Making vinegar from scratch

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by ditch witch, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I saw some posts on Pinterest about making homemade vinegar but nearly all of them cheated by buying apple cider vinegar with the mother already in it. I wanted to grow my own, and it wasn't until after I'd already gotten this started that I found a really good picture tutorial on how to do it, which of course I forgot to pin or bookmark and now cannot find again. :/ However here's another one in case you're curious....

    After canning peaches I was left with a bucket load of peels. Normally I toss them to the chickens but I decided to give peach peel vinegar a whirl. I threw a handful into a gallon pickle jar, and another into an old latch lid jar that was just taking up space. Added a cup of sugar and filled up with water.

    Yes I said filled. We'll get to that later.

    Gave them both a good stir and then realized I had nothing to cover them with. No muslin, no cheesecloth. What I did have was a hemp bag we'd used a time or two to strain mash with and some sterile gauze bandages, so those plus some rubber bands and I was in business. I put both jars in a cabinet next to the dishwasher.

    This was taken on August 18, right after I'd made it.

    Now we've been fermenting various things for making booze and I should have remembered the importance of leaving ample headspace. My memory was quickly refreshed two days later when I ran the dishwasher and heated up the cabinet with the jars. Both of them frothed up and over as the wild yeasts they'd picked up from the air had been hard at work. After cleaning the mess up, tossing the hemp bag into the washing machine and the other gauze cap into the trash, I pulled some from each jar and started a third batch in a spaghetti jar, which I stuck beside the fridge and behind the coffee maker. Added new high tech gauze and rubberband covers to all three batches.

    And here they are today, August 29.

    Today it's been 10 days and all three batches are boozy, especially the pickle jar which sits right next to the dishwasher. I've been stirring them a little bit every day and they are bubbling away. Now I just wait for them to stop bubbling so I can go to the next step.
  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    keep the pictures and the full descriptive experience coming. excellent 2nd hand experience for us all. wishing you grand success.
  3. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Cool @ditch witch !.... agree with @tacmotusn ... keep sharing your experience please.... and pardon my ignorance... I know vinegar is good for you... would you mind sharing what you would use it for?
    Thanks a bunch...
  4. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    @Bear if you would please excuse me for butting in, as to various types a vinegars, flavored, and herb infused, ... I use them mostly for cooking. In salad dressings and vinaigrettes, also as a salt substitute in soups and stews or braising liquid mixtures, they can also be used in marinades for meat or fowl, or seafood.
    Just as a quick side note. In soups or stews of 3 to 5 qts total, you can add 1 TBS of any vinegar of your choice without overpowering what you are cooking. Do this before adding salt, and when you do your final seasoning adjustments before serving, I think you will find you need much less salt to taste. jus sayin'
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Peach vinegar sounds yummy. Nice experiment. =)
    Witch Doctor 01 and ditch witch like this.
  6. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Vinegar should be a staple in your home, cheap and versatile. @ditchwitch is making what I would consider kin to apple cider vinegar which IMO is more medicinal but white vinegar is refined and has many uses. It is used to clean cast iron, wash windows. People drink it for health. I am surprised that the 100 uses for vinegar is not posted.
    Here is one link- Vinegar | Survival Forums

    Just discovered if you are using concrete and get some on you, vinegar will neutralize the concrete burn.
  7. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    so you get burned from the lye in concrete? wow I didn't know vinegar would do that. I guess the acid in vinegar neutralizes the lye?

    @ditch witch that is one pretty jug of vinegar!
    ditch witch likes this.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Having poured a lot of concrete, I can say the standard method is to just wash it off in a bucket of standing water. It does not need to be neutralized, just removed.
  9. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    I plan to start making my own vinegar. We use so much of it, around 5 gallons a month.
  10. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    @tacmotusn I use vinegar for pretty much everything. I dump it in the washing machine for stinky clothes (dog blankets and bedding, the Mr.'s work clothing, not mine of course because I smell like daisies and unicorn kisses at all times). I also use it as a cleaner for the kitchen counters, gallon of vinegar with citrus peels tossed in cleans well and smells nice. I quit using commercial shampoo around January of this year and my natural alternative to waxy conditioner is an apple cider vinegar rinse. Same for the dogs, and the two who used to scratch themselves silly have stopped. Chicken coop and rabbit cage cleaner with citrus peels and cinnamon sticks soaked in it. Cooking, of course.

    Now here's the caveat. Homemade vinegar's acidity is all over the chart so you're not supposed to can with it. BUT... if you look at a bottle of white vinegar you get at the store it says "distilled to 5%". Well we have a still, SOOoooo I'm thinking I can make up a big honking batch, run it through the still, and then see what I get and cut it from there. What I'm really wanting to try this for is horticultural grade vinegar. You see people touting vinegar as a weed killer, and yeah it can be, but horticultural grade is 20%, not the piddly 5% you get at the grocery store. I'm thinking if this works, I can make up about 5 gallons of vinegar and then distill it, and then cut it to the grade I need and finally have an organic alternative to Roundup without paying $25 a gallon.

    Bubbling away... just ran the dishwasher, which sends it into overdrive, lol.
  11. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Great threat! Pictures really shows the action well. Keep them coming.
    Have a question on concentrating the vinegar to greater than 5%, all you would need to do is let some of the water evaporate out, say use a double boiler on the stove at very low heat. Vinegar is acidic acid.

    Acidic acid is used medically in treating infected open wounds as a part of a wet to dry dressing. Also used as a bladder irrigation solution with those that have indwelling Foley catheters.
    Ganado, ditch witch and kellory like this.
  12. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Yabbut I need an excuse to play with the still. :D
    Tully Mars, Ganado and Dont like this.
  13. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Corn, sugar, yeast, will give you a much better reason to play with a still;)..:D
  14. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    The last two times I ran a batch I wrecked it. The Mr. has the touch. Me, I just make Go Blind Shine.
    Georgia_Boy and Ganado like this.
  15. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @ditch witch. How are you measuring/monitoring the acidity?

    Love the pics!
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
    Tully Mars likes this.
  16. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    It's just cooking.. Follow the recipe and watch your temperature. Different alcohol's vaporize at different temp's. You want to separate the good from the bad. At least this is what a friend tells me when I go visiting on "cooking" day..

    Have a look at the new resource I added, page 117 for old info on making vinegar..
    Tully Mars, ditch witch and Ganado like this.
  17. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

  18. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

  19. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I DID watch the temp, like a hawk, but it's a reflux still and apparently I have not mastered the cooling lines on the outflow so it came out too fast and was all kinds of fubared.
  20. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Keep trying!! You'll get it right..
    Sounds like another thread here..
    Try running it through the still a second or even a third time to pull off the impurities.
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