Red Wine Vinegar Recipes: Try Variations and Expand Your Palate
If you like to cook, you’re probably familiar with red wine vinegar. Most of us have no idea whether it really comes from red wine or not. The truth of the matter is yes, it does indeed come from red wine. If you’ve ever wanted to make red wine vinegar, here are a couple of red wine vinegar recipes so you can make it yourself!
Everybody’s heard about wine left out too long or aged improperly turning into vinegar. There is some truth to this old tale. Under the right conditions, wine can turn into vinegar, but this isn’t always the case. In order for wine to become vinegar, you have to have the right kind of bacteria present. You may have looked at vinegar under a microscope in biology class in high school and already know that vinegar contains an active, live bacteria called Mycoderma aceti. Now, don’t let yourself get dissuaded right off the bat – we need these bacteria in our red wine vinegar recipes!
So what do we need for our red wine vinegar recipes? Well, there are two ways to do it, the old-fashioned, more time-consuming way or the short route. Red wine vinegar recipes, no matter what way you slice it, need a vinegar mother, also known as a mother of vinegar. The vinegar mother is simply an unpleasant looking layer of accumulated bacteria that contains most of the bacteria in the vinegar. If you want to do things the old-fashioned way, you can make the vinegar mother yourself, but if you want to take a short cut you can buy one on the internet or at a store that has accessories for wine makers.
Old-fashioned red wine vinegar recipes are the harder of the two, but arguably the most fulfilling and gratifying. You first need to add your Mycoderma aceti bacteria (which you can buy online or at the aforementioned store) to your wine in a crock, sized for how much vinegar you need. Next, cover the top of the crock with cheese cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Set it somewhere cool (not the fridge – that’s too cool), and let it go for three months. After three months, a vinegar mother will have formed. Once you have confirmed that, begin adding roughly a cup of wine each week until the vinegar mother sinks to the bottom of the crock. After the mother sinks, you can filter the vinegar with coffee filters to get rid of any solids and put it in a bottle for storage.
If you don’t have a lot of time but still want to make red wine vinegar, you can buy a vinegar mother and cut the prep time in half. In this case, it’s the same method as above, but you add one or two cups of wine to the crock once or twice weekly for three weeks then let it sit for eight weeks. After that, filter your vinegar and bottle it. It’s that easy!