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Fruit Vinegar

http://www.rural-revolution.com/2013/07/making-fruit-scrap-vinegar.html

INGREDIENTS

Take fruit scraps (peels, cores, bruised unusable fruit, etc) and put in a glass jar, food-grade plastic container, or ceramic crock. Chop up the larger pieces for faster results.
• Cover the fruit scraps generously with sugar water. The sugar water should be in a ratio of 1 quart water: 1/4 cup sugar. Over time the scraps may swell, so be generous in the amount of sugar water.
• Cover with cheesecloth or other thin cloth and secure with a rubber band or cord.
• Allow to ferment for at least two weeks or until the bubbles stop forming.
• Strain out the fruit scraps and preserve the juice in a new clean container (glass jars work well).
• Cover with cheesecloth or other thin cloth and secure with a rubber band or cord.
• Allow this fermented juice to acidify for several weeks or even months.
• Strain through several layers of damp cloth into clean sterile jars, and use either a cork or a plastic lid to close the jar.
• If desired, pasteurize or even water-bath can the vinegar.

INSTRUCTIONS

1.• The smaller the fruit waste, the faster the fermentation. While the scraps don’t have to be pulverized, you might want to chop up the really big stuff.
2.• Oxidized (browned) scraps seem to make a better vinegar than fresh scraps. This isn’t hard to do, as presumably the scraps are sitting by and quietly oxidizing while you’re busy processing the whole fruit.
3.• Do not use metal containers while fermenting the fruit or acidifying the juice. Some people also say you should avoid plastic, but I used plastic bakery buckets during the fermenting stage and had no problems. If you use plastic, it should be food-grade. Glass jars or ceramic crocks are also wonderful.
4.• If your fruit is not organic, it would be best to scrub or wash the fruit before peeling so the peels won’t have pesticide residue during the fermentation process.
5.• The wider the mouth, the more wild bacteria will be captured, and the faster the fermentation process will happen.
6.• If you see a scum forming on top, don’t disturb it; this is the mother. Eventually the mother will sink toward the bottom and continue its work. However if you see mold forming on top, by all means skim that off. Mother isn’t moldy; it’s scummy.
7.• If you have chlorinated city tap water, you might want to purchase distilled water to use for vinegar since the chemicals in urban water can kill or contaminate the “mother.”
8.• Homemade vinegar should NOT be used for canning pickles or other fermented food. Vinegar for canning needs to be at 5% acidity level, and homemade vinegar varies wildly in its acid content. Even pH test strips cannot accurately gauge proper acidity levels in homemade vinegar.
9.• If you want to speed up the fermentation process, you can add about a cup of Bragg’s Vinegar (or other natural unfiltered vinegar, often found in health food stores) to “seed” the fermenting fruit with mother. You can also purchase “Mother of Vinegar” from such places as Lehmans.com.