Josh has already shown us 16 green uses for vinegar around the house, and even 9 green uses for vinegar on the lawn and in the garden, but relatively few people know that you can make your own vinegar. And the results can be exceptional!
Just like brewing your own beer or making tempeh, DIY vinegar can be a little labor intensive - but it is a great way to make use of leftover wine, cider, or even beer - and it can produce much better results than your average store-bought vinegar, at a fraction of the price.
Generally speaking, all you need is some wine, a container in which to hold it, a "mother" starter to get the process going, and somewhere warm to keep it for a few months (vinegar likes 75-85 degrees). A test kit can also be useful to check when it is ready - but not strictly speaking necessary.
The full process for making DIY vinegar is detailed over at the Washington Post, but it can be summarised as follows:
- Add 'mother culture' to wine, cider or your chosen alcohol. (The better the wine, the better the vinegar.)
- Put it in your container in a warm place.
- When it is ready, you can either drain off what you need as you need it (adding more wine as undrunk bottles become available), or you can bottle it. If you want to, you can sterilize it by heating it up, or you can filter it through a coffee filter to remove any sediment, but neither of those steps is strictly necessary.
- You can even add more wine each time it becomes available - with no need to buy a new culture.
And that's about it. Beer-Wine.com has some vinegar starters and crocks available - so what are you waiting for? Of course, all of this relies on the fact that you have wine left over for making vinegar in the first place...
Salivating over sustainable eats? Learn how to make your own with help from Emeril Lagasse in Planet Green TV's organic cooking show, Emeril Green.