My easy fermented fruit vinegar recipe requires only three ingredients: fruit, sugar and water. This is the perfect recipe to use up fruit scraps, overripe fruit, and any fruit you have in abundance. You can use this recipe to make homemade apple cider vinegar, apple scrap vinegar, berry vinegar, and more!
How do You Make Vinegar?
Vinegar is made via a two-part fermentation process. First, yeast consuming sugars within fruits and grains and produce alcohol; this is known as alcoholic fermentation. Second, acetic acid bacteria consume the alcohol from step one and convert it into acetic acid. Once all the alcohol is metabolized by bacteria and converted into acetic acid, you have vinegar. To make vinegar at home, you first essentially make wild fermented fruit wine, and then that wine turns to vinegar! You can see in this image that the vinegar mother has formed.
It is the floaty white pieces in between the apples.
How to Make Vinegar from Fruit
It is so easy to make vinegar from fruit. You only need three ingredients: fruit, sugar, and water. It helps if you have some raw apple cider vinegar with the mother as a starter, but it is not necessary. You can use pretty much any type of fruit to make vinegar. I suggest sticking to high fructose fruits and staying away from high sorbitol fruits. These are two types of fermentable sugars found in fruits, and high sorbitol fruits tend to cause kham yeast. These are my favorite fruits to use:
To make vinegar from fruit, you just need a good bit of whatever fruit you want to use, water, and some organic cane sugar. You also need a large glass jar. For this recipe, I suggest a gallon glass jar and a cloth cover with a rubber band. You have to use a cloth lid when making vinegar because acetic acid bacteria require oxygen to convert alcohol into acetic acid. I usually make cloth lids for fermentation by cutting up old t-shirts.
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar
There is a slight difference between apple cider vinegar and apple scrap vinegar. The recipe in this blog post is more similar to an apple scrap vinegar, even though I use the whole fruit and not just scraps. In order to make “true” apple cider vinegar, you need to first make apple cider, and then change that apple cider into vinegar. Here’s my blog recipe for making apple cider at home. Once you make apple cider, you can turn it into vinegar by adding a vinegar mother and covering with a cloth lid. It should take about 4 to 6 weeks to turn the apple cider into vinegar. I think my recipe (below) is easier and more functional for making vinegar at home. It’s definitely easier than going through the whole process of making cider first. It is slightly less acidic than apple cider vinegar, but still delicious. Plus, this method is applicable to many types of fruit or mixes of fruits.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
I still call the vinegar I make using this recipe “apple cider vinegar” when I make it with apples. It tastes almost exactly like the ACV I buy at trader Joe’s, and I bottle it in recycled apple cider vinegar bottles from the store. The keys to remember when making ACV or any fruit vinegar at home:
- Stir the vinegar once daily. Remove the cloth lid, give it a good stir, replace the lid and repeat daily until you strain the vinegar.
- You must use a breathable cloth lid. The microbes involved in vinegar production require oxygen to convert alcohol to acetic acid.
- Use a clean glass container. It is best to use glass when fermenting acidic vinegar. Clean your equipment well before getting started.
What do you use fruit vinegar for?
I use my homemade fruit vinegar in any recipe where I would use store bought vinegar. Since fruit varies in sugar content depending on ripeness, the acidity of each person’s vinegar will vary a bit depending on the fruit used. It may or may not not be adequate for pickling and canning pickles. To make a strongly acidic vinegar you can use more sugar, and use fruits high in fructose, like mangoes. You can also test the pH with a pH strip to see if it is good for pickling/canning. Vinegar that is safe to use in pickling recipes should be approximately 2.4 pH (about 5% acidity). Here are my favorite ways to use homemade vinegar:
- for homemade salad dressing
- in homemade bone broth
- in heirloom culturing recipes like this fermented cherry tomatoes recipe
- in mineral-rich hydrating drinks (I like to mix a tablespoon of fruit vinegar into a quart of water with a splash of coconut water, orange juice and a pinch of sea salt for a homemade hydrating “gatorade”)
How to Make Vinegar from Scratch
My easy fermented fruit vinegar recipe requires only three ingredients: fruit, sugar and water. This is the perfect recipe to use up fruit scraps and overripe fruit. You can use this recipe to make homemade apple cider vinegar, apple scrap vinegar, berry vinegar, and more!
- Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- fermentation time: 9 weeks
- Total Time: 1512 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 gallon 1x
- Category: Vinegar
- Method: Fermentation
- 6 cups of fruit*
- 255 grams of organic cane sugar
- 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar with the mother
- 1 gallon glass jar
- cloth covering
- rubber band
- Please read the recipe notes.
- Chop the fruit into small chunks.
- Add the sugar and apples (or other fruit) to a 1-gallon glass jar.
- Add water to the jar until full.
- Add in a few tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar with the mother. This helps establish a good microbial community, and while it isn’t absolutely necessary to add I highly recommend it. If you’ve made vinegar before and have a vinegar mother, you can add it.
- Stir the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Place a cloth lid on the jar and secure with a rubber band.
- Stir the mixture once or twice a day and allow to ferment at room temperature for three weeks. Don’t forget to stir it. I like to just do it first thing in the morning each day.
- You should notice the mixture bubble within one week.
- After three weeks of fermentation, strain out all the fruit pieces, replace the cloth lid, and allow the mixture to ferment for 6 more weeks.
- You will notice a vinegar mother form on the surface (it looks like a kombucha SCOBY but is very light in color). You can keep this to start your next batch of fruit vinegar.
- After fermentation, bottle the vinegar and seal it with a solid lid. Store at room temperature in your pantry.
- you can use any of your favorite fruits in this recipe. High fructose and fructan fruits tend to make the best vinegar. See a list of my favorite fruits above the recipe card.
- Vinegar works best with a starter culture. While it is possible to make vinegar without it, adding a vinegar mother or raw apple cider vinegar with the mother to the mixture ensures success. If you have a kombucha SCOBY or raw kombucha, you can sub for that with good results.
Keywords: vinegar, apple cider, fruit
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist who teaches people how to make the best fermented foods and drinks for gut health. One of the easiest fermentation projects to try at home, making vinegar is a great way of using up wine or cider that has either been open a little too long or isn’t to your taste. That said, you can instead create something a little more special by using a particular style of wine, or by experimenting with beer, fruit juices and bottle ageing.
What is vinegar?
Put simply, vinegar is made by fermenting alcohol (ethanol) with acetic acid bacteria. The resulting (practically non-alcoholic) liquid contains acetic acid, which is what gives vinegar its sour taste. Because ethanol is required to make vinegar, we most commonly associate vinegar with wines and ciders, however fruit juice, grain and rice bases are all commonly used.
How is vinegar made?
If you start right at the beginning, sugar is turned into alcohol, which in turn is transformed into vinegar – not a complicated process, but it does take time. An example of this is to leave unpasteurized apple juice to ferment into cider, allowing the natural yeast to turn fruit sugars into alcohol, and then leave it even longer for the alcohol to ferment into acetic acid – vinegar. This can take anything up to a year. The quicker approach is to start with an already-alcoholic base and add live vinegar cultures. Also known a ‘mother’, these are the solid particles visible in live (unpasteurized) vinegar. This method allows you to turn cider or wine into homemade vinegar in around a month. And by choosing a specific base to start the process, you have a more control over the finished flavour.
What alcohol should I use?
You can experiment with practically any wine, cider or beer, but the more characterful the ingredients going in, the bigger the flavour coming out. Some particularly hefty red wines are too overbearing when transformed into vinegar. Interesting, floral whites – such as Muscat or Riesling – and many dessert wines make particularly fantastic vinegars, with bags more complexity than a standard white wine vinegar from the supermarket. Ideally the starting alcohol content should be somewhere between 4–10%; anything stronger should be watered down with filtered water.
Why don’t I see beer vinegar?
The answer is that you do, and you’ve probably had it on your chips. Malt vinegar is made by fermenting barley into a (fairly rough) beer, which is then turned into vinegar. This is a fairly crude ‘beer’ vinegar, and with the enormous variety of beers available, it’s definitely worth experimenting.
What about ageing vinegar?
Although vinegar can be ready in four weeks, it continues improving when allowed to age further. Sharp edges become rounder, and it takes on a more complex set of flavours. Strain through a double-muslin layer to remove solids, pour into a sterilised jar or bottle and store in a cool, dark place – anything from 2–6 months is transformative. To further experiment with ageing, you can age in a wooden barrel or, easier at home, in a large sterilised glass jar with a few ‘oak sticks’, little wooden barrel staves specially designed for this process. Balsamic vinegar ageing in barrels (Gua/Shutterstock)
What should I do with the solids strained from my vinegar?
The solids strained from your vinegar, which can be in smallish pieces or a disc covering the surface of your vinegar, are the starter or ‘mother’. You can put these solids – along with a little of your live, liquid vinegar – straight into a new alcohol to begin the vinegar-making process again. Some people prefer to invest in an upright vinegar barrel with a spigot – a little tap at the bottom. Simply pour new alcohol in the top, which keeps the ‘mother’ fed, and draw off finished vinegar from the bottom.
How should I use homemade vinegar?
Homemade vinegar can be stronger than shop-bought, so you may want to water it down a little to taste. You may find that a flavourful homemade vinegar needs little else when it comes to dressing salads. With so much going on in the vinegar, mustard can be too much and all you’ll need is a little oil and salt. Really good vinegar – particularly something made from a dessert wine or Riesling – will not only make the most beautiful dressings, but can even be used in drinks. For a cooling summer drink, fill a tall glass with plenty of ice, add 15ml (0.5 fl oz) sugar syrup and 25ml (0.8 fl oz) of your chosen vinegar, top up with 100ml (3.4 fl oz) soda water and garnish with ribbons of cucumber. A good dessert wine vinegar makes a great replacement to citrus in a G&T too – just a teaspoon or two is all you need.
Our homemade white wine vinegar recipe
The recipe below assumes that you’ll start with a whole bottle of wine, however you can scale the quantities below up or down to work with what you’ve got, and this method will work for any type of wine, beer or cider.
- 750 ml good-quality, interesting white wine such as Riesling, Muscat, a big oaky Chardonnay or dessert wine
- 180 ml live white wine or apple cider vinegar (more if the wine needs to be diluted)
- 1 large, clean 2l (68 fl oz) jar
- 1 clean tea towel or piece of jay cloth
- 1 strong elastic band
- Cuisine: British
- Recipe Type: Sauce
- Difficulty: Medium
- Preparation Time: 20 mins
- Cooking Time: 0 mins
- Serves: 10
- Add the wine to the jar. If required, dilute the wine to 10% abv with water (see below for quick reference chart).
- Work out 25% of the new total by dividing it by 4, then add this quantity of the live vinegar.
- Do not add a lid. Instead, place the tea towel or cloth over the opening of the jar, and fix it in place with the elastic band.
- Place the jar in a dry, dark place, ideally somewhere not too cold – warmth helps move the fermentation along a bit.
- Taste it after 2 weeks to see how it is, then taste every week until it tastes strongly acidic.
- Strain through a double layer of muslin and pour into sterilised bottles. Place the bottles in a cool dark place to mature for a few weeks, and pop your live vinegar ‘mother’ into whatever alcohol you want to ferment next.
- When you come to use your vinegar, taste it and add a little water if you feel it necessary.
Diluting guidelines for a 750ml (25.4 fl oz) bottle of wine 15% abv – add 50% more water (375ml; 12.6 fl oz) 14% abv – add 40% more water (300ml; 10.14 fl oz) 13% abv – add 30% more water (225ml; 7.6 fl oz) 12% abv – add 20% more water (150ml; 5.07 fl oz) 11% abv – add 10% more water (75ml; 2.5 fl oz) You might also like: How to make garlic oil How to make your own chilli oil How to make ketchup All photos by Nicola Swift unless otherwise credited. Vinegar is a household staple that you can use in so many different ways. Particularly for fans of DIY living, vinegar is an essential item to have in your kitchen cupboard. If you’re anything like us, then you’ve probably found yourself wondering how to make vinegar yourself once or twice. Well, the good news is that it’s much easier than you might think! You can make white, apple cider, and other varieties of homemade vinegar directly at home with just a few ingredients. In this article, we’ll be taking you through a step-by-step guide on how to make homemade vinegar. (pillecukor/123rf.com)
- How is Vinegar Made?
- How to Make Vinegar
- How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar
How is Vinegar Made?
Whether you use white vinegar for cooking, put it on food, or clean your house, it is an incredibly useful liquid. Making your own vinegar is provides you with a household must-have, and it’s the perfect solution to use any leftover wine, fruit juice, or alcohol. In its basic form, vinegar making is as simple as subjecting any liquid that contains sugar or ethanol, aka alcohol, to a fermentation process. This process involves placing the starter liquid in a wide mouth glass jar or stainless steel container and placing it in a dark place. By doing this, you are transforming natural carbohydrates into acetic acid bacteria, which is the basis of vinegar. However, the ingredients you use can change the taste of the vinegar. It’s important to decide what you want to use your homemade vinegar for before settling on a recipe. If your first batch of vinegar tastes awful, it’s probably not because you did anything wrong, but that you need to find a different recipe.
How to Make Vinegar
There are two main ways of making vinegar. One involves buying and using vinegar starter, while the other includes making the mother of vinegar yourself. The starter provides the acetic acid. tb1234
- Unpasteurized, unfiltered vinegar (such as Bragg apple cider vinegar)
- Mother of vinegar (a by-product of vinegar production – get some from a friend or make your own)
- Mycoderma aceti (may be available at a homebrewing supply store)
tb1234 Making your own vinegar mother is a more involved process, but will happen throughout the process, so be sure to hold onto the mother if you plan on making more batches. tb1234
Homemade White Vinegar Recipe
- ½ gallon water
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 packet wine yeast
- 2 cups unfiltered vinegar
- 1 large balloon
tb1234 To start making the mother of vinegar, combine water and sugar and heat in a large pot on the stove. Stir the water until the sugar dissolves. Take the pot from the heat and allow the sugar water to cool to approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the water into a clean, one-gallon glass jug and stir in the wine yeast. If you can’t find wine yeast, baking yeast will work as well. Stretch the balloon across the opening of the jug to form an airlock, which will fill with carbon dioxide and other gasses produced by the fermentation process. Put the pitcher in an area that will remain at room temperature for about two weeks. The balloon will begin to inflate, and you will see bubbles rise through the liquid. If you notice the balloon getting too big, allow some of the air to release by lifting the neck. Once the bubbles have disappeared, which should take approximately two weeks, pour the liquid into a large glass or stainless steel container. You will want a wide-mouth bottle, as the additional liquid surface area allows it to get more oxygen. Add the unfiltered vinegar and cover the top with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and seal it around the neck with a rubber band. Cheesecloth allows oxygen to get in while keeping out insects like fruit flies. Put the jug in a dark area at room temperature, preferably somewhere out of the way, as the process produces a robust vinegary scent. After a few days, you will see a smooth film form on the surface—this is the mother of vinegar. You can also use alcoholic liquid, including leftover beer, hard cider, white wine, or red wine, combined with unfiltered vinegar instead of making the sugar water mixture. The kind of alcohol you use, in some cases, will determine the type of vinegar you make. For instance, use wine if you want to make wine vinegar. Leave the jug for approximately four weeks. You can start taste testing the mixture around the 3 to 4-week mark to see if your vinegar is ready, or you can do a smell test. You will know when the mix is prepared when there is an intense vinegary smell. When it seems ready, then do the taste test—if it doesn’t have your desired flavor, leave for further fermentation. When you think the vinegar is ready, strain it through a few layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter to separate the mother. You can hold onto the mother for future batches of homemade vinegar. Store the strained vinegar in the fridge, or pasteurize it so you can store it at room temperature. To pasteurize your vinegar, set your uncapped jars of vinegar in a big pot of cold water. Slowly bring the water to a simmer then turn off the heat. Put the caps on your jars and take them out of the water to let them cool.
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar
Making apple cider vinegar is similar to white vinegar, except you apple cider as the base instead of water. You can either start with apple cider or start with raw apples to make this type of vinegar. Since there are hundreds of apple cider vinegar uses, make a big batch! tb1234
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe
- ½ gallon unpasteurized apple cider
- 1 packet wine yeast
- 2 cups unfiltered vinegar
- 1 large balloon
tb1234 For this recipe, you will be following a very similar process to the one explained above. Instead of the sugar water mixture, pour the apple cider into a one-gallon jug and stir in the yeast. Stretch the balloon over the pitcher opening and proceed as for the white vinegar. tb1234
Apple Cider Fruit Vinegar Recipe
- 5 large apples (or scraps from 10 apples)
- filtered water
- 1 cup raw honey
tb1234 Wash and chop apples into pieces that are about 1 inch. You can include everything—the cores, stems, and seeds. Put the chopped apples or apple scraps into a one-gallon glass jar with a wide mouth. Ensure that the apples fill at least half the container—add more scraps if they do not. Pour in the filtered water, making sure it’s room temperature, and fill until it covers the apples. Leave a few inches of space at the top. Stir in the honey. Like in the white vinegar recipe, cover the glass jar with cheesecloth or a balloon. Place on the counter and leave it for 1 to 2 weeks, gently stirring the mixture at least once or twice a day. You will see bubbles forming throughout this period. Once you notice that the apples sink to the bottom instead of floating, strain the apple scraps. Pour the apple cider liquid into a one-gallon glass jar or smaller mason jars. Cover the jar or jars with cheesecloth and proceed as with the white vinegar recipe, testing your apple cider vinegar after three weeks. While these are just two of the most popular kinds of vinegar, there are many more flavors you can explore. Whether you’re interested in making sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar, or red wine vinegar, the process is very similar. Once you’ve perfected one, you’ll have no problem with other varieties! Now you’ll never have to ask yourself, “How is vinegar made?” ever again! If you want to make vinegar to add to salad dressings, get rid of leftover wine bottles, or need a vinegar cleaning solution for cleaning your house or car, give these recipes a try. For even more cleaning power, start mixing vinegar with baking soda for a dynamite disinfectant and cleaner. (pillecukor/123rf.com) We hope you enjoyed learning how to make homemade vinegar. Impress your friends by sharing these vinegar recipes with them online on Facebook!
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