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Fruit peel vinegar

Fruit scraps vinegar

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I’ve used bought live vinegar to make this, but you can make your own vinegar mother from leftover wine. It takes time and patience and the wine must be left covered and undisturbed in a cool, dark place for at least eight weeks, but afterwards you should be left with a gelatinous blob with tendrils ready to be fed as a starter for plenty of exciting and economical homemade vinegars.

Ingredients

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  • 500g of fruit peelings, a mix of apple, pear, pineapple, melon or anything else you have to hand, cut into small pieces
  • 80g of sugar
  • 140ml of vinegar, containing a live mother, either homemade or shop-bought
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Method

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1
Put the fruit peel and sugar in a clean 2-litre Kilner jar, then add enough water to cover the peel
2
Add the vinegar and drape a square of muslin over the top of the jar, then secure it with string or an elastic band
3
Stir the mixture with a clean spoon once a day for a week, by which point the fruit skins will start to ferment
4
Leave the fruit to ferment for another week, stirring every now and then. Small bubbles should appear in the liquid as the fermented sugars convert to ethanol and release carbon dioxide
5
After these 2 weeks, put a fine sieve over a large jug and strain the liquid, discarding the fruit pieces. Put the liquid back into the jar, cover the top with the muslin again and leave it to ferment into vinegar
6
Taste the vinegar for acidity after 4 weeks (it could take up to 3 months to fully convert). Once tart enough, strain out the 'mother' and bottle the vinegar, reserving the mother for another use. The vinegar can be used immediately, or, for a more mellow flavour, aged in the bottle; there is no tidy best before date here, but it can be safely kept for at least a year
7
Keep the mother to make new batches of vinegar, or gift it as a vinegar starter
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