Vinegar Types, Methods of Making Vinegar
Making Cider Vinegar
Two factors require special attention when making vinegar at home:
oxygen supply and temperature. Oxygen is spread throughout the mixture by
stirring it daily and by letting air reach the fluid through a cheesecloth
filter, which is used in place of a regular lid. The temperature of
fermenting cider should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (F).
Lower temperatures do not always produce a usable vinegar, and higher ones
interfere with the formation of the "mother of vinegar." Mother of vinegar
is a mat that forms on the bottom of fermenting wine that has gone bad.
Do not use a metal container when making vinegar; acid in the mixture
will corrode metal or aluminum objects. Glass, plastic, wood, enamel, or
stainless steel containers should be used for making or storing vinegar.
The same holds true for making or storing foods that have more than 1
Tablespoon of vinegar in the recipe.
Steps for Making Cider Vinegar
The following steps must be
followed to make a high-quality cider vinegar:
Make a clean cider from ripe
Change all of the fruit sugar
to alcohol. This is called "yeast fermentation."
Change all of the alcohol to
acetic acid. This is called "acetic acid fermentation."
Clarify the acetic acid to
prevent further fermentation and decomposition.
Cider is made from the winter and fall varieties of apples (summer and
green apples do not contain enough sugar). Fruit should be gathered, then
washed well to remove debris. Crush the fruit to produce apple pulp and
strain off the juice. Use a press or cheesecloth for straining.
Adding yeast to activate fermentation is not essential, but will speed
up the process. Special cultivated yeasts are available for this purpose
at wine-making shops and biological labs--bread yeasts are not
recommended. To make a starter, crumble one cake of yeast into one
quart of cider. This makes enough starter for 5 gallons of cider; double
the recipe proportionately when making more.
Pour all of the liquid into one or more containers to about
three-quarters capacity; do not close the lids on the containers. Stir the
mixtures daily. Keep the containers away from direct sunlight and maintain
the temperature at 60 to 80 degrees F. Full fermentation will take about 3
to 4 weeks. Near the end of this period, you should notice a vinegar-like
smell. Taste samples daily until the desired strength is reached.
When the vinegar is fully fermented, filter the liquid through several
layers of fine cheesecloth or filter paper--a coffee filter works well for
this. This removes the mother of vinegar, preventing further fermentation
or spoilage of the product.
Storing Your Vinegar
The vinegar is now ready for storage in separate, capped containers.
Stored vinegar will stay in excellent condition almost indefinitely if
it is pasteurized. To pasteurize, heat the vinegar before pouring it
into sterilized bottles, or bottle, then place in a hot water bath. In
both cases, the temperature of the vinegar must reach at least 140 degrees
F to sterilize the product, and should not exceed 160 degrees F. Use a
cooking thermometer to ensure the correct temperature is met. Cool the
containers and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
General Directions Making Vinegar