Responsible Restaurateur; blog 3. Home-made vinegars

Graham has been very busy making vinegars, syrups and pickles.

Making your own vinegar is a lot easier than you may think. It’s basic fermentation of fruit, flowers or grain to encourage the acetic acid to work to create the sour tang of vinegar.

You can use pretty much any trimming, peelings or slightly damaged fruit to make vinegar. Cover your fruit peelings with water (if you are using a sour fruit with a low sugar content add a spoonful of honey to help fermentation) in a glass or earthenware jar or bowl. You can use plastic but never use metal as it affects the end product. Cover the container with a piece of muslin cloth or sterilized tea towel and place in an airy warm place and leave to ferment. This can take up to one week. You will know when fermentation is finished as it will no longer be forming gas bubbles. If it forms a white mould skin don’t panic this is good bacteria helping to form acetic acid – if it is green or black mould remove the mould and monitor closely to make sure it does not form again. If it develops a rotten sulphur smell bin the whole lot and start again as it has been infected by bad bacteria. When fermentation is finished place the mix into a cloth and allow to strain out do not add pressure as it will make your vinegar cloudy, place in a bowl or jar and cover with the cloth and leave for a month. Remove any white mould from the top and keep for another batch as this is what is known as a vinegar mother and speeds the process up. Bottle and store for at least 6 months.

Use to make dressing, lighten sauces or marinades – it isn’t acidic enough to pickle vegetables.

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