Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

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Our group of close friends has began giving each other more homemade gifts for holidays.  It is really fun to see what crafts, homemade items, and creativity we can come up with.  At Christmas we sat around my living room opening presents.  I opened the wrapping revealing a canning jar with a garnet colored liquid with something gelatinous floating within.  I excitedly yelped, as I knew precisely what it was.  A mother.

To start vinegar, as in many other cases, one must have a mother.  Rodney started his many months prior with an apple cider vinegar mother simply taken from a bottle of organic apple cider that says the mother is included.  Bragg’s makes one.  Seclude the gelatinous being floating about the jar (boy, this is getting more and more appetizing as we write, but stay with me now, good things are coming…) and place in a large glass container.  For me, I got part of the red wine mother that was floating in Rodney’s vinegar after several months of brewing.

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I placed the pint jar of old wine that became vinegar with the mother in a large glass container, added 1 cup of water, and the remaining wine in the bottle of red that had just started to turn.  I covered it with cheesecloth to keep fruit flies out (Lord, those guys like to drink) and any cat hair floating through the air.

I am the sole wine drinker here at the farm unless I have friends or students over so I always have that last cup of wine lurking at the bottom of the bottle by the fourth day.  It is not quite vinegar, not quite drinkable.  And that last bit of precious wine does not go down the drain any longer but into the vat of vinegar on the counter.  Oh, it is a lovely sight.  I am not wasting wine, and I am making a product to give to friends, use myself in my farm kitchen, and sell at the farmer’s markets.  In two months that first seven cups of wine, water, and mother have become the most delicious red wine vinegar.  Just keep adding wine to the mixture.

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White wine makes white wine vinegar, champagne makes champagne vinegar, beer makes malt vinegar, etc.  It is superior to the stuff in the store and a lot cheaper than the fine vinegars at the market.  I have made lovely salads for two days now with this vinegar that went something like this;

Tear up fresh butter lettuce, sprinkle on blue cheese, add slivered almonds, sliced strawberries.  In a bowl mix 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar, a dollop of grainy mustard, a large dollop of jam (I used raspberry jalapeno), and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla salt.  Mix well and drizzle over salad.  A perfect combination of sweet, sour, savory, salt, and spice.  Serve with Pinot Grigio. 

9 Comments Add yours

  1. debweeks says:

    Now I’ve added another future project to my to-do list. Thanks 🙂

  2. Lisa says:

    Ohhhhh, I can’t wait to try that. I fermented many things but not this. 😉 Thanks for the wonderful recipe and salad.

  3. Dear Farmgirl– you are so ready for the total pleasures of vinegar from fruit scraps! http://kitchencounterculture121.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/scrap-vinegars/

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I’ll check it out, thanks!

  4. Cheryl says:

    Thanks Katie!I bought a bottle of Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. How do I get started using that as the mother?

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I called Rodney. He said he poured the whole bottle into the large glass jar and poured quite a lot of wine over it (perhaps 2 bottles?). He said that if you don’t have a lot of wine to start with or don’t want it too “appley” then pour off some of the vinegar first. Make sure you get the swirly gelatinous part and as much sediment as you can to start.

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