Once you know how to make your own vinegar you can experiment with different flavours. Last year I showed you how to make your own apple cider vinegar. This year, I experimented to see if I could use the same principles to make some blackberry and apple vinegar.
I’ve also got into using Kombucha. We make kombucha tea as a tasty and healthful drink. It’s also possible to use it to turn a sugary solution into acetic acid – vinegar. All you need is a kombucha ‘SCOBY’ (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts).
If you’d like to find out how to do these, please read on…
Blackberry and apple cider vinegar recipe
Follow the recipe that I gave you before.
To make about 2 litres I used about 20 apples and two large handfuls of freshly picked and cleaned blackberries.
Just add the blackberries to the sugar syrup with the apples. Then carry on as per the previous recipe.
Mine took about three months to turn into a richly flavoured vinegar. It’s a bit like blackberry & apple pie in a bottle with a bit of a kick. I filtered the liquid through a close weave cloth in a wine maker’s funnel.
This will be great with summer salads, with game & pork dishes and mixed with honey and hot water for a cold relief.
You can use any fruit to do this to develop your own flavours with or without apples. Just think what you could produce.
Kombucha ‘Blues & Bays’ vinegar recipe
‘Our’ mountain (Garn 371m) has wonderful small blueberries around the Iron Age fortifications in July. They are small, tart and take ages to pick. Fortunately I have a team here who like picking them if I cook with them.
One year I made a preserve called Blues & Bays where the berries are preserved in a sugar syrup with bay leaves. The intention was that we could have them on muesli or ice cream to remember the flavours of summer. Unfortunately, I found the taste a bit too strong of bay and they ended up lingering at the back of a kitchen cupboard. Came tidy-up time I had a choice whether to throw them or not.
I dislike to bin food and surmised that kombucha would be able to turn the fruit syrup into a well-flavoured vinegar. The yeasts in the kombucha first turn the sugars into alcohol and then the acetobacters in it turn the alcohol into acetic acid.
I strained off the berries & bay into an old honey container and put a scrap of kombucha SCOBY on top. Then I covered the top with muslin and left in a warm place for three months.
Yesterday I taste tested the liquid and checked with a ph strip. It was nicely acidic, with a full taste of blueberries and a slight bay edge. The liquid was still nicely thick and it made a richly coloured vinegar. I strained it through a coffee filter and bottled it. Beautiful vinegar for very little effort.
You can do the same with fruit in syrups you buy or make yourselves. The possibilities are endless.
To get a kombucha SCOBY you may be able to persuade a friend with one to let you have some of their spare – it grows easily so there’s usaually some spare. There are also online exchanges or you can buy one. I got mine from The Teapot.
I hope these recipes have inspired you to have a go. Please let me know what flavours you plan to make and how they turn out.