DIY Vinegar and September Urban Farm Challenge
I’m never exactly sure why people are here, I mean there’s the recipes, gardening info, and home decorating tips (ha! just checking to see if you were paying attention). And then I suspect there’s people who are here in spite of the roadkill, the pee-fertilizer, and rooster-butchering.
But if you’re here to learn how to make your own vinegar, then hello!
(Actually, you dear dear people told me very generously why you’re here, and oh boy did I love reading these comments).
Hello! I am hawthorn berry vinegar-in-the-making.
September is a great time to make your own vinegar because the main ingredient is fruit, and even the sorriest looking fruit will work, with all its bruisy softness and orbiting fruit flies.
And I know vinegar seems like the crazy no-man’s-land of home preserving, like you may have to quit your job just to have the time to figure this one out, but pssst, it’s crazy easy, and you when you pull out your gorgeous bottle of homemade vinegar to dress the salad for company, you can blush modestly over your own chemistry skills.
Also, if you need one more reason to make your own vinegar…prizes! I’m hosting this month’s Urban Farm Challenge, a fun idea cooked up by author of Urban Farm Handbook, Annette Cottrell, to create community around simple homesteading tasks throughout the season.
Previous challenge hosts:
Marisa of Food in Jars; Challenge: creating your own fruit preserves recipe
Erica of Northwest Edible: Challenge: seed starting
Wardeh of GNOWFLINS; Challenge: fermenting
Hank Shaw of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook; Challenge: foraging
To enter, you…simply make vinegar. And then in one month, on Annette’s blog, there will be a post in which you can comment (0r write a post about it on your blog and link to it) and confirm that yes, you made vinegar to be entered in the drawing for these prizes:
Kate Payne’s book Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
Annette Cottrell’s book Urban Farm Handbook
Also, on the September Challenge forefront is bartering! Go here to read more and for an extra chance to win groovy books.
I’ve made apple vinegar and pineapple vinegar (swoon!) and this time I made hawthorn berry vinegar because I’m fond of those wild fruits and we have a nice hawthorn shrub leaning over our chicken coop.
Look who else likes hawthorn berries! (truthfully, there’s not much these hens *don’t* like).
1-2 cups chopped/crushed fruit (can include peels, cores, rinds)
1/4 cup sugar
1 quart water
1/2 gallon jar
1) Dissolve sugar in water. Add fruit. Cover with cheesecloth and leave alone. Make sure fruit is fully submerged. You can place a clean rock in your jar to weight down the fruit or shake your jar daily so that the floating fruit get covered with the fermenting liquid and will be less likely to mold.
2) In a week, notice bubbling and water darkening. Strain out fruit.
3) Let liquid sit for another 2-3 weeks, with lid on instead of cheesecloth now, to continue fermenting, shaking up periodically.
4) Taste. Give yourself huge props for making a pantry staple.
5) Enter giveaway on Annette’s site in mid-October to win prizes.
Special hawthorn berry gathering friend.
Hawthorn berries are good for hearts and veins. When I worked at the herb shop, we saw several people who dazzled their docs by replacing their blood pressure meds with hawthorn berry tincture.
Water, berries, sugar. That’s it. (You could use honey but it will take longer. Also the yeast consumes the sugar and gives us acetic acid. See, chemistry!)
Day 5. This is the part where the aroma of your vinegar-to-be smells a little like my backyard when I lived next door to a frat house in Boulder, Colorado. Not pleasant, but active.
Day 9. The straining.
Step 3: Sitting. See, not too challenging.
Okay! Everyone ready? If you win will you let me borrow the books? Feel free to leave questions in the comments below.