has gone flat. And, as a homesteader, you understand how important it is to avoid waste and maximize the use of your available resources!
Give this a try, and you just may experience another one of those proud homesteading “firsts,” when you dress your fresh-picked garden salad with your own homemade vinegar!
Simple Wine or Malt Vinegar
1 part unfiltered, unpasteurized vinegar with the “mother” (such as Bragg’s), and
2 parts good wine (wine vinegar is only as good as the wine it started from), preferably without added sulfites, and 1 part water
3 parts good beer, ale, lager, you name it, without preservatives
Combine the vinegar with your wine and water, or with the beer, in a large, clean, wide-mouthed glass or stainless steel container. Cover the top with cheesecloth or other clean, thin cloth to keep out flying insects (most notably the small flies I grew up calling “fruit flies” and now know are rightly called “vinegar flies” for reasons that will become obvious once you start a batch). Place the container in a dark, room-temperature place, perhaps not right in the kitchen, as a certain vinegary aroma is associated with the process.
After a few days, you should see a smooth, leathery, grayish film forming; this is normal. It’s the cellulose the bacteria produce and is called the “mother.” After a few weeks, take a taste of the liquid and see if it is to your liking. The bacteria will stop working once all the ethanol has been turned into acetic acid, but you can stop the process at any point before and until then.
When it’s ready, strain into clean jars through an unbleached coffee filter and store in the fridge. You can also pasteurize it so it will keep at room temperature: Set the jars in a large pot of cold water on the stove, bring the water slowly just to simmering and turn it off. Cap the jars, take them out of the water, and let them cool. Keep one container of unpasteurized vinegar in the fridge to use for your next starter.
Get more info + learn how to make apple cider vinegar and white vinegar at RodalesOrganicLife.com…