Q and A: making cheese, rum vinegar, and sewing a zipper — 5 Comments

  1. You can leave a bottle of wine or whatever open in the hope that the right bacteria will find their way in. From what I’ve read, it may work or it may not. It’s true that the required bacteria are in the air but to increase your chances and speed the process up somewhat use a bit of unpasturised raw vinegar. There are several brands out there but Bragg apple cider vinegar seems to be the most popular. As it is unpasturised, it still contains the living culture. I have done this at home with good results. I diluted some vodka down to about 6% alcohol. I had about 2 litres of this 6% soloution. To that i added a slosh of raw apple cider vinegar, covered it in cheese cloth and put it in a dark cupboard. It’s important to note that you must use a glass, stainless steel or ceramic vessel to do this in, as anything else could taint the vinegar and even potentially poison you. Another note is that the bacteria don’t like light, hence the dark cupboard and it needs oxygen, so don’t seal the jar and use cheesecloth to keep the insects out. I like using glass as I can easily see what is going on within. A by product of the reaction is a cellulose film forming, called the mother. That is perfectly normal, just try not to disturb it. If it falls to the bottom just pull it out with clean hands. It can then be used to start the next batch off. By doing this with vodka I get just a basic white vinegar. I then use that as a plant to start off more exotic vinegars. I’m currently in the process of making vinegar from stout, pale ale and earl grey tea with vodka added. Not sure what the tea will be like but it’s an experiment. Hope this can help.

  2. We’ve been making Rum in my organic Chemistry class. I keep a blog of each of my classes so I recently posted a blog on the fermentation part (step 1). This is the major step in creating the vinegar as well.

    Once you’ve made the alcohol (before distillation), you simply add Acetobacter aceti (a natural bacteria found in nature). This bacteria will convert alcohol into vinegar. You can do it with Rum, Wine, Beer, etc. The optimal range for vinegar is an alcohol content between 9 and 12% (over 15% alcohol will kill the bacteria).
    Check my blog for the entire process.

  3. There’s some good videos on YouTube about installing zippers if they want to watch….I learned things there and I’ve been sewing for about 53 years!

  4. For in depth information on fermentation – vinegar, cheese, sauerkraut, and much much more – check out the book ‘The Art of Fermentation’ by Sandor Katz. I just got this book from my library and I’m finding it very interesting and helpful. Of course Jackie’s canning book is great, too. I got it for the pressure canning (which I’m still trying to find the nerve and time to try) but I’m using it a lot for everything else.

  5. You can make any kind of vinegar by making wine or liquor, then leaving it open. The organisms responsible for the conversion are in the air, much like wild yeasts are, they just need to be caught :)