Friday, April 17, 2009

Food on Fridays ~ Making Vinegar at Home

We use vinegar for many purposes, not the least of which is for cooking and making dressings. Raw apple cider vinegar renders many health benefits, and I would not be without it if I could help it! When we came back from our furlough in 2007, I brought with me a big jug of Bragg's Vinegar, which I think might be the best on the market.

...But as you can see, my jug is just about empty. I searched for a source of raw apple cider vinegar in the markets here, but all I could find was pineapple vinegar. I'm partial to the flavor of apple cider vinegar, so my only option seemed to be to learn to make it myself!

What forms vinegar from apple cider (or any other juice) is called the "mother". It is a living mass of good bacteria (and other critters), and while it is not a pretty sight, it is necessary. I asked around, and found a woman who makes vinegar, and she was willing to give me a piece of her mother (my piece pictured above).

Hers is massive. She keeps it in a big bucket and feeds it once a week with panela (a raw form of sugar) and water. As I said, I want vinegar made of apple cider, but I thought a mother is a mother... It should work with my juice, right?

So I brought it home and rinsed it out. I made fresh apple juice with my wonderful juicer and settled that little mother down into my juice, covering it loosely with a cloth. That was a little over a week ago. This is what I have now:

It has a clear, leathery film on top, which is a new mother forming. I have no idea how much time it needs to convert from juice to wine to vinegar. Anybody have an idea?

Anyway, it seems to be working, and I'm so excited!


Joy said...

What an interesting science experiment, Tammy! It reminds me of the Kombucha I made last year. Unfortunately, my Kombucha experiment didn't turn out all that great. We have amazing humidity here and I ended up with a moldy "mushroom," which was pretty disgusting! :)

By the way, I gave you an award on my blog. :)

Blessings to you & your family!

Sharinskishe said...

I have no suggestions, but this is really interesting.

I love reading and learning how to make my own stuff, buttermilk, cream of ** soup, cheese- milk, yogurt and bean, etc.

However learning about and making are totally unrelated. I just like the knowledge that if I needed to, I could make these items. I am saving my knowledge for the emergency/survival time.

If I do come across any information that may help you, I will pass it on.

Thanks for experimenting and sharing your findings.


Kimberly said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.. it's always great to hear from another kindred sister. I say amen with you to your about me scripture. Also...I would love to figure the apple cider thing out as well.. We use loads of it!

Elizabeth said...

I am all about making stuff at home. I am so interested in this...especially, as you said, for the health benefits. I'm a pretty healthy person, but I have sinus infections pretty often. ACV is fantastic for sinus infections. But to find it in my rural area with the mother for pretty cheap is nearly impossible. Let us know how it goes! I can't wait to see the results.

You also asked how long to convert from juice to vinegar? I'm no help, sorry. I have no idea!

Tammy said...

Elizabeth, when we were in the States, we bought our ACV at health food stores. Perhaps next time you're in town, you could see if there's a store that carries it. Whole Foods does, as well as the little mom & pop shops. OR you could learn to make it, with me! :o)

Finding a mother might be the hardest part of the process. I am so thankful the Lord allowed me to find that woman who had some, but if I hadn't, I probably would have used my last little bit of Bragg's as a starter.

Tracy said...

Rhonda Jean at Down to Earth has a blog full of homekeeping/simple living skills. She has several articles on vinegar.

I hope this is helpful!

Tammy said...

OH, I should have thought of checking Rhonda Jean's blog. Thanks, Tracy! :o)

Mrs. Bridget G. said...

Do you have a post on the uses of ACV? I have a bottle and don't know what to do with it!