Some of you may recall grandparents talking about sipping vinegar “back in their day” and how it was good for their constitution, gout, the sugar or insert-any-other-old-timey-ailment-word-here. And really, they weren’t all that off. Although their Windex-styled fix-it-all solution is hilarious, they really were on to something.
Natural raw vinegars, ya know, the ones with the mother in them, are quite good for you and are a great source of good bacteria that aid in the health of your gut and overall body. (If your gut is horrid, the rest of you is going to feel horrid because you’re not getting the necessary nutrients to pass through the blood-gut barrier or you’re getting mal-digested nutrients passing through. Bottom line – it’s horrid.)
Anyway, fruit vinegar is easy to make and isn’t super vinegary. In fact it makes a great mocktail. In the heat of the summer, I’ll grab a tumbler, throw a few ice cubes in it, some gassy mineral water (San Pellegrino is my fave) and a bit of the vinegar. The result? A light and refreshing drink that’s outta this world.
You’re going to look at it and wonder how you ever bought your own vinegars. Trust me. I do it to myself. In the mirror. True story. I frequent vinegar shops all the time and have been known to drop $100 on a few bottles of fruit vinegars. Yea. I did that. A lot. Whoops.
A few key things:
- Your fruit shouldn’t be moldy or rotten.
- They should be fresh, not frozen (I made that mistake once).
- Scraps work, too! And they’re economical. Which I like. Bruised fruit is also okay. Use peels, rinds, cores, etc.
- Use organic. If you can’t afford organic, ask your organic grocer if they have “seconds” in the back. Sometimes they’ll sell you those for a discounted price.
- Also, if you can’t use organic, stay away from using peels.
- It’s a lot of sugar, but you need to feed the bacteria something. By the time it’s all processed and fermented, the sugar count will be much less, making it usable if you have a special diet.
- Keep fruit submerged with a glass plate, rock, plastic lid (like a yogurt lid, BPA-free).
- A bowl or wide-mouth jar works best because it encourages oxygen.
- Save the mother!!! If it develops a mother, save it for a starter for the next batch (and omit the apple cider vinegar).
- The ratio is 1 part fruit to 2 parts water.
- 4 cups fruit scraps or fresh fruit
- 1 qt filtered water
- ¼ cup organic sugar
- 1 tbsp organic raw apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg’s)
- Put scraps in the jar or bowl.
- In a separate container, dissolve water in the sugar and pour over fruit. (There should be about 1 part scraps to 2 parts water, just eyeball it and add more fruit if necessary.)
- Use a rock, plate or a plastic lid to keep fruit submerged. If it won’t stay under, stir daily to prevent mold growth.
- Cover the jar or bowl with a cheesecloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. (Make sure fruit flies can’t get in, they LOVE this stuff!)
- Let it sit on the counter for a week and then strain out all the fruit using a fine mesh colander and a coffee filter.
- Return the liquid to the container and cover it again with the cloth or filter and let it sit another 3-4 weeks.
- If white yeast develops, called Kahm yeast, try to scrape it off – it’s not bad for you. So don’t worry. Otherwise, you can strain it out in the end. If mold develops, also known as the fuzzy stuff, pitch it.
- Bottle in narrow-neck bottles, cover and store indefinitely (as in it doesn’t go bad) at room temperature.