Looking for a fun new homesteading skill? Try making your own homemade vinegar! Here’s how to make a delicious wine vinegar…
Growing, preparing, and preserving your own food are all hallmarks of homesteading, but if you’re ready to try something a little bit more “outside of the box” than simply canning tomato sauce, why not try your hand at making your own homemade vinegar?
Homemade vinegars are surprisingly easy to make, safe, and delicious. Once you start making your own vinegar, you will discover a whole world of new flavors that you have been missing when purchasing “off-the-shelf” vinegars!
There are numerous kinds of fruit vinegars that you can make from ripe fruit, but for those just starting off, an easy way to get your feet wet in the world of homemade vinegars is to start out with wine. Since wine is already fermented, you’re already halfway there, which makes the rest of the process super simple. Start with a good quality wine, as the quality of your base will determine how your finished product turns out.
Here is what you will need for a batch of homemade wine vinegar (this makes about 1 cup):
- 1½ cups dry red wine (or white wine)
- ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
The most surefire way to make vinegar is by using a vinegar mother (you can order one online). The next best way to make it is to use a heavy dose of unfiltered raw vinegar (like Bragg’s Cider Vinegar) to start a fermentation. The “mother” may not be visible in the vinegar (it will resemble a small jellyfish), but the raw vinegar should trigger a new fermentation once mixed with new wine…
Combine wine and vinegar in a nonreactive (preferably glass) container. Top with cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel; secure with a rubber band. Let sit in a dark place, stirring and tasting occasionally (like every few days), until it tastes fully vinegar-y (this could take from several weeks to several months). Along the way it might smell sort of weird, skunky, or maybe like nail polish remover as ours did for days on end. Don’t give up, just keep going. When your vinegar tastes as sharply acidic as your store-bought stuff does, you are ready to bottle it.
Pour off three-quarters of vinegar into a clean, airtight bottle with as little empty space as possible. You can continue to age it in the bottle where its aroma and flavor should continue to improve…