Homemade Vinegar: Is My Mother Growing?


Glub Glub

Two and a half weeks ago, I posted about starting to make my own vinegar with leftover wine. Since then, one corner of my kitchen has started to smell very acidic, but nothing much seems to be happening down in the depths of my vinegar.

The “mother,” (the gushy bacteria mix that acts on wine to make it vinegar) I added was courtesy of Bragg Cider Vinegar, which comes with the mother still in it, visible as a hazy, feathery substance in the bottle. So what I want is for that mother to grow and get goopy, and start making my tired wine into tasty vinegar. Apparently, the mother often rises to the top and starts its work as a film on the surface of the liquid, and falls to the bottom when it’s mostly spent.

No such creature is growing on the top of my vinegar. But if I tip the pitcher, I can see some sludgey stuff clinging to the bottom. Maybe that’s my mother? Starting backwards? Figures! The other issue is that the vinegar-making process occurs best (and quickest) at about 70-degrees, and there’s no place in my apartment that’s been even close to that temperature in months.

In any event, I stuck a trepidacious spoon into the mix and tasted it. Tastes a lot like vinegar, but with a thinner, mild, less appealing flavor. Hardly anyone can afford nice specialty vinegars anymore, so I’m hoping that this experiment will yield something delicious at some point. I’ll keep you posted. If you have vinegar-making experience, let us know.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 27, 2009


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