Wine vinegar is basically an acetic liquid obtained from a fermented mixture of wine and vinegar used in cooking, as a salad dressing or a flavoring agent to a variety of dishes. Whether made from red or white wine, homemade wine vinegar is strong, concentrated, flavorful and a more prevalent kind of vinegar especially when on a budget.
A clear clean jar, an alcoholic beverage, a “mother” vinegar, and cheesecloth are the four must-haves in vinegar preparation besides time as a factor. A clean jar comes in handy when a mixture has been set and monitoring it needed without necessarily having to constantly open the jar. Letting air and light into the mixture can undesirably alter the entire process. Vinegar can ideally be achieved out of any alcoholic beverage with an ABV of at least 5 %. The mother vinegar, which can either be homemade or purchased, will help in starting off the fermentation process while time as a factor determines the quality of your end product.
Homemade wine vinegar can easily be achieved by leaving a three-quarter full opened wine in a warm place for a couple of weeks. Naturally, oxidation will take place giving birth to wine vinegar. However, this comes with a share of its challenges. This process needs you to have your wine open in a warm place, however, fruit flies are naturally destined to concentrate around or worse still, infest the entire wine bottle.
Larger amounts of wine vinegar, on the other hand, can be made at home by employing the use of “mother” vinegar which can also be purchased as live or unpasteurized vinegar. This mother vinegar can alternatively be achieved by fermenting a mixture of wine vinegar.
Aside from making your own vinegar at home, also be sure to read “How To Make Wine At Home” for a full guide to making wine at home.
Four cups of wine and 1 cup of mother vinegar are mixed together in a jug then left to ferment at optimum temperatures of between 24°C and 26 °C for a period of two to three months. This combination is covered with a cheesecloth that is safely secured with a rubber band at the base to block the entry of light and air into the mixture.
A few days on, a new mother vinegar layer will form at the top of the mixture as the old mother vinegar settles at the bottom of the jug. This vinegar is then ready for use. If properly stored in a dry and dark place, this can be used for up to one year. Be sure to also check out “How to Store Wine After Opening” for techniques to taking care of your bottles after opening.
To achieve a perfect homemade wine vinegar, a high-quality light-weight wine of your choice (either red or white) is a basic requirement. A lightweight wine is one with mid-range alcoholic content (alcohol content dictates a wines body and weight thus a higher alcohol content translates to a higher wine weight and vice versa).
The science behind having a mild-alcohol wine is that high alcohol content inhibits bacterial activity that’s meant to transform wine into vinegar. Again, when alcohol content is too low, vinegar won’t sit well. Check out “Be Aware Of These 6 High Alcohol Content Wines” to see more info regarding picking out the correct wine.
The three basic guidelines in achieving a perfect homemade vine vinegar are:
Choose One Type of Wine & Consistently Stick to It
Whatever choice you make (red or white), be consistent. Never ever mix the two wines together as this will greatly compromise on the quality of your end-product. A flavorful wine will give rise to a flavorful vinegar. The intended use of the vinegar can be a guide in selecting the type of wine to be used. Red wine is perfect for bold salad dressings and for deglazing cooking pans. White wine vinegar is great in tenderizing meat, marinades and making vinaigrettes, stews and soups. Have you ever asked yourself, is it possible to mix red and white wine? Check out “Can You Mix Red and White Wine?” to find out.
Get a Perfect “Mother vinegar”
A mother vinegar might not necessarily be a core ingredient, but having it will sure catalyze your wine fermentation process. The active bacteria in this mother vinegar is what creates the vinegar with the help of oxygen by turning alcohol into acetic acid. Be sure to go for an active or unpasteurized vinegar when purchasing one.
With every batch of vinegar made, a new “mother” is formed. This can be repeatedly used by spooning the layer out and putting it into a clean jar and the mixture of wine and vinegar added to it. This process can be repeated over and over for as long as you want and the beauty with this is that a “mother vinegar” from one kind can be used to start another kind of vinegar (i.e. a mother from white wine could be used in red or cider wine)
Constantly Monitor Your Mixture
A constant check on your mixture from time to time is important as sometimes a step might have been skipped or overlooked and this will help you identify and curb it at the right time. You might unknowingly have used pasteurized vinegar instead of the unpasteurized and such a mistake will not yield vinegar. In such a case, discarding the current mixture and creating a new one is the solution.
Usage is dependent on one’s preference. While most people prefer to use it as a salad dressing, some like to consume it straight by taking a tablespoon or two in the morning and evening. Cosmetically, a diluted form has been used as a toner. The quality of wine vinegar, whether commercially produced or homemade, depends on its length of aging. Longer aged wine vinegar simply tastes richer and better. Be sure to also check out “12 Amazing Red Wine Vinegar Health Benefits” and see the amazing benefits you can get from your homemade vinegar.
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