Make vinegar yourself in 5 steps

Making vinegar yourself is a great hobby. But if you would like to make good quality vinegar yourself, then it is not enough to simply put the fruit, apple juice, must or wine in a barrel and let it sit. Mashing the fruit (= crushing and fermenting the fruit) for making fruit wine and the subsequent fermentation of the alcoholic liquid (fruit wine, must, wine etc.) into vinegar calls for a certain amount of basic knowledge. Only then will making vinegar really be fun.

Why make vinegar yourself?

There are innumerable vinegars available to buy in all supermarkets. You can buy almost any fruit, herb, spice etc. as vinegar from special providers. So why should you put in the effort and make vinegar yourself?

  • Making vinegar is a sensible way of using up your own fruit, herbs and spices.
  • On a small scale, you can make numerous types of vinegar that are hardly available commercially.
  • If you ferment the vinegar fermentation and alcohol yourself, you can create top quality as a hobby.
  • Making vinegar yourself is a hobby that leads to many experiments and is therefore simply a lot of fun.

A short guide to making vinegar

So how does making vinegar work? Can anyone ferment vinegar themselves? What exactly do you have to do to make vinegar?

Most information sites on vinegar in the Internet, books and seminars still cover the conventional methods of vinegar fermentation. According to these it is sufficient to let fruit with sugar stand until it is fermented, or to use other alcohol such as must, wine etc. as initial material for the vinegar fermentation. We cannot agree with these statements, because there is no way of producing good quality vinegar using these methods. You can use this vinegar for compresses, cleaning and so on. Our goal is to make high-quality vinegars, which is entirely doable even as a hobby.
  1. Initial material

    You can either take an alcoholic liquid (must, wine, schnapps) for the vinegar fermentation, or make the alcohol yourself using and mashing fruit from the garden. If you use alcoholic liquids, then you must pay attention to good quality; under no circumstances should “waste material” and the like be used. If you ferment fruit from the garden, then follow the guidelines for optimal alcoholic fermentation precisely.

  2. Acidification

    The alcohol that is used must be acidified, even for simple fermentation. In this way yeast film and other faulty fermentation can be avoided to a great extent. For acidification, you can use either a good (!) vinegar or acetic acid from the drugstore. It will be pure and clean, and therefore cannot introduce any foreign substances into the fermentation. You can calculate the required amounts of acid and alcohol.

  3. Adding the mother of vinegar or active vinegar

    The acidified alcohol should now be inoculated with a mother of vinegar. Inoculation of the alcoholic liquid is essential! Either add an active vinegar to it, which means vinegar that is still at least slightly fermenting, or buy a mother of vinegar for yourself to start off. You can then easily continue to cultivate them.

  4.   Vinegar fermentation

    After the alcoholic liquid has been acidified, and the mother of vinegar or fermentation starter (= active vinegar) has been added, stir the mixture well and cover it with a sheet of kitchen roll secured for example with a rubber band. The fermentation container should have the biggest surface area possible (i.e. should not be tall and thin), because the vinegar bacteria need air. Put the pot in a warm location, around 25 °C. After a few days, the fermentation will start. You will be able to tell this by the smell of glue (acetate odor). After 3 to 6 weeks, the fermentation will be finished. Now for example you can remove half the liquid and use this finished vinegar. Add new alcohol to the other part to continue to ferment new vinegar or make a mother of vinegar.

  5. Making apple vinegar yourself – recipe for 1 liter

    Take 2/3 of a liter of apple wine and acidify it with 1/3 of a liter of clean vinegar. Stir it well, and then add 100 ml of mother of vinegar or starter liquid to it. Stir it again and then seal the container with a cloth. After around 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the temperature and cross-sectional area of the container, the vinegar will be fully fermented.

We wish you success!

homemade-vinegar: surface process

Malle-Schmickl
Provider of vinegar accessories and vinegar seminars

Vinegar Production – Starter Set

Complete vinegar system and easy acid and alcohol analysis.

Vinegar Production – Complete Set

Complete vinegar production system with precise acetic acid and alcohol analysis.

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