About Vinegar

vinegar with herbs

Homemade Vinegar

Making vinegar at home can be a rewarding hobby and you will appreciate the superb quality of the vinegar. Any fruit, grape, honey, sugar, molasses, even maple sap or syrup can be fermented to produce alcohol and then fermented again by acetobacter bacteria resulting in vinegar.

If you prefer not to get involved in the fermentation process you can still make high grade gourmet vinegars by using fermented products such as grape or fruit wines and bottled beers. The process is simple and requires only minutes to get started. Once your vinegar vat (a one gallon glass jar) is activated it will produce vinegar for as long as you supply left over wine.

Any liquid that contains low amounts of alcohol will turn to vinegar when exposed to air. Vinegar history suggests that the Babylonians used it to preserve as well as season their food. There is a record of Greeks using it to preserve food and Roman soldiers made a beverage that they used as they traveled.

Kits for making Homemade Vinegar

Our homemade vinegar kits are designed to get you started preparing your own vinegar. Each kit provides the information, mother of vinegar and helpful tools needed to awaken the bacteria and develop it into a living vinegar factor that can last for generations.

How to Make Vinegar

Simply put vinegar is the result of two-step fermentation. First is the fermentation of a sugar source (fruit, grain, etc.) by saccharomyces cerevisiae into ethanol which is the alcohol in beer, wine, hard cider, etc. The second stage is the fermentation of ethanol by acetobacter into acetic acid, the acid portion of vinegar. The sugar source used to produce the stock alcohol is what will determine the type of vinegar that results since acetobacter is common to all varieties of vinegar.

There are two methods of vinegar production:

Fast - Commercial vinegars are made with vinegar generators that produce hundreds of gallons in a short period of time. These vinegars typically consist of a light 5% acetic acid and have limited complexity of flavors.

Slow – Small scale vinegar production is based on the Orleans method. This involves placing the vinegar stock (wine, beer, hard cider, etc.) into a vinegar vat along with the vinegar bacteria (acetobacter) commonly known as vinegar mother. The vinegar vat has holes in the top for air circulation and a spigot in the bottom for drawing the finished vinegar off. This is a much slower method than commercially made vinegar but it produces far superior flavored vinegar. Depending on the alcohol content of the beginning stock, homemade vinegar can be produced in the range of 5 – 9% acidity.

How much mother is needed per gallon of red and for white wine vinegar?

When making vinegar, start by adding 1 part mother (8 oz. jar) to 2 parts wine and 1 part water if alcohol of wine is greater than 9%. When the alcohol begins to convert to acetic acid, you may continue to add more wine/water to get to the volume you want as this is a dynamic process.