Sunday, May 8, 2011
*or white, if you prefer. I'm not vinegar-ist. (or am I?) I am definitely wine-ist. And I do prefer the taste of red grapes over white ones ... oh dear ...
1. Because if you're going to spend your hard-earned money on good red wine, you do not want to waste a drop of it. Particularly if it's a lovely organic or biodynamic variety that you ordered online, or picked up from your most-favourite winery on your drive back from Sydney.
And ... I know you've thrown
And we'll make it into vinegar.
2. Homemade vinegar tastes *amazing*. I know, I'm always saying that ... about everything. But this is one little treat you can easily make for yourself ... and then showcase it on salad after salad after salad. Or use it to pickle things. Or bottle it up and give it to friends ... Or try to figure out how to use it in a dessert, (and then come back here and share your idea, please, 'cause I'm very keen on the concept ...)
3. This is science at its best! Little, naturally-occurring bacteria ferment the alcohol in your wine - turning it into acetic acid. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you even get a weird little seaweedy-thing growing in there ... which sounds disgusting, but is actually an indication that your vinegar is living and active and that the bacteria are doing their job. (The official name of the seaweedy-thing is 'the mother'.)
So why not set the kids on a little science project ... converting the dregs of mum and dad's wine habit into something the whole family can enjoy?
Red or White Wine Vinegar
recipe from the awesome book Ideas in Food - by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot
*if you're a scientist ... and I know a lot of you out there are ... you will love this book.
5 min prep + 1 week ferment + 1 more week ferment + indefinite storage/aging
3 cups organic, unfiltered, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar*
4 cups red or white wine
*the authors recommend starting with organic cider vinegar because it typically has healthy, living, vinegar-making bacteria in it.
**I recommend using organic wine, too.
1. Clean out a large jar with hot soapy water and dry it at a low temperature in the oven. When the jar's cooled down to room temperature, put the cider vinegar and the wine into it. Cover with a muslin cloth and set the lid on top. (Don't actually put on the lid ... the bacteria need to breathe)
2. Put your concoction in a dark cupboard and ignore it for a week.
3. After a week, it should be starting to smell more vinegar-y than wine-y. You can add 2 cups more wine at this time, if you want. Put the cloth (or a clean one) back on, and return the jar to the cupboard for another week. Don't stir/knock/abuse it during this time.
4. Whenever you remember your vinegar - after that week is over - strain it into a clean jar or bottle for storing. It's ready to use now - and its flavour will continue to evolve over the months to come.
NOTE: Save some of your homemade vinegar and any 'mother' you get for the next batch! You should be able to use it instead of the apple cider vinegar as a starter.
I buy up apple cider vinegar when I find it on special. It has lots of reputed health benefits and I use 1 tsp of it + 1 c regular milk as a substitute for buttermilk in baking. I'm considering the wine free - because, really, we were going to throw it out, right? So I get 1.75L of lovely, organic vinegar for around $3. The next batch? Free.
(Now why didn't they teach *this* in chemistry class??)