Almost all prepper pantries are stocked with one variety of vinegar or another but did you know that you can save money by making your own vinegar at home?
This guide will walk you through the easy process of making vinegar at home and although it’s fairly cheap to buy, homemade simply tastes better.
The process itself can be sped up by using Mother Of Vinegar but for this guide we are going to focus on using a low level alcohol (5-10%) ingredient that has no added sugar. You can use apple cider, wine, fermented fruit juice, or stale beer as a perfect starting material.
How to Make Vinegar at Home
Start off by pouring your low level alcohol into a glass or stoneware jar or bottle. Make sure to choose a dark bottle if possible when using glass as the fermentation will only occur in the dark. If you don’t have access to dark glass then you will need to make sure that you keep the liquid in a dark area.
Required: in order for the fermentation process to occur, there needs to be air without the risk of any bugs or insects getting into the liquid. Cover the mouth of the bottle with a few layers of cheesecloth and secure them with a rubber band.
Once you have added your starting liquid to the vessel of choice, place the container in a dark and warm area of the home. You want a temperature of 60-80°F (15-27°C). The warmer the temperature, the quicker the fermentation.
This process can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months. Initially, the bacteria will cloud the liquid, eventually forming a gelatinous layer on the top of the starting material.
In order for the bacteria to remain active, it needs air so try not to disturb or stir the mixture. After 3-4 weeks, test a small amount of the liquid to see if it has converted to vinegar.
- Smell the covered bottle. It will smell of strong vinegar if it’s ready.
- If the bottle has the unmistakable smell of vinegar, remove the cheesecloth, draw off a little bit of the liquid and give it a taste.
- If the liquid tastes right, you can filter and bottle it. If needs be, leave the liquid to sit longer.
Okay, so the vinegar passed the smell and taste tests? Now you’re ready to filter and bottle your homemade vinegar. You can use a coffee filter or cheesecloth to filter your vinegar.
Since homemade vinegar typically contains a small amount of residual alcohol, you may wish to boil the liquid to drive off the alcohol. This will also kill any undesirable microorganisms.
Before moving on, you can use your unpasteurized (fresh) vinegar as it is but it won’t have as good of a shelf-life and should be kept in the fridge.
How to Pasteurize Homemade Vinegar
- Heat your vinegar to 170°F (77°C) and maintain the temperature for around 10 minutes.
- Simple as that! Store your vinegar in sealed, sterilized containers for several months at room temperature.