Fermenting your own fruit vinegar from scratch is an easy and fun project.
Homemade vinegar is one of those unusual but easy projects that the whole family can get behind. All you really have to do is stir and wait. What could be simpler?
I have posted before about making red wine vinegar from scratch, a project I do several times a year. I have also made white wine vinegar and malt vinegar using the same method. The process for fruit vinegar is a little different though.
I use the directions found in Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, fermentation expert extraordinaire. Although his directions are for pineapple vinegar, I usually make peach vinegar because I have an excess of peaches growing in the back yard. But the same process can be used to make any kind of fruit vinegar. The best thing is, you can use fruit scraps – things like fruit peels, over-ripe fruit, and fruit pulp leftover from making jelly or juice. Just don’t use any fruit that is spoiled. Soft or bruised is ok, rotting is not.
I was reminded to make peach vinegar when I received a note from a member of our Canning Community (sign up for our newsletter to become a member) about making jelly with Java Plums. My first thought was, “oh, the leftover pulp from that would make a wonderful vinegar!” Each fruit lends its own personality to vinegar. This peach vinegar is mild and delicate. A plum or blueberry vinegar is more assertive. A mango or pineapple vinegar falls somewhere in between.
- 1-3 cups of fruit peels, pulp, or chopped fresh fruit
- 4 cups water
- 1½ cups sugar
- Place clean chopped fruit, fruit peels, and/or pulp in a medium sized bowl.
- Dissolve sugar in the water.
- Pour water over the fruit, and stir to combine.
- Cover bowl with cheesecloth, paper towel, or coffee filter.
- Let sit in a warm place for about a week, or until mixture darkens.
- Strain out the fruit, re-cover and let sit another 2 - 4 weeks, stirring occasionally.
- Taste to make sure the mixture has fermented enough to get that vinegar taste.
- Heat the vinegar to 140 degrees to stabilize the vinegar. Watch carefully, if heated over 160 degrees you will ruin the vinegar!
- Pour the vinegar into decorative bottles. Add oak chips to each bottle for additional flavor.
- Plug bottles with caps, corks, or plastic tops.
- Label with type and date and let age in a cool, dark place for 6 months if desired..
- Note: Bottles, caps,oak chips, and plastic top tasting corks can all be purchased at a brewing or wine making supply store. Decorative bottles can be purchased at craft supply stores.