Ever wanted to make your own vinegar at home? We have the book for you! "Homebrewed Vinegar" by Kirsten Shockey tells you all about how to ferment your own kinds of vinegar.
She joins New Day NW to demo a simple apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar has a long history as a folk remedy for a variety of health conditions and, as a result, has achieved something akin to cult status among natural health enthusiasts. But many people don’t realize that there is a whole world of options beyond store-bought ACV or distilled white vinegar. In fact, vinegar can be made from anything with fermentable sugar, whether leftover juicing pulp or brown bananas, wildflowers, or beer. With her in-depth guide, Kirsten K. Shockey takes readers on a deep dive into the wide-ranging possibilities alive in this ancient condiment, health tonic, and global kitchen staple. In-depth coverage of the science of vinegar and the basics of equipment, brewing, bottling, and aging gives readers the foundational skills and knowledge for fermenting their own vinegar. Then the real journey begins, as the book delves into the many methods and ingredients for making vinegars, from apple cider to red wine to rice to aged balsamic. Along the way, Shockey shares insights into vinegar-making traditions around the world and her own recipes for making vinegar tonics, infused vinegars, and oxymels.
Make your own apple cider vinegar from apple juice.
Why not start with a classic? You can make your own delicious ACV from store-bought apple juice, or already fermented hard cider. If you’re starting with hard cider, skip to part two. When starting out with pasteurized juice, you will need yeast. This recipe uses commercial yeast.
Apple juice falls beautifully in the specific gravity range for the perfect alcohol to create a good acidic vinegar. I have never had to adjust with any extra sugar so there isn’t a need to measure specific gravity or Brix for successful vinegar, but if you keep a vinegar log and have the tools, you may want to keep track of this. Apples are also naturally acidic fruit. This lower pH means that you won’t have to bring the pH down with lemon juice to help get a strong fermentation without surface yeast. This, and most of the recipes in this book, don’t strictly need a vinegar starter. Vinegar will happen but in my years of making vinegar, the success rate is so much higher with the inoculation, so I don’t have any reason not to.
- 1 gallon (3.79 L) apple juice, with no added preservatives
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) wine yeast, or baker’s yeast in a pinch
- 1/4 cup (59 mL) unchlorinated water, heated to 104°F/40°C
- 1 cup (237 mL) raw, unfiltered vinegar starter (make sure it is unpasteurized), or a vinegar mother
1. Fill a sanitized 1-gallon jar with juice, leaving about 2 inches of headspace.
2. If using the wine yeast, hydrate the yeast by sprinkling it over the warm water in a cup. Stir gently, let it sit for 20 minutes, then add the hydrated yeast liquid to the jar and stir well.
3. Cover the jar with a basket-style coffee filter, a piece of unbleached cotton (butter muslin or tightly woven cheesecloth), or a basket-style paper coffee filter. Secure with a string or rubber band or the screw on the ring from the jar over the cloth or filter. This is to keep out fruit flies.
4. Place in an environment where the temperature is between 55° and 65°F/13° and 18°C.
5. At 7 to 10 days, add the vinegar starter. Replace the cover on the jar. Store on your counter or in another spot that is 75° to 86°F/25° to 30°C. Over the next few weeks, a mother will likely develop. It is a cellulose film that grows on top.
6. Check the vinegar in a month, when you should have nice acidity. However, it may take an additional month or two to fully develop, especially if your environment is cooler.
7. Bottle the finished vinegar in an airtight bottle. Save the mother for another batch or share with a friend. Use immediately, or age to allow it to mellow and flavors to develop.