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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…

INFUSION:

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.

WINE:

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.

FRUIT:

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.

MY VERSION:

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!