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5 March 2014

How to make raw unpasteurised vinegar

As you know, we like giving our chickens apple cider vinegar in their water. It boosts their immunity and has a mild antibiotic effect and therefore the ability to clear up minor infections. The dosage is 25 mls per litre or 2 - 3 tablespoons per quart. They don't need it all the time. If you clean out their drinking water every couple of days, put it in every second time. About half the month they should have it in their water and half the month, just plain water.


The type of vinegar you use should be an unpasteurised  and unfiltered vinegar. These are most likely going to be apple cider vinegars and usually they contain mother of vinegar. Mother of vinegar is a jelly-like susbstance made up of yeasts and bacteria called Acetobacter. The vinegar most often used is Braggs but here in Australia, in addition to Braggs, you can use Melrose. Both are expensive because it is fermented the traditional way and not mass produced like salad or cleaning vinegar. Melrose unpasteurised vinegar is currently $6.37 for 500ml at my local IGA.

So how do we frugal folk get around that high cost? We make our own. In the unpasteurised bottles of vinegar you often find mother of vinegar and if you have a piece of it, you're on your way to making your own raw vinegar. If you don't have mother of vinegar, I did a post about making pineapple vinegar years ago, it's here, and you can use those instructions to make fruit vinegar. You don't need the mother for that process but your success will depend on the floating yeasts in your home, and maybe a passing vinegar fly - the ones most people call fruit fly that colonise rotting fruit. Vinegar flies carry tiny bits of mother on their feet.  Doesn't that sound lovely. ;- )

Yesterday I started making raw vinegar to use in our chicken water. To lessen the risk of the wrong yeast invading the liquid, you must use sterilised one litre or quart jars or crocks. Take the lids off the washed and clean jars, put your jars or crock into the oven on 150C/300F for about 15 - 20 minutes.

 This gelatinous mass is the mother I got out of the Melrose vinegar bottle. 



To make fruit vinegar using mother:
  1. Decide on the fruit you'll use, wash it thoroughly and place it all in the sterilised jar.  If you have organic fruit or fruit from the backyard, a quick rinse will do just to remove any dust. Most soft skin fruit is okay - pear, apple, plums, grapes, or take the skin and core from a pineapple and use that.
  2. Add one litre/quart of filtered or distilled water, or tap water that has stood in a bowl for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate off. 
  3. Add ¼ cup of sugar or slightly less than ¼ cup of honey. Stir.
  4. Add the mother, to the jar, cover with a clean cloth and leave it in a dark cupboard. 
I started two different type of vinegar yesterday. My second darker liquid is old white wine that I've added mother to in the hope of making white wine vinegar.

Above: the mother added to the pear liquid. 
Below: the mother added to white wine. 

Please note that fermenting is an aerobic process - it must have air to thrive. Never put an air tight lid on the jar. Stir the liquid at least once a day to incorporate air into the liquid.


Fermenting works best in darkness so either store the jar in a dark cupboard, use a stoneware crock, or tape brown paper around the outside of the jar if it's to sit on the kitchen bench.

The ideal temperature for this process is between 15C - 25C/60F - 80F degrees. It may take two weeks, it may take six months. You'll have better vinegar if it takes a few weeks rather than a few months. The liquid may turn brownish and become clear again, it may develop yeasts on the top. If it's simple grey yeast, simply remove it with a clean spoon. If it's pink mould, throw the vinegar out and start again. Cleanliness is important in this process - start with sterilised jars, wash your hands before and after touching the vinegar, and always use clean utensils and cloths.

After a couple of weeks, taste the vinegar and if it tastes like weak vinegar, you've been successful. Remove the fruit from the liquid and put it in the compost. Keep the jar of liquid going in darkness with the cloth cover until the flavours develop more. If the liquid doesn't taste like vinegar, keep stirring every day, keep it in the dark with the cover over the top and taste it again in a week or so.

I can't tell you how long it will take to make vinegar. I can't even say you'll be successful, it will depend on the yeasts and bacteria in your home. I can tell you that if you use anti-bacterial wipes or clean with bleach, you've got little chance of the beneficial yeast and bacteria being there.  But if it does work for you, you'll have a cheap but very good raw vinegar to give your chickens.

Good luck my friends.

Food security ✔︎
Self-reliance  ✔︎

FURTHER READING

29 comments:

  1. Gr8 post,Rhonda!

    Thanks for sharing;-)

    X

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  2. Thanks so much for posting about homemade vinegar!! Your previous post resulted in our home now having homemade vinegar from well washed skins of banana, papaya and pineapple – more to come as other fruits come into season. ;-) I found that rinsing the jars with boiling water and inverting them to cool was easier (cheaper and didn’t heat up the house as much) for me than using the oven to sterilize the jars. Also the utensils were sterilized in very hot water, to prevent contamination. My vinegar developed well in low light (no dark place available here.) The mother of vinegar from ACV worked well even though the fruits were different. I, too, have found that inoculating the solution resulted in a faster production with a much more flavorful vinegar. We really enjoy the more mellow, flavorful homemade vinegar in our cooked food!!!

    I know you do not publish links, but I just wanted to share this with you (for you to decide if you want to share it and how) – you may delete it from the post.. The following link gives some information to determine the percent acetic acid in your batch of homemade vinegar if you wish to use it for food preservation, due to special flavors you may wish to impart to your preserved foods. http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/Pickles/a/How-To-Safely-Use-Homemade-Vinegar-In-Pickling.htm

    Looking forward to more fun and interesting posts!! Thanks!!

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    1. Thanks for your comment. It's good to know that others are using their homemade vinegars on their own food. You're right, they're mellow and full of flavour.

      I loved the link, thanks for sharing it. The only links I don't like are the commercial ones and those that go straight to someone's blog when the link for that already exists on the top of most comments. These links, the ones that expand on our knowledge of the subject at hand are more than welcome. XX

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  3. Morning Rhonda....so was the gelatinous mother left in the acv bottle when you'd finished it, or does it float around in there? All my animals get a slosh of acv in their water, with a dried chilli steeped in it.....a woman I know in the States who has a large free range chicken flock and sells the eggs, does this, says it keeps her chooks healthy. I might try this with the next bottle of acv I buy, so I start without the chilli. Lovely rain on the rooftop this morning.

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    1. Nanette, the mother floats around and is often on the top of the liquid. I can see chooks liking chillies. Bird can't detect the hotness of chillies and eat them straight down. In my last home, I remember watching bower birds feasting on my bird's eye chilli bushes every morning.

      Our tanks are full again. :- )

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  4. Have a jar of vinegar on the bench and bookmarked this to try when it is getting low - organic apple cider vinegar so should develop a mother in there!

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  5. Thanks Rhonda, when I cleaned out dads house a year ago I found some BrAggs vinegar and brought it back with me because I could see the mother in it....this is a timely reminder to get on with making some. I haven't used it for my chooks before so that will be interesting. Any time I do things like this people come and decide to clean up my mess/kitchen though...like when my mum threw out my 2 year old sourdough leaven from the fridge because it looked like I had left a cup of coffee in there for weeks......

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    1. Isn't it strange that when people don't identify something or it looks a bit odd, they think it's rubbish. Guard the Braggs, Vikki.

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  6. How interesting Rhonda. I have never heard of mother of vinegar.
    I don't have chickens, but was interested to learn this.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (south England) UK

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  7. Never even thought of making vinegar. Plus I forgot about IGA.
    Coffee is on

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  8. Hi Rhonda thank you for this interesting post. Your chickens are lucky little cluckys get the homemade quality vinegar. I was wondering if us humans can consume homemade vinegar like this, is it safe for us? Or just chicken fare? Thank you also for your interesting and well-written posts, your blog is my favourite. This is my first comment so I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog.

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    1. Most definitely, it's beautiful vinegar. The pineapple vinegar goes really well with fresh salsa and the apple vinegar is delicious in red cabbage. Thanks for your first comment. I hope it's not your last. : - )

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  9. Thanks for the great post Rhonda. I'm really keen to give vinegar a go as I use it a lot and not keen on the price! I havent found a mother that big in my melrose acv but maybe I have to wait a little longer. There are little bits floating around in there.
    I have been making lots of kombucha tea lately and the mother looks very similar but i imagine the yeasts and bacteria are different? kxx

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    1. Kombucha is different but the little floating bits in the Melrose is a good sign. Put some in a jar with the lid off and stir it. It will hurry it along.

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  10. Can't wait to try this. I put a teaspoon of ACV into the dog's water bowl (about 1 litre of water) as it's said to prevent fleas. Although I'm not very religious about it, I've still only had to treat the animals for fleas once in the last two years.

    Madeleine.x

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  11. I buy my vinegar from a friend of mine. I use it for my goats, chooks and us! I hadn't realised it was so easy to make. I'm going to give it a shot with my own apples! Thank you!

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  12. Ps. Does the jar need to be cram packed with fruit or do you just use a few pieces?

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    1. Linda, one or two apples should do it.

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  13. Does the vinegar added to the water for the other creatures (birds, goats, dogs) have to be acv or can it be any kind of homemade unpastuerized vinegar as long as it has in live and active cultures?

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    1. I think any vinegar would be better than none at all but raw vinegars have more benefits.

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  14. Great post! You have such a nice way of explaining things. My neighbor made a barrel of vinegar with apples from his orchard six years ago then forgot about it in his deep storage root cellar. He recently rediscovered it and just like a fine wine, it aged beautifully!!

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    Replies
    1. wow, I hope you got a bottle of it. How lovely!

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  15. Hi Rhonda, I really enjoyed your post and am going attempt making my own vinegar this weekend as we have home grown pineapples here to eat and thanks to you I now have a use for the core and skins. I went down to my local IGA this morning to buy some Melrose Apple Cider Vinegar and could only find jars with a brown sediment on the bottom and nothing like the jelly like mother you have. Then I went to the local organic shop across the road to see what they had. I was trying to explain what I had seen on your blog to the shop owner when I just happen to look around and saw your book (which I already have a signed copy of) on their shelves.
    I want to start putting the apple cider vinegar in the chooks water as you suggested. By the way, some of my chickens were purchased from Kate at Beautiful Chickens (what a find) and I want to ensure they remain healthy and happy here. I'm so happy to have found Kate (from reading your blog) who is in my local area as I have just recently moved here to acreage and am wanting to increase my flock. Just wanted you to know I love reading your blog and have been doing so for around three years now. Warm Regards, Suzanne

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    1. Hello Suzanne, thanks for the generous feedback. The particles in the ACV is the beginnings of mother but it will take a a few months for it to develop. You can buy mother although I forget where now. I'm sure I saw it advertised somewhere online. It might we worth googling it.

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  16. I have never even thought about making my own vinegar before, but now that I've "seen" you do it, I think I can. Thanks for the inspiration (and instructions).

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  17. My mother always insisted that the vinegar mother should never touch anything metal or it would die. For the life of me I could never work out why that should be until I then finally realised that the tall tale was designed to ensure that you never made vinegar in a metal container as of course the acid would corrode the metal.

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    1. The corrosion factor has arisen in my mind because the vapors from making vinegar seem to be quite strong. I was wondering if I put the cloth covered jars into a cabinet if the vapors would rust the cabinet hardware: hinges, screws for the handles, pilaster strips and clips.

      I have been using coconut oil with vinegar as a home-made furniture polish, but as you mentioned, one must be careful not to have it come in contact with metal because of the corrosion factor. It is a lovely furniture polish - all natural, lovely smell, no problem with absorption of toxic chemicals through the hands or through breathing the "fumes." I store the polish in a glass bottle with a plastic cover. In the winter it is solid and if I need it solid in the summer, I put it in the refrigerator.

      I haven't made the furniture polish with home-made vinegar yet (I prefer to consume my home-made vinegar because it tastes so good! I am looking forward to making enough vinegar to be able to use the home-made vinegars (most likely out of citrus) for household maintenance purposes like cleaning and polishing. My wood is all dark (mahogany, santa maria and cedar that has darkened with age) so I do not need to worry about staining.

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  18. I have been making vinegar from my water kefir this year, and have just started using the first batch. I used the second ferment, strained out the grains and added about a cup of apple juice to the kefir and covered with a cloth. Within days the mother began to form on the surface and it had a definite vinegar smell. I tried making a batch without adding any juice to it, but it took a lot longer to form the mother, though after a month there is a thin one on the surface. It smells very vinegar-y too. I'd like to order a kit to test the acidity, but am not too worried about it. I'm hoping to make enough to be able to stop buying the white vinegar from the shops for cleaning and laundry.

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