Vinegar plays a big role in our everyday life. Used for preserve aliments, for his antibacterial proprieties. We use vinegar in all type of cooking, to enhance and balance our dishes. Inexpensive apple cider vinegar can be found at stores, but if you are looking for high quality, organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar can be quire pricey. We discussed here, how a simple 2 steps process can transform most fruits into delicious ciders, and finally beneficial vinegar. Fruit peels, cores, waste or surplus of your fruit may be turned into a very useful product instead of becoming compost.
Make your own vinegar. Experiment to find what works best for you in term of sugar quantity, types of fruit used, environment during the fermentation process. I have extract juice from 3kg of apple peels and cores, saved over time at freeze. The desired fruit could be juiced directly fresh with a food processer or juicer. Alternatively a blender can be used too, as I did with my apple peels and cores. I have added half liter or chlorine free water, filter the pulp and add few table spoon of sugar. Honey can be used instead, and will help and speed up the fermentation process. Time to create the anaerobic environment by allowing the yeast, naturally present on the apples, to ferment the sugar into alcohol, consuming the oxygen.
It’s easier to be sure to get a proper anaerobic environment using airlocks, for example. But I have successfully fermented foods without, by just making sure to “burp” my jars daily so the gases don’t build up over a certain critic point.
Once the yeast has converted the sugar to alcohol in an anaerobic environment (7-10 days), you can add the vinegar “mother”, the acetic bacteria, that start the aerobic conversion of alcohol to acetic acid, exposing the vinegar to oxygen.
Higher sugar, higher alcohol, better vinegar down the road! I add few table spoons of sugar in the apple juice, blended and filtered, but natural wine or beer yeast can be added as well to speed up the process and introduce some yeast that have a defined taste, and establish ride away.
The process that turns alcohol into vinegar is the fermentation. Fermentation has already turned apples peels into cider. Cider is made when yeast turns the sugars in the apple juice into alcohol.
Vinegar is made when the alcohol in cider is turned into acetic acid by acetobacter, a type of bacteria that feed on ethanol which creates the by-product acetic acid.
Once the starter vinegar is added, it is merely matter of covering the cider with a cloth to protect it from insects and dust, allowing at same time exposition to air. The bacteria will multiply and begin consuming the alcohol turning the cider into vinegar.
You may notice the cider will form a gelatinous layer on top and at the bottom, in the solution. It is composed of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria and is absolutely beneficial. the so called “Mother”, is basically a colony of acetobacter and can can be transferred from one batch to the next should you wish to make more vinegar.
Taste and smell the cider vinegar periodically. Once you are happy with the level of acidity it is time to bottle and seal the vinegar. You have successfully made your own organic apple cider vinegar!