Vinegar is made by using a ‘mother’ – a culture of bacteria that feeds off the sugars in the fruit, converting them to vinegar.
• 5 apples, quartered
• water – enough to cover
MAKES & KEEPS
Makes a variable amount.
Each batch keeps for 2 years or more.
Leave the apples to brown in the air, then place them in a large pot – the pot should be large enough so that they don’t come up to the very top – and cover them with water.
Cover the pot with a thin cloth and leave in a warm, dark place. Check it every day, stirring to aerate the mixture and skimming off any froth that comes to the top. After a few days it will start developing a thicker layer on top – this is the vinegar mother beginning to grow. Stop stirring at this point. The liquid will become clearer as the vinegar flavour develops.
After a month, start tasting the mixture by carefully taking a little liquid out with a clean spoon. When you like the tartness, strain the liquid through muslin and bottle it for use. It is normal for a sediment to form in the standing bottles.
Be aware, the first time you brew this it will take a couple of months to get the taste right; however, subsequent batches will be quicker. Once you have your vinegar mother established, you can simply add more water and apple scraps to the jar and leave to ferment.
To clean the jar, carefully remove the mother before lightly rinsing the jar with water. Do not use soap.
Vinegar mothers can last for generations.