Natural, Herbal, Homemade Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the most useful liquids in the world. It has a wide range of uses – cooking, cleaning, laundry, for health, beauty, as a condiment, preservative etc.
Vinegar is produced by the fermentation of ethanol. It is basically Acetic acid, also known as Ethanoic acid. It also contains small amounts of Tartaric acid, Citric acid, and other acids. Commercial vinegar is diluted with water. Table vinegar has between 4-8% acetic acid and it may go to as high as 18% in other vinegars.
Any stuff that contains sugar or starch can be used to get vinegar. Fruit, grain, sugarcane, wood, are some examples. The starch or sugar in these materials is converted into ethanol. The ethanol is oxidized by Acetic acid bacteria to produce vinegar.
Vinegar is made by two methods. In one method, the alcoholic liquid is mixed with bacteria and air is blown through the liquid to help the oxidation process. The whole production process takes only about 20 hours to three days. This is called artificial vinegar.
In the making of natural vinegar, no bacteria are added. The Ethanol is allowed to ferment at its own pace. The whole process takes months or even years to be completed.
This process gives out a slimy residue, called mother of vinegar.
If natural vinegar is distilled, we cannot tell it apart from artificial vinegar.
When vinegar absorbs the flavor of herbs, it becomes herbal vinegar. Herbal vinegar can be used to add a distinct touch to foods like salads, sauces, mustard, soups, meats, etc. They can also be relished as a drink after diluting in 50:50 ratio with water.
To prepare herbal vinegar, follow these steps:
- Take a clean, dry glass jar with a wooden cork.
- Take a few shreds of the herb you have chosen. See that the herbs are fresh.
- Put the herbs in the jar and pour warm vinegar, not hot, over it.
- Put the cork on the jar and place the jar near a window sill, but away from direct sunlight.
- Wait for a month or two. Shake the jar from time to time.
- After it is done, strain the vinegar and put it in the cup board until you want to use it.
Like most other things, vinegar made at home is much better than if you buy it. Hereâ€™s how you do it:
- Take some fresh fruit (preferably apples) and juice them. Strain and pour it into a clean glass jar.
- Use beer-brewer yeast to ferment the juice.
- Cover the jar with a cloth and keep it in a warm, dark place, with temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria will convert the alcohol into Acetic acid.
- After about four weeks, most of the liquid should be converted into vinegar. Look for a mat of residue at the bottom of the jar. It signifies that the transformation has taken place properly.
- Keep tasting the vinegar until you get the taste you want.
- Strain the vinegar to remove any residue. Pour into a clean jar and store in refrigerator.