Homesteading Skills: How to Make Homemade Fruit Vinegar

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Got a bumper crop of apples this year? Want to preserve the health benefits of elderberries for years to come? Learn how to make your own homemade fruit vinegar with just 1 ingredient!

Vinegar is one traditional foodstuff that goes back centuries, and we still use it today in a relatively unchanged form. However, most commercially produced vinegars are pasteurized, which removes some of the naturally occurring bacteria which may be good for our health. If you are interested in health, food preservation, and self-sufficiency, you may want to consider making your own vinegar. Not only is this a cost-effective way to use up large quantities of fruit that may otherwise spoil, but it will also produce a delicious, useful, and healthful condiment with a long shelf life. Plus, it’s super-easy – especially if you’re making homemade fruit vinegar – all you really need is ONE ingredient and some time!

You can turn just about any juicy fruit (or fruit juice) into fruit vinegar. Below is a basic recipe, but for lots of tips, juicing suggestions, and interesting ideas for different types of homemade fruit vinegar, check out the Pioneering Podcast episode here.

How to Make Homemade Fruit Vinegar:

(Makes approximately 1 quart.)


  • 4 cups pure fruit juice (pasteurized is okay, but if you are using purchased juice, make sure there are NO added ingredients)


Stage One

  1. Pour fruit juice into a glass container (such as a quart-sized or larger Mason jar; unlike with other fermented foods, it’s okay if the container isn’t completely full, as there will be air circulation coming into the jar anyway)
  2. Cover the container with a breathable cloth.
  3. Keep your juice at temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, 16 to 27 Celsius for three to six weeks You should see some bubbles inside the jar during this time.

Stage Two

  1. Your juice is now close to going through the alcohol phase. Once you pass this phase, there is a new group of bacteria that come in called Acetobacter. They take the alcohol and transform that into acetic acid, which is your vinegar product.
  2. It will take about three to six times longer than the first phase of fermentation to fully finish working and transforming all the alcohol to acetic acid and to have fully formed homemade vinegar. Generally, you can expect the whole process to take anywhere from 3-6 months, depending on the type of juice and the temperature of your fermentation area.
  3. Once finished, you can store your finished vinegar in a glass container for a year or more.
Recipe Source: MelissaKNorris.com


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