Monday, January 3, 2011

The Vinegar Jar

Vinegar making is as simple as any other fermented food. As our fermentation book Wild Fermentation says: "just leave it out!" We've been keeping a half gallon jar on the counter with a screened lid. The jar started out with some dated fresh apple cider. I dumped the fizzy brew into the jar and let nature take its course. After a week or so the fermenting stopped and I racked it (i.e. poured the liquid off the yeast cake on the bottom, rinsed the jar and replaced the liquid) and let the vinegaring commence! Whenever there's been some left over apple cider we just dump it in the jar. Now the jar contains a sharp acidic aroma rather than an alcoholic one, and the liquid is quite tart! The stuff can be used just like any other apple cider vinegar: in sauces, dressings etc. and also for cleaning and sanitizing. The same method can be used for a wine vinegar. Just dump out the hair of last night's dog into a jar and cover with a screen of some sort (mesh or cheese cloth). Once it's converted it can be used for dressings and sauces, and in the meantime you can always use it, in whatever state, to deglaze after sauteing.

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