Homemade Fruit Vinegar

Ever look at the selection of vinegars in the store and found them a bit… lacking?

Well now you can do something about it. Surprisingly, homemade vinegar is very easy to make, and delicious too!

I started off following the directions from this site rural-revolution.com to make my own homemade vinegar. The main thing I was looking for was the ratio of sugar to water and the timing of how long to let the vinegar sit before it was ready.

So what do you need to make your very own vinegar?

Empty glass jars

Rubber bands

Thin cloth

Water

Sugar

Fruit scraps or whole fruit


To start this whole process off you’ll want to make sure your jars are sanitized. The entire process for making vinegar works off of beneficial bacteria. You want to make sure the jars are thoroughly cleaned before using them. This includes making sure all soap or other cleaners, such as bleach, are fully washed out.

Next I used quart canning jars. There were two reasons I used canning jars. One, we have lots of them and they’re a convenient size. Two, glass is non-reactive. Going into a little science here, you’re going to take a sugar, convert it to alcohol, and then into a vinegar. This means metals such as aluminum will have negative reactions to the acid being produced.

empty quart jar

For each quart jar use 1/4 cup of sugar. If you’re using a gallon sized container just scale it up to 1 cup per gallon of water.

Next add in your fruit scraps. I made two kinds of vinegar from leftover fruit scraps. Pineapple vinegar, and pomegranate vinegar. Make sure none of the fruit you’re using has been eaten on, or you will be introducing bad bacteria to your batch.

Cover the container with a thin cloth and secure with a rubber band or other restraint. The cloth allows the vinegar solution to vent as the bacteria go to work converting all the sugars into alcohol. This also draws out flavor from the fruit. This process can take a couple weeks to several weeks. Just sit the container in a cool dry area and let it be.

Once the fermentation process has completed, after letting it sit for a few weeks, open your container and drain out the fruit, keeping the liquid.

Congratulations, you’ve now made alcohol, but I wouldn’t drink it. You’ve passed the sugar water solution, and made it to the alcohol stage, next up vinegar. Yep, those busy little bacteria aren’t done yet. Place your liquid back into your jars and cover with the cloth again.

pomengrante vinegar

Now let the solution sit for a few weeks up to a few months. This allows the acidification to occur and will produce a nice tangy vinegar.

Preservation Tip: You’ll notice a kind of gel like scum floating in your vinegar solution. This is referred to as the “mother”, and is actually what is helping your fruit water convert into vinegar. Leave it in there and don’t worry about it. Nature will take its course.

So now you’ve waited and waited and are finally ready to open up you jars and see what’s inside. Would you look at that, your very own homemade vinegar. Lets see what it looks like.

pomengrante vinegar pineaple vinegar

As you can see above, the pomegranate vinegar turned a nice purple as it processed. The pineapple vinegar actually has a slight yellow tint to it.


At this point you could place your vinegar into the fridge and start using it for all kinds of things. A nice marinade for some steak, or for making a homemade vinaigrette dressing. If you want to make it last a bit longer you can also can it.

Preservation Tip: Now homemade vinegar is untested and may not be very acidic. While the vinegar in the store is tested to ensure it’s strong enough to can. If you can this you do so at your own risk. Alternatively you can also test the pH of the vinegar to determine if it’s acidic enough to can. If unsure and you still want to can your vinegar, consider pressure canning it as you would for any low acid item.

I tested my vinegar and it came well within the safe limits for water bath canning.

preparing to can vinegar

I strained my vinegar to remove the mother, or gel like substance, and heated it to a boil.

boiling vinegar

After that I placed it into the water bath canner for 20 minutes. I live at a slightly higher altitude close to 3,000 ft. If you are higher than that you will want to adjust the canning time.

 

canning vinegar

When it was completed you can see how it turned out.

pineaple vinegar

I used Tattler Lids to reduce the amount of metal contact the vinegar would have.

There you have it. Homemade vinegar with only a few steps, and several weeks of waiting. You can make vinegar out of any fruit, so try it with apples, peaches, pears, grapes, or even something exotic like dragonfruit. The sky is the limit and you’ll have learned a fun new skill.

Canning Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I recently found a good deal on tomatillos at a local produce shop. Last year my wife and I had made roasted tomatillo salsa for the first time and really enjoyed it. With a deal like we found we couldn’t resist making another batch this year. I modified a recipe from Food In Jars and used it as the base for the salsa. Food In Jars also has a great recipe book with other canning and preserving recipes in it.

3lbs of Tomatillos

6 Tbs of lime juice

1 tsp of cumin

Ground sea salt to taste

Cilantro (fresh and chopped)

2 Anaheim Peppers

2 Poblano Peppers

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 onion , roughly sliced or chopped

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Canning Tip: When picking out tomatillos look for the outer paper to be somewhat loose. That indicates the fruit is actually ripe.

First I removed the outer paper wrapper from the tomatillos

Tomatillo Husks

 

After removing the paper the tomatillos look like large green tomatoes. The tomatillo is actually closer related to the gooseberry than the tomato. In fact you can slice one open and eat it raw.

 

 

Husked Tomatillos

Next it was time to rinse the tomatillos. They naturally have a sticky glue like substance on them under the paper husk. Just give them a good rinse in some cold running water.

Washed Tomatillos

After rinsing the tomatillos I cut them in half and laid them down face down in glass baking dishes. Since this was going to be a roasted tomatillo recipe I also added in the garlic, onions, and peppers. The oven was preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and I put all three baking dishes into the oven for 20 minutes. Look for the tomatillos to be soft in appearance and with liquid on the bottom of the pan. The tomatillos may also brown slightly on top which is fine.

The garlic also goes into the same pans, but with the paper on. It’ll be removed later.

Roasting tomatillos and onionsRoasting tomatillos and onions

Fresh out of the of the oven

20150819_141836Roasting tomatillos, onions, and peppers

At this point remove the garlic and once cool remove the paper wrapping around the cloves.

Washed and ready jars

While the veggies cool make sure the jars and and canning utensils are all washed and ready to go. If you haven’t started the canning pot boiling yet, now would be a good time to get it going.

 

After letting the roasted veggies cool  place them into a blender or food processor. Add the lime juice, cumin, sea salt, and garlic to the roasted veggies.

20150819_142717

It may take a few batches to pulse everything up to the consistency of salsa.

 

Heating the salsa

Heat the salsa up to at least boiling and let it simmer at a low boil for a few minutes while stirring.

Once the salsa is ready pour into prepared jars leaving at least 1/2 inch head space. Boil at least 15 minutes at sea level. Adjust time for altitude difference.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa in Jars

From the photo above you can see I used a mixture of lids for my jars including reusable Tattler Lids. These work great if you want do a lot of canning and want a lid that can be used multiple times.

20150819_144251

Lastly, enjoying the fruit of labor. Delicious homemade Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.

Now that you’ve made your very own salsa feel free to share!