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It's easy to make vinegar from wine

Use a container with a wide opening that allows plenty of contact with the air. Glass or stainless steel are ideal. Do not use aluminium, iron or plastic. If you are using glass, cover the sides & neck to protect the vinegar from light. You should also keep your vinegar "plant" in a warm dark place. If the temperature is comfortable for you, the vinegar will work.

If you know someone who has a vinegar plant going, all you need to do is use a bit of the natural vinegar from their plant (about 500ml would do). Another option would be a bottle of unpasteurized, unfiltered vinegar if you can find it at a good food store.

  • Add the natural vinegar to a mix of 400ml wine & 200ml boiled water
  • Give it a really good stir to aerate it
  • Put a couple of strands of dry spaghetti in (the bacteria seems to like breeding on the spaghetti)
  • Cover with cloth & stand it in a warm dark place for a few weeks

If that's not an option, you can start your own vinegar plant.

  • Start with a mix of 400ml wine & 200ml boiled water
  • Give it a really good stir to aerate it
  • Put a couple of strands of dry spaghetti in
  • Cover with cloth & stand it in a warm dark place for a few weeks
  • The vinegar conversion should get going during that time.

You can build up your vinegar plant to suit your needs by:

  • Adding more wine/water mixture (2 parts wine : 1 part boiled water).
  • Do not add more than the amount in your container (ie. if you have a litre in your container, don't add more that a litre of fresh wine/water mix).
  • You can add to the plant as often as you like but wait several weeks between additions.
  • In this way, you can build your vinegar plant up to any size.

When the strength has developed to the desired level (check by tasting) you can harvest your vinegar.

  • Remove the vinegar you want to bottle but leave at least a litre behind
  • Bottle it in small sterile bottles & seal with a cap or cork
  • Add more wine/water mixture to the vinegar plant (2 parts wine : 1 part boiled water)
  • Do not add more than the amount in your container (ie. if you have a litre in your container, don't add more that a litre of fresh wine/water mix)
  • Build up your plant as described above 

Note that if you bottle the vinegar that you remove & leave it for 6 months it becomes smoother.

 

Other types of vinegar

You can other vinegars from cider, beer or fruit juice.

The method is the same as described above except that you do not dilute them with water as you do with the wine above. If using cider, beer or fruit juice, add it neat without water added.