Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mother of Vinegar

My yard produces an abundance of fruit. So much fruit that I can't eat or process it all. Much of it goes into the recycle containers to become mulch and compost. But this year I decided to try something new- Vinegar.
I took excess apples, chopped them up and added a bit of sugar. And a dash of yeast. Some of the yeast came from the fruit and some came from bread yeast. I covered it lightly with layers of cheese cloth to keep bugs out. And moved it to a spot near the wall to "rest" for a few months.
In time, there was alcohol. The whole house smelled of apple cider. I strained out the solids.
Then the vinegar started. It takes a few fruit flies to bring the bacteria to the liquid but just a very few. Too many and things go astray. After two months, batch one- made with peaches was too contaminated even though it smelled like vinegar. I didn't feel good about it so I tossed it.
Batch two- with apples, looked really good. The mother had formed and sunk to the bottom of the jar, so it was ready.
I strained out Mom, the boiled the vinegar to pasteurize it. Now it is time to filter and bottle. I am having a tough time getting it to filter through the coffee filters. I have first used cloth, then the coffee filter, but it is very slow and clogs up fast.
I am hoping that this little experiment helps me find a practical use for the excess apples and peaches. I use vinegar in making cheese, dying wool, and cleaning house. It would be kind of fun to make my own and use it for all sorts of things. Even pickles and chutney.
We will have to see how this turns out in the long run but for the moment, I have this mother of vinegar staring at me waiting to be fed more alcohol. Feed Me!