Friday, July 5, 2013

Making red wine vinegar

Until recently, we used balsamic vinegar all the time in cooking and salad dressings, but when I wanted to buy more, I read the labels, and couldn't find a brand that didn't contain added colours and preservatives, so we've been using organic raw apple cider vinegar instead.

I missed the taste of balsamic vinegar, so I started to look into how to make vinegar.  Vinegar is just another fermented product.  The acidity of vinegar is acetic acid, which is produced from the fermentation of ethanol, which is the alcohol that we like to drink.  That means that any alcoholic drink can be fermented into vinegar (including beer).  Unfortunately balsamic vinegar is made from concentrated grape juice, which just seemed a bit beyond my capabilities at the moment, but I thought that red wine vinegar was at least close, and easier to make.  
the finished vinegar
I vaguely followed the instructions on this blog, except that we don't usually drink much wine, so I couldn't just use leftovers, and I bought some cheap wine instead.  I know I should buy expensive wine to get a nicer vinegar, but for this first experiment I didn't want to waste expensive wine!  I had nearly finished a bottle of organic raw apple cider vinegar, with a nice large 'mother' formed at the bottom of the bottle, so just topped up the bottle with half red wine and half rainwater.  The mother is the bacteria that ferments the alcohol, it grows into a visible mass, which is very useful if you are wanting to use it to inoculate another batch of vinegar.  You can buy vinegar mother, or you can just buy a nice raw vinegar, and use a little of that vinegar to make more.

I re-corked the bottle the left it in the cupboard to ferment.  Several weeks later, it was smelling like vinegar, and a taste test revealed a rich tasty vinegar, which we will use in cooking and salad dressings.

The red wine and the raw organic red wine vinegar

that's the mother floating in the bottom

Have you tried to make your own vinegar?

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16 comments:

  1. I tried to make pineapple vinegar once using Rhonda's instructions. Hubby was not very keen on the bubbly concoction on the kitchen counter and one day I arrived home to find it in the compost! Your recipe looks do-able. I imagine this would keep the mother alive too.

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    1. If my husband ever threw something like that out he'd find himself and his stuff in the compost pile.

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  2. oooh! sounds great. I tried to make kiwi fruit vinegar from scratch, but it didnt work.......(as above!) but this sounds doable! and the colour looks superb. nice work!

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  3. We make our own red wine here, so I have plenty to try this out with. Thanks for the information!

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  4. I make apple cider vinegar (from juice and from scraps), pineapple vinegar and now it looks like I'll be making red wine vinegar too! I certainly have plenty of mothers floating about. I suppose white wine vinegar would be made the same way... If you'd like check out my blog posts Apple Cider Vinegar {make a mother} http://mossgrownstone.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/apple-cider-vinegar-making-a-mother/, Pineapple Vinegar http://mossgrownstone.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/pineapple-vinegar/, and if you're feeling adventurous and have too many mothers Nata http://mossgrownstone.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/nata/

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    1. thanks for the links, wow you really have quite a vinegar collection! I think white whine vinegar is the same recipe, but I haven't tried it.

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  5. That's a great idea, I will try making this for sure. It's amazing how much you can make yourself when you actually think about it. I guess it's worth finding wine that doesn't have too many additives either.
    Jacqui

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    1. yes good point! I just chose cheap wine to see if it worked, now I need to find some good quality additive-free wine for future vinegars :)

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  6. Thanks for the comments, glad I could offer some inspiration :)

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  7. This is cool! I never knew the yuck bit at the bottom of the vinegar was a 'mother' that I could put to good use. I've always chucked it out! I'll have to keep it next time.

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  8. How cool! We don't usually use much balsamic, but this is a great idea for Christmas presents!

    I'd love for you to share this over at Homemade Mondays: http://beingfrugalbychoice.blogspot.com/2013/07/homemade-mondays-week-36.html

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  9. This is brilliant Farmer Liz. I never knew about the 'mother' at the bottom and this is fantastic advice/news. I love your pictures, that bottle of red wine vinegar is exceptional. Well done! Merryn@merrynsmenu

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  10. Making a red wine is not a tough kind of stuff and the ingredients that are used in it can be easily available in the market.

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  11. You make it sound so easy. I'm gonna have to try it. Thanks for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop. I've chosen this post as one of my features. Please come back and join us tomorrow and grab your button: http://everythinghomewithcarol.com/the-self-sufficient-homeacre-hop-7/

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  12. We've made homemade vinegar from cheap beer.
    I want to try making some of my herbal vinegars with the homemade vinegar soon. We use a lot of vinegar around here!

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, if you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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