SOUR: Making your own vinegar

Every dish needs acidity.  I think so.  It makes everything a little more exciting.  It’s also very interesting and easy to do!  Here are three ways…


Simply choose a nice plain vinegar.  Or any vinegar really.  But to get the most out of it you want quite a neutral flavour.  A bit like sauerkraut, or kombucha… choose your vessel, pack it full of fruit, smash it up a bit.  Cover with vinegar.  Cover or close, it doesn’t really matter because you’re leaving this on the bench overnight.  Strain well through a cheese cloth / muslin and funnel into the same bottle the vinegar originally came from.  If you use a fermented natural ‘real’ vinegar, and you strain all the solids out, it’s going to last forever.


Hard to believe, but sometimes you don’t finish that bottle of wine.  And it doesn’t keep forever.  If it tastes a bit funny, you can use it for cooking in a braise, a sauce, sangria!  Or you can make vinegar…  The best way it to add a little ‘living’ fermented vinegar to whatever you have, and wait.  Two to three months.


You can also smash up fruit, maybe add a little water and sugar, cover with a cheese cloth and wait 2 – 4 weeks, up to 8 if the weather is cold.  Strain the liquid and there you go.  Natural yeasts and bacteria present on the fruit will start a wild ferment, but important to keep your vessel covered with muslin to prevent dust, flies, mould etc from getting in.


But I have a lot of fruit and a lot of wine, but no living vinegar or vinegar ‘scoby’ to start the process.  What if I mix the fruit and vinegar?

I chose three fruits and three wines.  Pear and red wine, mandarin and chardonnay, and grapefruit rosé.  I filled the glasses with the fruit, covered them with the wine, then with some cheese cloth.  After three weeks I will strain the fruit out and continue the ferment.  What will happen I wonder…  My Ph meter is ready and waiting!