I’ve been meaning to blog about my fall cleaning and canning activities, I’ve been so busy that I get overwhelmed thinking about where to start. Hence, I haven’t blogged in ages.
So I’m starting simply, with a picture I took yesterday when the sun came out for the first time in ages.
I’ve had five of these half gallon jars going since last weekend. Pear scraps, water, a few teaspoons sugar, and a splash of clear rum to make vinegar. I will probably strain out the pear pieces in a week or so, then let the liquid continue to ferment for several months.
Vinegar is something I’ve been making for more than a decade. I can’t remember the last time I bought the stuff at the store, unless you count the white vinegar I sometimes use for cleaning.
This is the first time I have added alcohol to the initial mix. When making vinegar from fruit scraps comma I generally throw the fruit scraps in the jar, mash them down, add a little water ( but not enough to cover the fruit), and maybe a little sugar if the amount of water I’ve added is more than half a cup to a gallon of fruit. I’ll let it sit overnight, and then if the fruit has not expelled enough liquid on its own to keep itself fully submerged, I will top up with some extra water.
That and time are all that’s needed, but adding a pinch of bread year can speed up the fermentation process and help prevent the concoction from getting moldy. (It can also make your vinegar bubble over into a big mess.)
I recently read that another trick for speeding up fermentation / preventing mold is to add a splash of hard liquor to your mix. I’ve had a bottle of rum sitting around in my kitchen since two Christmases ago, when I bought some for making Christmas stollen. So I tried that and it’s working out great so far. It’s allowing the natural yeasts present in the fruit to do their work, while dispensing the bad microbes. I’ve got a nice thin layer of white yeast floating at the top of my vinegar jars, and no mold to speak of, and it smells wonderful– like a light hard cider.