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The Vinegar Experiment

Recently I stumbled upon a magazine article that detailed the steps to make your own vinegar from leftover wine. What a wonderful idea! I'm sort of obsessed with any kind of "make it yourself" food project. I earmarked the page, determined to try this myself the next time we had some leftover wine.  

Well, the time has come. The day after opening a bottle of ridiculously inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon, it tasted...well, terrible. I couldn't make myself finish the bottle. Remembering the article I read, I decided to try my hand at making my own vinegar.  

I did some research online and lots of articles and blog posts recommended adding a "mother" -- a slimy biproduct of vinegar production that helps to kickstart the fermentation process. I didn't have a mother...well, not that kind and a few articles mentioned that it's not entirely necessary. Eager to start my vinegar experiment right away, I decided to forgo the mother.  Hopefully, my own vinegar will begin to form its own mother soon enough.

Another tip was to use a jar with a spigot. (This allows you to taste the vinegar without disturbing the "mother" that rises to the top.) I don't have one of those either. Alas, the show must go on! I pulled out a canning jar that I had just washed after using the canned tomatoes from this past summer's "Project Lotta Tomata".  

I poured the left over wine into the jar and diluted it with some water, as suggested by Ted in this  article. The jar, covered by a paper towel to allow oxygen in and to keep flies out, needs to be stored in a warm, dark place. Hmm....my tiny kitchen doesn't have a single corner that is not being used. Plus, the thought of vinegar spilling out when I (inevitably) bump it while reaching for some pot or pan makes me cringe.

So, I placed my jar in the only reasonable place I could find...the closet in our second bedroom, just between the craft scissors and my old, trusty pencil sharpener. It's my craft room/guest room. I hope the guests won't mind the smell. :-)

This little experiment should take a couple of months. Keep your fingers crossed that it works out...and that I don't spill wine/vinegar all over my carpet...and that my condo doesn't begin to wreak of vinegar.  I'll keep you posted...

Here's a short video from Chow.com I watched that simplifies the process. Enjoy!

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