I threw this out today. And not because if failed. A rare success story of home provisioning of food where the product just simply doesn’t bring enough to the table for me to bother. It looks gross, yes. Vinegar mothers tend to be proficient at that. Don’t believe me?
Turns out the months it takes to make this – I started this in early July – just isn’t worth it for me. Why? Well, it smells. Vinegar smells are good to a certain point, but not when it’s both a chronic and acute condition of the room you make it in. Reason #2 – acetobacter is no friend of winemaking. Unless you desire MANY gallons of vinegar when your otherwise lovely wine happens to convert. And on a volume basis, I go through hundreds of times more wine than vinegar. Wine wins. Lastly, the resultant product, while good, is not something I go through much of. We use vinegar acids in salad dressings, but I prefer white wine vinegar. We clean with vinegar, but I prefer plain cheap white vinegar. So when it comes right down to it, I don’t use the stuff [I still have some of this batch from 3 years ago], and if I need it it’s cheap. In the world of value-ads I believe strongly in [gardening, butchering, charcuterie, etc], vinegar making has failed me.
All is not lost. I know how to make vinegar. If contemporary civilization fails and I need to know how to make it, fine. But in the meantime it has been axed from my to-do list.
Seriously though, before you bin it, have you thought about experimenting with this? Mix white wine in with the apple and see what evolves. Maybe add a sweet wine, or something else to balance it out (say, an oaked chard…you know what i think of those) and seeing if the oak adds anything to the balance of the vinegar?
I felt hell-bent on making our own vinegar when we got into canning and I realized the volumes of the stuff we would need. And I like canning (truthfully), it makes sense to me and I like the output. But our focus is shifting to preservation methods that use much less energy and time, especially drying, so perhaps our vinegar needs are not so extreme. Might still give it a go, though; some corner of the barn or other outbuilding could house the apparent reek.
YYC – too late. Down the drain. I have no white wine I hate enough to turn into vinegar – my original objective was to see if the copious apple wine I produce could yield by-products. I’ve found others I prefer more, if you know what I mean. Plus, experimenting further would yield more product I don’t need, continue the stink, and continue to compromise my winemaking spaces.
Greg – volume’s not so big a deal if you make lots of apple wine! The question would be whether or not you like the pickles with cider vinegar. But I’m with you, pickling is back-seated by root-cellaring, for me. My goal is to do like Eliot Coleman and can zero, instead cellaring, drying, and using season-extension tomfoolery to eat fresh earlier in the year.
I haven’t known your site for very long, and am quite impressed with your meat prowess… but I disagree on the cider vinegar thing. I just popped a bottle of apple cider vin. I made a year ago last fall & it has aged beautifully in it’s resealable Italian wine bottle. I used fresh unpasturized local cider, in a 5 gallon crock covered w/cheese cloth… let it age for about 8 weeks @ room temp…( sept/oct here in NH… wood heat… room temp about 60F) strained & bottled it and this ‘end result’ if strong, and far sweeter than enything else I’ve gotten from stores. At the same time, & in the same room, I’ve made 12 6gal. carboys of fresh cider/ honey ‘mead’… guess you’d call it ‘Cyser’, obviously there’s an airlock on each carboy… and that stuff will knock yer socks off! Lots of friends got Cyser for Xmas and they’re lovin it. By the way, I’ve got lots more of that vin. in the root cellar!
Dan – thanks for weighing in. I certainly won’t knock the quality, just isn’t a good fit in the abyss that is my to-do list.
I bet that Cyser is tasty. The day I get a lead on copious, inexpensive honey, I’m all over that concept. And I’m not surprised you haven’t had an acetobacter contamination problem, I’m guessing the risk is low – still not one I want to be playing with.
I barter for my local honey… a Narragansett turkey @ Thanksgiving & a couple of bottles of Cyser gets me 36lbs. Sometimes I feel a little ‘contaminated’ from drinking it, but only in a ‘good way’! I’ll be paying more attention to you in the future… I raise a few hogs in the Summer and would love to be able to handle meats for longer term storage… besides freezing.
Dan – smart. I’ll be keeping my eye out this year for a honey supply, and am confident it will happen soon enough. My recent adventures in dry curing have been a shocking eye opener into the world of meat preservation without freezing – I highly recommend giving it a go. I’m here if you have questions and think I can help.
We made a red and a gold raspberry vinegar 2 years ago and are still enjoying them…it was a very interesting experiment. My wife likes to add a bit to her bread recipes and salad dressings. I have a feeling it will be a while before we have need to make any more though as a little bit really does go a long way. This next year we hope to dabble a bit in winemaking using berries….we shall see.
It is always nice to know you have learned something and know how to do it, even if you don’t do it or choose not to. That is a huge part of my life. The learning and knowing is so important. I then do and practice what I can, what we need, and what I am able to do. I have not yet checked vinegar off my list, though. :)
Well done! (I do not believe you would throw anything down the sink, though!)
PS – reading the comments here is a great pleasure, too! I love to see those that engage in discussions with you as they are clearly learned, as well!
Mike – give it a go. Winemaking with berries will be a frontier I visit frequently in the coming years. I’ve got enough saskatoon bushes in the front yard to produce quite a few cases of wine a year. I hope. We shall see. Surplus raspberry, currants, elderberries, etc will also find their way into the fermentation too, I reckon.
Valerie – I agree. I feel prioritization of projects is pretty important if I’m going to spend as much time with my little kids as I can while I can. I’ve learned that I can easily get buried in projects if I don’t. And I too enjoy the dialogue!
Kevin the trouble with my wine is that it all tastes a bit vinegary, and I can’t tell you the amount of drain cleaner I’ve produced over the years. But i still persevere, this year i WILL make some delicious wine….:)
Kathy – without knowing the details, can’t really say why that might be. But I can tell you that it is possible to achieve lovely homemade fruit wines! If you have any questions when the time comes, let me know.
Pity you tossed the cider vinegar. I ferment my apple cider first and then use it to make my vinegar. It doesn’t take long, and tastes so much better than anything you can purchase!
I currently have apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar and ginger beer vinegar on the go. It is wonderful to use in cooking and salads.