What Is Mother Of Vinegar?
Mother of vinegar is a cloudy, stringy substance that is often found in vinegar. It is a harmless substance made of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria. It can be added to alcohols such as wine or hard cider to produce vinegar. Its scientific name is Mycoderma aceti.
Occasionally you may find mother of vinegar in purchased vinegar, especially if it is unpasteurized. It is common in “raw” vinegar, for example.
You don’t need to filter it out of the vinegar, but if you’d like to remove it you can strain your vinegar through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. The mother of vinegar can then be added to wine or apple cider to create a new batch of vinegar.
Making Vinegar With Mother Of Vinegar
If you want to make your own vinegar, you can either just let alcohol sit out in the open for a few weeks (with no lid, because it needs oxygen to turn into vinegar), or you can add mother of vinegar to alcohol to create it more quickly.
It can be added to wine, hard cider, and even beer to make flavorful vinegar. This vinegar can be used for flavoring in recipes, for medicinal purposes, for cleaning, etc.
Step-By-Step Instructions For Making Vinegar
Making vinegar is actually a very simple process. It’s one of the easiest things you can make in the kitchen, actually. It only takes a few weeks, and then you can age the vinegar as long as you want to let it mellow and increase the complexity of its flavor.
What You Will Need:
- A non-metallic container such as a glass jar, plastic bowl, crock, or wooden cask
- Mother of vinegar, which you can get online (or just buy vinegar that contains it, like this one)
- Unchlorinated water
- Alcohol of your choice
- Glass bottles with lids or corks to store your vinegar in
> Step One: Create Your Vinegar Mix
Add 1 part mother of vinegar, 1 part water, and 2 parts alcohol to your non-metallic container. If you are using apple cider or beer to make your vinegar, you don’t need to use the water. Stir the mixture gently and cover with a few layers of cheesecloth.
> Step Two: Let It Sit
Next, let your vinegar mixture sit in an area that is relatively warm. The ideal temperature range is 65-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it out of the sun. Watch it carefully, and if you see any signs of mold, or the mixture starts to smell like paint thinner, throw it out and start again. This isn’t likely to happen, but watch for it just to be safe.
> Step Three: Taste The Vinegar
It will probably take at least two weeks for the vinegar to be ready. After this time, taste a small spoonful. If it tastes like vinegar, you’re golden. If not, or if it’s not as strong as you like, leave it another week or two.
> Step Four: Strain The Vinegar
When your vinegar is the right strength for your taste, strain it into a clean glass bottle or jar and seal it tightly with a lid or cork. A narrow neck bottle is ideal, because it will keep your vinegar from oxidizing.
> Step Five: Save The Mother
Pour the mother back into the original container you made your vinegar in and pour a little bit of vinegar over it. You can start another batch of vinegar at this time, or you can just cover it and leave it out for as long as a month before you use it again.
> Step Six: Age Your Vinegar
Finally, you should allow your vinegar to age for a while to improve the flavor before you use it. You might want to let it age for at least six months, and up to two years. Once the vinegar as two years old, the flavor will start to decline, so it’s best to use it before that time.