Home Fermentation Recipes How to Make Vinegar from Scratch

How to Make Vinegar from Scratch

by Kaitlynn Fenley

My easy fermented fruit vinegar recipe requires only three ingredients: fruit, sugar and water. This is the perfect recipe to use up fruit scraps, overripe fruit, and any fruit you have in abundance. You can use this recipe to make homemade apple cider vinegar, apple scrap vinegar, berry vinegar, and more!

How do You Make Vinegar?

Vinegar is made via a two-part fermentation process. First, yeast consuming sugars within fruits and grains and produce alcohol; this is known as alcoholic fermentation.

Second, acetic acid bacteria consume the alcohol from step one and convert it into acetic acid. Once all the alcohol is metabolized by bacteria and converted into acetic acid, you have vinegar.

To make vinegar at home, you first essentially make wild fermented fruit wine, and then that wine turns to vinegar!

You can see in this image that the vinegar mother has formed.
It is the floaty white pieces in between the apples.

How to Make Vinegar from Fruit

It is so easy to make vinegar from fruit. You only need three ingredients: fruit, sugar, and water. It helps if you have some raw apple cider vinegar with the mother as a starter, but it is not necessary.

You can use pretty much any type of fruit to make vinegar. I suggest sticking to high fructose fruits and staying away from high-sorbitol fruits. These are two types of fermentable sugars found in fruits, and high sorbitol fruits tend to cause kahm yeast.

These are my favorite fruits to use:

To make vinegar from fruit, you just need a good bit of whatever fruit you want to use, water, and some organic cane sugar. You also need a large glass jar.

For this recipe, I suggest a gallon glass jar and a cloth cover with a rubber band. You have to use a cloth lid when making vinegar because acetic acid bacteria require oxygen to convert alcohol into acetic acid. I usually make cloth lids for fermentation by cutting up old t-shirts.

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

There is a slight difference between apple cider vinegar and apple scrap vinegar. The recipe in this blog post is more similar to an apple scrap vinegar, even though I use the whole fruit and not just scraps.

In order to make “true” apple cider vinegar, you need to first make apple cider, and then change that apple cider into vinegar.

Here’s my blog recipe for making apple cider at home. Once you make apple cider, you can turn it into vinegar by adding a vinegar mother and covering with a cloth lid. It should take about 4 to 6 weeks to turn the apple cider into vinegar.

I think my recipe (below) is easier and more functional for making vinegar at home. It’s definitely easier than going through the whole process of making cider first.

It is slightly less acidic than apple cider vinegar, but still delicious. Plus, this method is applicable to many types of fruit or mixes of fruits.

What is a Homemade Vinegar Mother?

Vinegar “with the mother” is another name for raw vinegar containing all the microbes from the brewing process. So, think of the mother as microbial cultures. Vinegar mothers form cloudy floating pieces within the vinegar and a SCOBY on the surface.

A vinegar mother SCOBY looks similar to a kombucha SCOBY but is often lighter with varying textures. Vinegar mothers in homemade vinegar are always unique. No two will look exactly the same because the wild microbes from fruit scraps will be slightly different across batches.

You can use the vinegar mother SCOBY from your first batch of vinegar to culture the next batch of vinegar.

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

I still call the vinegar I make using this recipe “apple cider vinegar” when I make it with apples. It tastes almost exactly like the ACV I buy at trader Joe’s, and I bottle it in recycled apple cider vinegar bottles from the store.

The keys to remember when making ACV or any fruit vinegar at home:

  1. Stir the vinegar once daily. Remove the cloth lid, give it a good stir, replace the lid and repeat daily until you strain the vinegar.
  2. You must use a breathable cloth lid. The microbes involved in vinegar production require oxygen to convert alcohol to acetic acid.
  3. Use a clean glass container. It is best to use glass when fermenting acidic vinegar. Clean your equipment well before getting started.

What do you use fruit vinegar for?

I use my homemade fruit vinegar in any recipe where I would use store-bought vinegar. Since fruit varies in sugar content depending on ripeness, the acidity of each person’s vinegar will vary a bit depending on the fruit used.

It may or may not be adequate for pickling and canning pickles. To make a strongly acidic vinegar, you can use more sugar and use fruits high in fructose, like mangoes. You can also add in some sulfite-free wine, tequila, or vodka in place of some of the water.

You can also test the pH with a pH strip to see if it is good for pickling/canning. Vinegar that is safe to use in pickling recipes should be approximately 2.4 pH (about 5% acidity).

Here are my favorite ways to use homemade vinegar:

  • for homemade salad dressing
  • with homemade bone broth
  • in heirloom culturing recipes like this fermented cherry tomatoes recipe
  • in mineral-rich hydrating drinks (I like to mix a tablespoon of fruit vinegar into a quart of water with a splash of coconut water, orange juice and a pinch of sea salt for a homemade hydrating “gatorade”)
  • I love using my fruit vinegar to make Fermented Pickle de Gallo.
  • You can also use homemade vinegar in Oxymel and Fire Cider recipes.
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How to Make Vinegar from Scratch

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My easy fermented fruit vinegar recipe requires only three ingredients: fruit, sugar and water. This is the perfect recipe to use up fruit scraps and overripe fruit. You can use this recipe to make homemade apple cider vinegar, apple scrap vinegar, berry vinegar, and more!

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • fermentation time: 9 weeks
  • Total Time: 1512 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 gallon
  • Category: Vinegar
  • Method: Fermentation

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of fruit*
  • 255 grams of organic cane sugar
  • Water
  • 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar with the mother
  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • cloth covering
  • rubber band

Instructions

  1. Please read the recipe notes.
  2. Chop the fruit into small chunks.
  3. Add the sugar and apples (or other fruit) to a 1-gallon glass jar.
  4. Add water to the jar until full.
  5. Add in a few tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar with the mother. This helps establish a good microbial community, and while it isn’t absolutely necessary to add I highly recommend it. If you’ve made vinegar before and have a vinegar mother, you can add it.
  6. Stir the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved.
  7. Place a cloth lid on the jar and secure with a rubber band.
  8. Stir the mixture once or twice a day and allow to ferment at room temperature for three weeks. Don’t forget to stir it. I like to just do it first thing in the morning each day.
  9. You should notice the mixture bubble within one week.
  10. After three weeks of fermentation, strain out all the fruit pieces, replace the cloth lid and allow the mixture to ferment for 6 more weeks.
  11. You will notice a vinegar mother form on the surface (it looks like a kombucha SCOBY but is very light in color). You can keep this to start your next batch of fruit vinegar.
  12. After fermentation, bottle the vinegar and seal it with a solid lid. Store at room temperature in your pantry.

Notes

  • you can use any of your favorite fruits in this recipe. High fructose and fructan fruits tend to make the best vinegar. See a list of my favorite fruits above the recipe card. Use organic and homegrown fruit whenever possible. Conventional fruits sprayed with pesticides may not work well and may lead to kahm yeast.
  • Vinegar works best with a starter culture. While it is possible to make vinegar without it, adding a vinegar mother or raw apple cider vinegar with the mother to the mixture ensures success. If you have a kombucha SCOBY or raw kombucha, you can sub for that with good results.
  • For very strong vinegar, you can also add in some sulfite-free wine, tequila, or vodka in place of some of the water.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a 5-star review below if you loved it! Tag @cultured.guru on Instagram

 

Nutrition information is auto-calculated and estimated as close as possible. We are not responsible for any errors. We have tested the recipe for accuracy, but your results may vary.

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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117 comments

KOBI ENG July 18, 2022 - 2:43 am

Hi Kaitlynn,
In terms of cleaning equipment and ingredients, I have two questions:
1. How do you sterilize big jar for making sauerkraut ? ( I usually rinse it with boiling water, rinse it again with cold water, rinse third time with medical alcohol 70°C and scrub it with clean towel )
2. Should I boil the water and let it cool down before making Sauerkraut?

Thank you Kaitlynn! Truly grateful to find your unique among most of misleading and unscientific posts on the Internet! ( Recently, I just commented on your post of Water Kefir 🙂 )






Reply
Ms Clare Huggett July 21, 2022 - 8:19 am

Fantastic well explained recipe thank you. Can I use this for making things like homemade dill pickles or isn’t it acidic enough? If not can I make a more acidic one as would like to do the whole process myself

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Kaitlynn Fenley July 21, 2022 - 8:49 am

Since fruit varies in sugar content depending on ripeness, the acidity of each person’s vinegar will vary a bit depending on the fruit used. It may or may not be adequate for canning pickles. To make a strongly acidic vinegar you can use more sugar, and use fruits high in fructose, like mangoes. You can also test the pH with a pH strip to see if it is good for pickling. Vinegar that is safe to use in pickling recipes should be approximately 2.4 pH (about 5% acidity).

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Chelsea Pastula July 25, 2022 - 2:09 pm

Hi Kaitlyn! For step 9, do you continue to stir once daily throughout the next 6 weeks of fermentation? Thanks for sharing!

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Kaitlynn Fenley July 25, 2022 - 2:38 pm

Hi there! Once the fruit is strained off, you no longer have to stir it daily.

Reply
icy July 27, 2022 - 7:06 am

Hello!
thank you for the recipe! 🙂

In turkey we usually stir it until all the fruit sinks (app 3 weeks) then we let it sit with the fruit for another 4-6 weeks than strain and again let it sit for 1 week then add a little bit of salt and bottle it.

I was wondering what is the difference between these two different recipes..thank you <3

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Kaitlynn Fenley July 27, 2022 - 8:02 am

Either method is fine and results in good vinegar. I’ve made it before as you describe, leaving the fruit in after it sinks and it came out great. I don’t add salt to vinegar, but you can if you want.

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Ding August 3, 2022 - 6:26 am

Miss Kaitlyn,
When the sealed bottle of vinegar is stored at room temperature, will it not continue to ferment if not sterilized?
Thank you.

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Kaitlynn Fenley August 3, 2022 - 8:36 am

The microbes in vinegar fermentation are aerobic (they require oxygen to ferment). So when you put the vinegar in a sealed bottle with a solid lid, fermentation halts.

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Ding August 4, 2022 - 12:21 pm

Ms Kaitlynn,
Thank you so much for your reply. So that’s why when I left my finished pineapple and dark beer vinegars in their jars with breathable covers (as advised by an online source) they developed multiple “scobys” and eventually got molds and putrid smells and had to be discarded. I am now encouraged to try and make vinegar again. Many thanks.

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Ding August 3, 2022 - 7:12 am

Ms Kaitlynn,
Re my previous comment, I meant pasteurized, not sterilized! So sorry.

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Nechamah pascal August 8, 2022 - 9:49 am

Is there any way to do this without sugar as I am not allowed to have sugar

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Kaitlynn Fenley August 8, 2022 - 10:04 am

No, sugar is necessary to the process.

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Mariaelena Jara October 8, 2022 - 7:42 am

Hi Kaitlynn. I’ve made vinagre with apples a couple of times with results improving every time. But in my last batch I completely forgot to add the sugar, and was tempted to discard it, but then decided not to. So in week 2 I added sugar just in case, like 3 spoonfuls, and let it sit and continued the process. When the time came to finish the process I had no faith in it and It came out the best vinegar ever! I doubt I’ll ever get one as good as that one!
Cheers from Santiago, Chile.

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Crysta Pogue September 7, 2022 - 4:38 pm

Hello, wondering if you could help me trouble shoot something? I made up a gallon of this and forgot to stir for a few days. Just took the cloth cover off to stir and there is mold growing at the top of the jar. I’m assuming it’s no longer safe to use? Would that have happened because I forgot to stir or is it from another cause? Just want to confirm before I start the whole process again! Thanks so much!!

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Kaitlynn Fenley September 8, 2022 - 10:55 am

The mold definitely grew because you did not stir it. It is no longer safe. The stirring is not optional, It prevents mold and it introduces oxygen to the mix so that acetic acid bacteria can grow and form a vinegar mother.

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Crysta Pogue September 8, 2022 - 9:21 pm

Thank you for your response! That’s what I figured but I’m glad to know for sure before giving it another go. I’ll set a daily alarm this time around. 😉

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Carissa October 7, 2022 - 4:47 pm

To store this, can I just put a screw top lid on the jar? Is that sufficient for “sealing” it?

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 7, 2022 - 4:48 pm

yes!

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Lisa Salisbury November 5, 2022 - 5:38 pm

Just started a batch! Crossing my fingers it will work for me. I used the scraps from making apple butter—so peels and cores from 6lbs of apples! My question is when you say “bottle and seal with a solid lid” do you mean like can it with a hot water bath canner so the lids seal like I do with jam?

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 6, 2022 - 6:16 am

No, I just mean bottle it and close the bottle with a solid lid fit to the bottle.

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Jim November 6, 2022 - 3:07 pm

When we made vinegar, the cloth covering was not tied on well and gnats got into the vinegar. Will this contaminate the vinegar?

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 7, 2022 - 8:15 am

It can. If it was a fruit fly, they can lay eggs in the jar…

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Julie Johnson November 15, 2022 - 5:59 am

Thanks so much for the great content. I’m eager to try this, along with several of your other recipes. About the sugar – I try to avoid refined sugar as much as possible. Is the sugar “eaten” during the process? Can you use honey instead? Will it change the taste? If so, do you recommend the same quantity as the refined sugar?






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Kaitlynn Fenley November 15, 2022 - 7:29 am

The sugar is all used up in vinegar production. The microbes turn all the sugar into alcohol and then the alcohol into acetic acid (vinegar). You can use honey! It works great. You should use the same amount.

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Donna November 22, 2022 - 10:40 am

Hello Kaitlynn,
I’d like to use pumpkin scraps to make pumpkin vinegar. Will this work as with other ingredients?
Thank you

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 22, 2022 - 10:46 am

Yes, pumpkin should work fine in this recipe!

Reply
Sabrina November 23, 2022 - 7:19 pm

Un consulta, despues de este paso “Después de tres semanas de fermentación, cuele todas las piezas de fruta, vuelva a colocar la tapa de tela y deje que la mezcla fermente durante 6 semanas más.” Se cuela la fruta y que se hace con el liquido y la fruta?? Te quedas con el liquido y tiras la fruta???

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 26, 2022 - 8:06 am

You strain the fruit out of the liquid, and you keep fermenting the liquid in the same jar… the liquid is the vinegar.

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Rebekah December 11, 2022 - 4:51 pm

I used your recipe to make apple cider and now want to use some to make vinegar. I’m thinking I won’t have to stir it everyday. Please advise. Thanks, Rebekah

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Kaitlynn Fenley December 12, 2022 - 9:06 am

If there are not fruit pieces in it, you should not have to stir it. Add some raw vinegar as a starter, put a cloth lid on and let it ferment.

Reply
Heidi Pinkerton January 17, 2023 - 9:00 am

How do you store your Mother for next time? Fridge?

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 17, 2023 - 10:13 am

I store mine in a closed jar at room temperature with some of the vinegar.

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Caleb P March 9, 2023 - 11:47 pm

Can the vinegar mother be used as the scoby for a batch of kombucha? Also, when stored in vinegar at room temp, how long will it remain usable? Thanks!

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Lauren Halford January 24, 2023 - 4:09 pm

Hello, thanks for this info. I actually followed a recipe I found on YouTube, but have since grown a vinegar scoby and my original recipe didn’t advise about this, so I’ve scoured the web to find more info on this. Now I have it, how do I use it to start off new batches? Surely the fruit and the scoby bump up against one another?

Thanks in advance x

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 25, 2023 - 11:16 am

You can add the vinegar mother in at the beginning or after you strain the fruit out.

Reply
Ari March 21, 2023 - 7:01 pm

Thanks for all your work and great information, got some apples and I am definitely going to try this!
May I just clarify, do you include seeds when you say scraps? Or better to leave them out?
Also, just out of curiosity, why do you instruct that we use fruit by cup and not by weight? (Like I’ve seen in your other recipes) just not as critical for this?
Thanks in advance.






Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley March 22, 2023 - 8:27 am

Hi there!

It’s okay if you include the apple seeds. And correct, the exact amount of fruit is not as critical for this kind of vinegar recipe.

Reply
Ari August 6, 2023 - 3:26 pm

Hey Kaitlynn just wanted to come back and Thank you again. I ended up leaving it in the larger jars up until now but finally got around to bottling it. Heaps of mother and a beautiful and strong scent to it. Look forward to trying this again. I’d post some photos of it here if I could, such a rich colour!






Reply
Wendy April 11, 2023 - 4:32 pm

Can you only use 1 fruit type at a time or use a mixture of different fruits?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley April 11, 2023 - 5:23 pm

You can mix!

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Stephanie G. April 18, 2023 - 8:29 am

Hi! I’m new to this. After this is completed and stored, how long is the vinegar good for? Thank you!

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Kaitlynn Fenley April 20, 2023 - 8:14 am

It should be good for a very long time! At least over a year.

Reply
Kassandra August 16, 2023 - 8:46 pm

Question 1.) My strawberry kiwi vinegar from your recipe (in a large glass jar) seems to be a thick creamy color throughout. We are stirring as we should be. Should vinegar be creamy in color or closer to clear? It all seems fine otherwise.

Question 2.) I am making a vinegar from tangerine and lemon fruit scraps per your directions. I stir twice daily. Each day seems to form a white looking growth on top along with lots of bubbles that is accompanied by some of the mostly small lemon pieces that have worked loose from the lemon pieces. If I listen closely, I can sometimes hear the bubbling. I can stir the daily white formation in. Is this white formation on top normal? The citrus vinegar looks different than my strawberry and my apple vinegar jars. It is nice and bubbly. Is it normal for citrus fruit vinegars to look different in appearance on top? My citrus vinegars are the only ones that have a white daily growth on the top.

Question 3.) Are homemade vinegars suitable to use as cleaning vinegars?

So glad I found your site. I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and helping others.

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Kaitlynn Fenley August 17, 2023 - 9:09 am

Hello!

1. All vinegar will become quite cloudy and murky while it ferments. The cloudiness is microbes growing.
2. It sounds like you are seeing yeast grow on the surface. If it’s chalky and powdery white, it’s probably kahm yeast. Are you using citrus peels in it? that could be an issue.
3. You can use them to clean! They just might not be suitable for canning and pickling because the % acidity is variable.

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Nevin Hillyard May 5, 2023 - 2:52 pm

Did the apple cider vinegar from scratch recipe. Was very straight forward and easy to make. The scratch vinegar is excellent taste. Use it on fries and way better than any cider vinegar i’ve bought from a store. How do I keep the mother of vinegar that was created for later batches?






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Kaitlynn Fenley May 8, 2023 - 10:21 am

Happy you enjoyed the recipe! I keep my vinegar mother in a mason jar with a little vinegar in the fridge.

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Emily May 22, 2023 - 1:54 pm

Hello Kaitlynn,
I am trying to troubleshoot a vinegar ferment that I seeded with a vinegar mother from a previous successful batch. I added blackberries, no sugar, distilled water, some white wine, and my mother to a sterilized quart jar, then topped with a paper towel with rubber band. Its been around five days. Now I have a quarter inch of white growth on top that doesn’t look rubbery like the original mother, more wrinkly like an old person’s skin. It isn’t fuzzy on the top. From the side view (through the jar) it looks like flaky snow underneath where it borders the water. I haven’t been stirring the vinegar because I was afraid to disturb the original mother. Do you think I have a second mother growing or mold?

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Kaitlynn Fenley May 22, 2023 - 2:01 pm

Hi! Sounds like kahm yeast. Blackberries are a high-sorbitol fruit; in fact, the only fermentable sugar in blackberries is sorbitol. This usually leads to kahm yeast contamination because the wild yeast thrive on sorbitol. Also, white wine usually contains a lot of sulfites (unless you used a certified sulfite-free wine). Sulfites are added to wine to stop acetic acid bacteria from turning alcohol into vinegar. So if there are sulfites in your mixture, it will cause major issues.

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Lucerito June 14, 2023 - 4:59 pm

After the three weeks did i need to keep stirring daily, or nothing at all?

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Kaitlynn Fenley June 28, 2023 - 11:40 am

After you strain it, you no longer have to stir it.

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Lauren June 22, 2023 - 6:20 pm

My last batch of vinegar developed multiple scobys and eventually made this large stringy mass that floated in the vinegar. I’m assuming this was the ‘mother’. Question 1.) Is it okay to strain this out of the vinegar? Texturally it is a little…off-putting. Question 2.) Aside from mold, is there a way to determine whether the vinegar is no good?

Thanks for sharing your awesome knowledge! I just strained out the fruit from a batch of pineapple vinegar and am looking forward to seeing how that tastes after a couple more weeks of fermentation. Also, one more question – I live in Texas and my average house temp is around 77 degrees. Can this accelerate the fermentation process with vinegar as well as sauerkraut? Thanks!

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Kaitlynn Fenley June 29, 2023 - 7:57 am

Hi there! You can strain the vinegar if you want. The stringy stuff is the mother. You can test the pH with a pH strip to make sure it’s a good acidity. 77 is an average temp and it won’t speed up fermentation much.

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Lucerito July 5, 2023 - 1:17 pm

Can I eat the apples or do I have to throw them away?

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Dan July 13, 2023 - 4:27 pm

This looks great and I would love to try. I just have a question about the apple cider vinegar with mother addition. Do you just add the 3 TBs of the vinegar that has mother in it or do you actually try to scoop out some of the mother from the jug? If so, how much? Of the mother is needed? All of it? Some of it? Am I getting 3 TBs of just mother? From the jugs I’ve gotten in the past I can see it floating around but not that much I don’t believe. And moving forward if I have my own mother from making this recipe how much would I need as well.

Thanks for your help and time.






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Kaitlynn Fenley July 14, 2023 - 10:13 am

It’s just three tablespoons of vinegar with the mother in it. You can shake up the vinegar before measuring it out. In the future, you can repeat this process with three tablespoons of your homemade raw vinegar with the mother. There will also be a mother that looks kind of like a kombucha scoby in your finished vinegar. You can keep the scoby mother in a jar of vinegar and put it in the new batch after you strain the fruit pieces out.

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Dan July 15, 2023 - 9:59 am

Awesome, thanks so much!






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Ron Simms July 22, 2023 - 9:40 pm

Hi Kaitlynn,
Thank you for this recipe. We made it with Granny Smith peelings and cores left over from something else, and the resulting vinegar is lovely. We are bottling today,

There was no scoby formed on top, although there is sediment on the bottom of the bottle.

I’m going to try strawberries next!
Warmest regards
Ron






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Barb McLennan February 2, 2024 - 5:37 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and knowledge!
I have a very thin Scoby on my apple cider and today is bottling day.
The vinegar smell and taste us very faint, kind of just takes like very lightly sour apple juice. Does this sounds right?

Thank you 😊






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Denise August 20, 2023 - 11:48 am

I have just started a batch from previously canned muscadine juice. I followed the rest of the recipe with 2 gallons of juice. I have read about stirring until you “remove the fruit”. Since this is only juice do you recommend that I stir this daily for the first few weeks to help oxygenate and prevent mold from growing?

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Kaitlynn Fenley August 21, 2023 - 8:24 am

Oh, that sounds delicious! You should still stir it to oxygenate it, at least for the first few days.

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LeeAnn August 29, 2023 - 10:25 am

Would blueberries be good for this? And if so, do they need to be sliced/crushed? Or just throw them in whole?

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Kaitlynn Fenley August 29, 2023 - 11:01 am

Blueberries work great! I’d crush them first.

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Olivia August 30, 2023 - 10:30 am

Hello!
I am trying this for the first time and have a couple questions, I used apple scraps and grapes, I also used an organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother. I missed one day of stirring it, because I was gone and forgot to have someone else do it is that okay? Since then it now has a white film on the top of it and up the little bit of jar sides to the top and all the fruit is sunk to the bottom and dissolving, is this normal? The white layer on top reforms every day and is kind of stringy looking and has little stringy lines all over it. I started this on 8/19 and I am supposed to remove the fruit on 9/9 but again it’s all dissolving so how would I go about removing it since it is becoming a mush?

Thank you so much! I really appreciate this whole website and all the information you share!!






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Kaitlynn Fenley August 30, 2023 - 11:54 am

Missing one day of stirring should be okay. Just keep stirring it and following the directions. When it is time to strain it, strain it through a fine mesh strainer or a colander lined with a few layers of cheesecloth.

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Arze September 11, 2023 - 11:41 am

Hello ,
Thank you for the recipe .. i strained the apples on 24 of august , covered the jar with cloth and secured it with rubber band .. now i can see white material floating and other in the bottom .. is it ready ? Or i shall wait until 6 weeks are over ? And whats the difference between this and the apple cider vinegar ?

Thank u

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Kaitlynn Fenley September 13, 2023 - 9:11 am

I suggest waiting the full six weeks. Just keep following the recipe.

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Dev September 13, 2023 - 11:45 am

Kaitlynn,
I’ve recently started my first batches of vinegar using your recipe and instructions. However, I’ve run into a problem I haven’t been able to find more information on. I’m hoping you can help.
One of my jars started out really well. It was bubbling very healthily and nice and active after about 5 days. It’s been about 3 days since then, and almost all activity has stopped in that jar. The liquid inside has also…Thickened, a bit? It’s not quite like mucous, but almost more like a syrup. The bubbles, when they were there, were also more like a foam as opposed to just ‘air’ bubbles that I’m seeing in my other jar. The ‘problem’ jar also is beginning to smell faintly alcoholic. The liquid inside is also cloudy, but I’ve heard this is normal for this stage?

Did it just ferment super fast? Has it ‘died’? This is my first time fermenting vinegar so I really am unsure of what’s going on with it.

Half recipe used
Fruit: Cantaloupe
Sugar: Organic Raw Sugar
Vinegar with mother used: Bragg Organic Raw ACV
Water Used: Distilled

The still active jar used all the same ingredients except made with peaches, not melon.

Thank you so much

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Kaitlynn Fenley September 13, 2023 - 2:11 pm

This is all perfectly normal! and expected. Some vinegar will thicken in the beginning from the microbes fermenting sugars. It should thin out with time. Alcohol smell is normal because vinegar is made by allowing microbes to turn sugar into alcohol then alcohol into acetic acid. Just keep it going, it sounds like you’re on the right track.

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Deborah September 25, 2023 - 6:40 pm

Hi Kaitlynn, I’m very new to fermenting and there are so many confusion websites out there. I’m so glad I came across yours. I have a simple question, and it may be silly, but rather than cover my jar with a cloth, I’ve seen may post that use coffee filters. Does this give the vinegar enough air to ferment?

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Kaitlynn Fenley September 26, 2023 - 2:39 pm

A coffee filter secured with a rubber band will work great!

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Kalifa October 6, 2023 - 8:39 pm

If you forget to stir for 3 to 4 days should you throw it away

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 7, 2023 - 6:35 am

if it doesn’t have mold and doesn’t smell gross, it’s fine.

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JoeW October 11, 2023 - 2:00 pm

Hello, Kaitlynn.

Very good article.

You mention using cider yeast for very strong vinegar. Can this be accomplished using regular baking yeast?

I started a jar of apple vinegar 4 weeks ago, using this article, to which I added 1 tsp of active baking yeast. I’m about to start a new batch, using a melon, and I want to make sure that I haven’t made a serious error with yeast.

Thanks,
Joe

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 11, 2023 - 2:01 pm

I haven’t tried that kind of yeast but it should be fine. You should have added some raw vinegar with the mother along with that.

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JoeW October 11, 2023 - 2:08 pm

Thanks.

I did add the vinegar. I’ll let you know in about 3 weeks, how it turned out.

I also HAVE to try your fire cider recipe, just because of the great photography.

Joe

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JoeW November 13, 2023 - 5:07 pm

The apple vinegar turned out very nicely. As I mentioned, I added 1 tsp of rapid rise baking yeast.
I bought some alkalinity test strips, and tested both my vinegar, and Bragg’s. The Bragg’s seemed to be a bit more acid, but the strips are pretty subjective/inaccurate, especially for a guy who routinely wears a grey shirt and black pants, because he never really “got” color combinations.

Many thanks for your instructions.

Joe

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Joanna October 21, 2023 - 7:32 pm

So, I followed your recipe with apples and strawberries. The first three weeks went fine, I even used a small mother from another batch to start it. It fizzed up. At about week 4 in the second fermentation, I tasted it and it tastes like water! After more research I learned that it needs to be sealed off from air as soon as it’s done or the lactobacteria start consuming the alcohol until there is only water left. What went wrong? It seems like my batch just finished way earlier than you suggested, but how can I tell when it needs to be sealed from air? Thanks for your help.

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 23, 2023 - 8:15 am

not sure where you are getting your info from but this is incorrect. Vinegar fermentation requires oxygen. Please see the body of this blog post for more information.

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Joanna October 23, 2023 - 1:34 pm

Thank you for your response. Yes, the production of acetic acid is an aerobic process, but once it is complete it seems the vinegar needs to be sealed. I found that info from many different sources. For instance, from Revolultion Fermentation it says, “Why does my vinegar taste like water? When vinegar is left to ferment too long, the bacteria no longer have any alcohol to consume. So, they turn to the acids they have just created. Vinegar left too long in contact with oxygen will oxidize excessively and lose its acidity. To prevent this from happening, transfer the vinegar to airtight bottles to avoid contact with oxygen.” I am just trying to figure out when my vinegar is done so I can seal it off. Perhaps at a certain pH?Thanks.

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 23, 2023 - 1:43 pm

I’ve never seen this happen and I’ve left my vinegars to ferment on the counter for a LONG time. The timeline I recommend is the one in this recipe. It works for me every single time and I’ve made a ton of vinegar with many kinds of fruit. The only reason I’m aware of that vinegar would taste watery is if not enough alcohol is produced, so then not enough acetic acid is produced. Did you follow this recipe exactly or did you maybe reduce the sugar?

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Barb McLennan October 23, 2023 - 12:11 am

Hey Kaitlynn, thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes!
I am wondering if you can halve or quarter this recipe? I only have smaller jars so will need to get a large one to make the full recipe.






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Kaitlynn Fenley October 23, 2023 - 8:12 am

yes! You can cut it in half of in 4ths. It would great as 1/4 in a quart jar.

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Barb McLennan November 30, 2023 - 4:06 am

Thank you so much! 🙂 So excited to make it!






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Rox October 26, 2023 - 12:09 am

Hi Kaitlin, I was so excited to try your recipe for vinegar. I used defrosted citrus fruits and peels (mostly peels) in my version and followed the full volume recipe with sugar, water and quality ACV addition. It was crazy active in the beginning, calming as the process went on. Since straining it (+4 days) it now has a lot of white sediment at the bottom (i used a metal sieve to strain) and it also has a white layer on top which is veiny, almost like the start of frost on a window. From the side of the jar this layer looks about 2mm thick. The smell is similar to what I imagine a fruit scented nail varnish remover would be. I tasted it before the fruit removal and it was fine.
A) do you think this batch is ok/ will survive?
B) if it is ok do I include sediment when I pour off or not?
C) have you ever tried a batch with unripe tomatoes?

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 26, 2023 - 8:43 am

It sounds like the batch is perfect. Sediment is normal, that’s spent microbes. The layer you’re seeing on the top is probably a vinegar mother forming! The acetone (nail varnish) smell is also normal and expected. That smell happens when acetic acid bacteria begin to transform alcohol into acid. You should notice that smell go away and more vinegar smells to develop. I’ve only used ripe tomatoes, and it worked great.

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Rox October 27, 2023 - 3:40 am

Thank you. I was about to throw it away but I shall let it sit and do it’s business for now and hopefully have a successful batch. It’s very exciting!

The way you respond to commenters is fab, it’s really helpful for readers to see all the questions and responses too!

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Rox October 27, 2023 - 3:41 am

I forgot to ask, when I decant it to my final storage bottles, should I include the sediment or not?

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 30, 2023 - 1:31 pm

Either way is fine! You can pour it off leaving the sediment behind, or mix it up and include it.

Celia October 30, 2023 - 3:36 pm

Kaitlin – I think you are amazing how you answer everyones questions – my first apple cider vinegar bottled today is brilliant BUT I made some cider vinegar afterwards and added the same amount of sugar – I sieved it today and it is very gloopy – I added another litre of water and I am wondering if I can expect the gloominess to go away?? THANK YOU

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Kaitlynn Fenley October 30, 2023 - 4:32 pm

hi there! Yes, the gloopiness will go away with time, just let it ferment with the cloth lid on the counter for longer and it will thin out.

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Cliff November 9, 2023 - 6:56 pm

Hello, I made this with some Concord grapes from and it came out well… I’m ready to bottle but how can I preserve the SCOBY? Mine is a thick layer. Can I freeze it out will that lil the microbes? I’m not ready to make another batch yet.






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Kaitlynn Fenley November 10, 2023 - 8:16 am

Just place the scoby in a small jar with some of the vinegar covering it, put a lid on it and store it at room temperature

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Kevin November 12, 2023 - 1:25 pm

Thank you for all the great information! I’m looking forward to trying another fruit. I started a batch with apples last week. I’m curious if lemons would work? In my head it sounds like it would be delicious & super healthy, lol. Or atleast great for cleaning. What do you think?
Thanks again

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 13, 2023 - 2:59 pm

I’m not sure about lemons because I’ve never tried it. They don’t have much sugar and I’m not sure what would happen with the added citric acid, especially if you include peels.

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JoeW November 13, 2023 - 3:21 pm

I tried this a couple of months back, using organic Eureka lemons, peels and all. I used a YouTube video for instructons, which were very similar to Kaitlynn’s. After several weeks of stirring, the pulp basically turned to mush, and looked seriosly unappetizing. I gave up at that point, and composted the whole batch.
It’s possible that I was too impatient, but at the time, the concoction didn’t look anything like the video.

Next time I have too many lemons, I’ll make preserved lemons, and give them away to people who like to make Moroccan dishes.

Joe

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Saralee November 18, 2023 - 9:04 pm

Hi, I appreciate your simple instructions and recipe without all the scientific stuff. I just have one question. You give the measurements in cups but the sugar in grams. How many cups is 255 grams of sugar. Thank you

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 19, 2023 - 8:20 am

Yeah the sugar is en exact measurement to help create a good acidity. Cups of fruit is a flexible measurement and introduces variability because all fruits are various levels of ripeness with various amounts of sugar. Google can convert grams to cups for you if you want to convert.

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Deanne November 28, 2023 - 6:16 pm

Above it says-
“To make a strongly acidic vinegar, you can use more sugar”
How much more sugar would you recommend to get the ph to 2.4?

Also,
Just strained mine and now it will set for another 6 weeks. If it does form a mother, next time to use it do I set it on the top of the apple/sugar/water mixture in the jar at the start? Thanks!

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Kaitlynn Fenley November 29, 2023 - 9:40 am

You can increase the sugar by 50 grams and that should do the trick. and yes, just add the mother to the next batch at the start or after you strain it, either way works. It will probably sink to the bottom, but it will still work.

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Deanne January 31, 2024 - 6:11 am

It never formed a mother, does it eventually if I leave it longer than 6 weeks?
Thanks!

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 31, 2024 - 3:59 pm

it should! if it doesn’t form one but still smells and tastes like vinegar, its fine.

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Kitayo Adeban December 24, 2023 - 7:56 pm

Merry Christmas!!! Thank you very much for sharing this vinegar recipe. Now i made grape vinegar today, hopefully it will be a success…

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Callie December 29, 2023 - 6:25 pm

Hi, I have a couple questions: should the vinegar continue to bubble after straining the fruit out? And how long does it take for the mother to start to form? I strained mine about a week ago and it doesn’t look like anything is happening so I’m not sure if it’s still fermenting. Thanks for the recipe!

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 4, 2024 - 9:14 am

No, vinegar does not bubble after straining, and you wont see much visible activity.

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Jen January 22, 2024 - 12:38 am

Hi, can I use this as cleaning vinegar as well? Thank you.

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 22, 2024 - 8:17 am

I don’t recommend cleaning with it. It’s stickier than distilled white vinegar.

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Jill February 13, 2024 - 9:01 pm

On week 8 of making Apple vinegar using scraps and there is no scoby. Is this normal or did something go wrong?

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 14, 2024 - 9:50 am

It’s normal. Sometimes a SCOBY won’t form, or it will take a long while when it’s cold. If it smells like vinegar and tastes acidic, it’s good to go.

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Jane February 14, 2024 - 12:54 pm

Can I ferment fruit/fruit scraps with leftover wine that has been un-sulfured and skip the first fermentation step?

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 14, 2024 - 2:36 pm

yes! you can do it like in this recipe! White Wine Strawberry Vinegar Made with Strawberry Tops

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Amy February 29, 2024 - 12:47 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience! Mine hasn’t grown a scoby, did I do something incorrectly?

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 29, 2024 - 2:31 pm

Nope! Sometimes it takes a long while for a scoby to form, and sometimes they don’t form.

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Anne April 2, 2024 - 5:54 pm

Thank you for a great explanation Kaitlynn! Can you tell us the percentage ratio of water – sugar – fruit? I intend to make small different sized batches.

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Maggie May 29, 2024 - 6:31 pm

Thank you so much for this recipe! I am halfway through the second six weeks, and I had a beautiful pellicle forming on the top. I noticed today though after checking on it, that the pellicle had sunk to the bottom and a new one seemed to be forming on top — My jar is stored on the ground in a corner and I picked it up to check on it and I’m thinking I jostled it? Should this be a problem?

Also, when I make a second batch and use the mother SCOBY in it, do you add that into the jar in the first phase with all the fruit scraps or just place it on the top after straining?

Thank you!






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Kaitlynn Fenley May 30, 2024 - 8:49 am

Glad you enjoyed the recipe! The pellicle sinking to the bottom is totally normal. Mine sinks to the bottom all the time, and it’s not a problem. When I use the mother SCOBY to make another batch, I put it in during the first phase and it usually sinks to the bottom. When I strain it, I pick it out of the fruit scraps and put it in the strained liquid too.

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