Grape Vinegar Recipe From Scratch
I have shared apple vinegar recipe before. Now it's time for grape vinegar. Before the grape season ends, fill them in a container and set them aside. You don't need to show any effort for a natural, delicious vinegar you make on your own. All you have to do is to gather the necessary ingredients and check them in between the first days, and then not to disturb them.
Homemade vinegar tastes and smells much better than the store bought vinegars. Those who have tried my apple vinegar recipe know very well. It goes great with salads. I don't think I need to specifically point out how healthy it is. Don't be lazy, try it. Once you get used to do it, you will not want to use store bought vinegar again.
How Does Vinegar Work?
While making vinegar, our aim is to first obtain alcohol and then turn this alcohol into acetic acid. In other words, the formation of vinegar consists of two stages. The first stage is the fermentation stage. At this stage, bacteria create alcohol by using the sugar in the ingredients used to make vinegar. In the second stage, this alcohol turns into acetic acid, which forms vinegar.
There are many ways to make vinegar. You can make vinegar with only fruit, only alcohol, adding yeast to fruit, adding sugar, adding an indirect source of sugar such as chickpeas or bulgur, adding yeast and sugar together, and dozens of different versions of these. Neither is better or more accurate. All of them are applicable, applied methods. Vinegar is formed when the necessary conditions are met. All you have to do is to meet the necessary conditions. Necessary conditions are hygienic containers and ingredients, suitable temperature (between 20-30 C) and aerobic environment, namely oxygen and to prevent the formation of unwanted bacteria.
Making The Perfect Vinegar
The thing that accelerates the fermentation is the sugar in chickpeas, bulgur and fruits. If the grapes you are using are not sweet enough, you can also add some honey or sugar to supplement.
In the past, I used to make my vinegar in glass jars, but later on I started using plastic containers. I've heard before that vinegar cracks the cubes. Frankly, I ignored it because it didn't happen to me in my previous vinegar trials. But in one attempt, my glass jar cracked all the way through during the waiting period. Then I started making it in plastic containers. You can safely use BPA-free, high-quality, undamaged plastic containers for vinegar production. The acidity of vinegar between 3-5% is not sufficient to dissolve quality plastic. What makes the use of plastic in the kitchen dangerous is mostly putting plastic containers in contact with high-temperature foods and continuing to use corroded plastic containers. However, if you don't mind and want to take risks, you can prepare your vinegar in a glass jar.
You can use any type and any color of grapes for the vinegar. You can use the grapes that has started to go soft as well.
Finding out if vinegar is ready can be difficult at first try. Inexperienced eyes may find it difficult to understand whether the mother of vinegar is really the mother of vinegar or mold. If the layer formed on is green/grey, hairy and wrinkled, it means that the grapes are spoiled before they turn to vinegar. It may be because you did not mix it as often as necessary, the environment it is in is too hot, or there were unwanted bacteria/yeasts in the container you are using. The mother of vinegar has the appearance of a jellyfish. It can be straight or crooked, but not wrinkled.
Why Does a White Layer Form on Vinegar? What is Kahm Yeast?
The thing that puts people in dilemma the most when making vinegar is the white layer that forms on the vinegar. You can see this white layer not only on vinegar, but also on all kinds of fermented products, including pickles and turnip drink. Kahm yeast will not harm you or the fermentation process. However, when too much kahm yeast is mixed into the product, it may adversely affect the taste and smell of the product, or mold may form on it if it is left untouched for a long time. There are 3 things that cause Kahm yeast to form:
- Too high temperature
- Lack of hygiene
- Prolonged contact of fermented fruits or vegetables with air
Although Kahm yeast is generally not harmful, its constant presence in the fermented product is undesirable. For this reason, although there is no need to panic when you see kahm yeast, you should first find out why it is formed and then clean it. You can start by testing the ambient temperature. When the conditions are suitable, it occurs again within a maximum of 12 hours after the yeast is cleaned. To shorten this test time, instead of cleaning it, just mix it. After seeing Kahm yeast, you can lower the ambient temperature (like moving the vinegar to a cooler place or putting it in the refrigerator if it is not possible) and keep it under observation for 6-7 hours. If the kahm yeast forms again and covers the top of the vinegar, it means that the problem is not the temperature. If the yeast doesn't form again, the problem is the high temperature, which means you need to keep the temperature low.
If the source of the problem is not temperature, the second thing to suspect is hygiene. The only thing you can do to solve this problem is to strain the vinegar and transfer it to another, clean container. After doing this transfer process, you can increase the frequency of mixing the vinegar in order to minimize the contact of the fruits with the air in order to increase the precautions.
Whatever the reason for the formation of kahm yeast, the first thing you should do after discovering the cause is to collect the yeast formed on the vinegar with a plastic strainer and continue to clean it every day until the yeast formation is over.
During the waiting phase, tiny vinegar flies are often seen on the vinegar, but there are cases where you cannot see them. Don't worry about not seeing flies. Flies can sometimes be very small, not in your line of sight when you look at them, or they may have migrated to a warmer and more humid place in the house (like flower pots) that is more suitable for them. During vinegar making, vinegar flies are not only seen around the vinegar, they can also appear in different parts of the house.
Mother of Vinegar
The most important indicator of the formation of vinegar is the mother of vinegar. The mother of vinegar is the transparent (or in the color of the grape you use) layer formed on the vinegar, which does not disintegrate when you touch it. When the mother of vinegar is formed, it means that you have vinegar. If you wish, you can filter the vinegar immediately or wait a little longer and make the vinegar and mother stronger. The mother of vinegar is not always the same thickness and color. Do not panic by making comparisons with the mothers of vinegar you have obtained before or with the mother of vinegar photos you have seen. You can use the mother of vinegar formed in your vinegar as yeast in your next vinegar.
Is Salt Added to Vinegar?
It is not traditional to add salt to vinegar at the time of making it. In other words, someone who consciously makes vinegar does not use salt when preparing vinegar. Due to its protective feature, it slows down the formation of some bacteria and yeasts, including bacteria that makes vinegar formation possible, and prevents it when used in high amounts. Salt can be used to prevent the formation of bacteria and yeasts that are logically undesirable, but this is not preferred because it also has the risk of slowing down or stopping the formation of vinegar.
If Salt Is Not Added to Vinegar, Will Vinegar Become Wine?
Since there is a sensitivity to alcohol intake in Turkey, the thing that worries people most when making vinegar is to get not vinegar, but wine. We talked about the vinegar formation process above. During the fermentation stage, bacteria fed with the sugar of fruit and other added ingredients firstly form alcohol, then this alcohol turns into acetic acid, which forms vinegar. Once the resulting alcohol turns into acetic acid, in other words vinegar, it is impossible to become alcohol again. The only possibility is to filter the vinegar before all of the alcohol in it turns into acetic acid. Unfortunately, adding salt does not prevent this. If you want to make vinegar, not wine, wait until a strong mother of vinegar is formed.
Why Add Salt to Vinegar?
As a matter of fact, this is not a requirement, just a precaution. Although vinegar is known as an antibacterial product, it does not have the power to kill every bacteria. On the contrary, the acetic acid it contains allows the formation of other bacteria in the anaerobic environment. In order to prevent the formation and reproduction of these bacteria, adding pure salt in an amount that will not spoil its taste allows us to consume our vinegar with peace of mind.
Enjoy the recipe...
- 1 kg grapes of any kind,
- 3 lt water,
- 1 tbsp chickpeas,
- 1 tbsp bulgur or wheat grain if you can't find bulgur,
- 1/2 tsp sea salt.
- Wash and drain grapes,
- Place them in a big jar,
- Add in the water (make sure to submerge the grapes well),
- Add in chickpeas and bulgur,
- Cover the top of the jar with cheese cloth and tie the cloth using a thread,
- Store it somewhere dark and cool for about 20 days until the grapes sink to the bottom (for the first few days stir everyday, then stir twice a week),
- Remove the cheesecloth, cover the lid loosely and keep it in the same place without stirring for 30-45 days more,
- During this period, often check the vinegar and if you see kahm yeast, clean it,
- At the end of this time drain our vinegar with a cheese cloth, stir in salt and transfer to narrow mouth glass bottles.