Did you know you can make your own homemade vinegar with fruit and herbs? It is easier than you think and way more delicious, not to mention economical, than what you can purchase in the store.
How to Make Homemade Vinegar
Thanks to Anne-Marie Bilella of Bella Vista Farm for this guest post!
Before we get into the nitty gritty of How-To, let me give you a little background on vinegars and how they were used back in the day.
Vinegar comes from the French term – vin aigre which means sour wine. When wine was made and the alcohol was exposed to oxygen, it fermented and the Acetobacter bacteria turned the alcohol into acetic acid, aka vinegar. Homemade Vinegar was used to preserve food and to quench the thirst of farmers working in the fields during the hot summers. There is a recipe for Haymakers Punch further down.
By creating and fermenting your very own vinegar, you are getting all of the wonderful health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Homemade Vinegar
You may be wondering, “what benefits does vinegar have and WHY should I make and drink it?”
- Starting with RAW apple cider vinegar, you are getting beneficial probiotics (boosted by fermentation) replenish and tone the microflora of your digestive tract. Happy Tummy!
- Vinegar helps your body absorb essential vitamins and minerals. It can be used instead of alcohol to extract the medicinal properties of herbs, especially those high in minerals. Stinging Nettles, Dandelion, Oats are a few herbs that I use vinegar as my tincture menstruum*. *(A fancy word that describes your extraction liquid – can be alcohol, vinegar, water or glycerin)
- Cancer Protective, Antimicrobial, Type 2 Diabetes Support to assist with regulating blood sugar.
- Weight management by reducing fasting glucose
- When vinegar is turned into a fruity shrub, it becomes this tangy syrup full of flavor to be used in water, cocktails, salad dressing and more.
–Find Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar here.
Types of Homemade Drinking Vinegars
●Oxymel – Equal or close to equal parts honey and vinegar.
●Shrub – from the name sharbah, an Arabic syrup. Sour, tangy, slightly sweet
●Switchel – similar to a shrub but with ginger and molasses
What Types of Homemade Vinegars Should I Use in Recipes?
Apple Cider Vinegar – RAW – good all around choice
White Wine vinegar – mild for berries
Red Wine vinegar – used also with some berries but mixed with white
Balsamic – good with strawberries or cherries. Can make you own.
Before you start, CLEAN all jars, hands, utensils.
Building blocks of shrubs:
What You Need to Make Homemade Vinegar
● FRUIT Start with any seasonal fruit something ripe that can give off juice
● RAW VINEGAR An unpasteurized vinegar that still has its “mother,” or starter, is the key for fermenting.
● HERBS & FLAVORINGS – Add chamomile, ginger, thyme, fresh mint, basil, etc.
● SUGAR or HONEY – provides the sweet to go with the sour of the vinegar and creates a syrupy texture. Some of the sugar goes away during the fermentation. The sweetener is not necessary for all infused vinegars but it does create a balance with the fruit, herbs and tangy vinegar. Feel free to leave out if you are off sugar.
I am giving you 2 ways to make your shrub vinegar. The first is my go to for many of the herbal vinegars that I create. The 2nd is a more traditional way, try both and find your favorite!
AM’s Homemade Vinegar Infusion –
- 2 cups fruit or mixture of fruit and herbs * I used 1 ¾ cup peaches and ¼ cup fresh basil plus a chunk of fresh ginger
- 2 cups raw apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 Tablespoons of raw organic sugar
Place fruit in clean jar. Muddle, add fresh herbs. If using dried, use less.
Add your sugar, mix and let it sit a minute. Pour vinegar over to cover. Place plastic lid on and shake or stir with wooden spoon – no metal!!
Take lid off and cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter – leave out for 24-48 hours.
Remove cloth, replace lid. Shake daily for a couple days.
Then place in fridge for a few more days. Shake daily. Total ferment is 1 week to 2 weeks. Taste it after 1 week to see if you like it. Strain. Store 6-12 month refrigerator.
Basic Homemade Vinegar Shrub Recipe
- 2 cups fruit or mixture *herb/fruit
- 2 cups vinegar
- 1.5-2 cups sugar/honey
Place fruit in clean jar. Muddle, add fresh herbs. If using dried, use less. Pour vinegar over to cover. Place plastic lid on and shake. Take lid off and cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter – leave out for 24-48 hours. Remove cloth, replace lid. Shake daily for a couple days. Then place in fridge for a few more days. Shake daily. Strain and add sugar/honey. **You may slightly warm ½ cup of the vinegar to dissolve sugar. Store 6-12 month refrigerator.
Blackberry & Thyme Oxymel – ½ cup blackberries, ¼ cup fresh thyme, ¾ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼-½ cup honey
Put berries, thyme and ACV in a pot, bring to boil and reduce heat to low for 30 minutes. Let cool and strain. Measure and add honey to desired strength. This will not have any probiotics left after heating but it does make a nice cough syrup, drink or salad dressing.
Haymakers Punch – 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1T Apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. Fresh Ginger grated, 1 T rolled oats, 1 cup water, ice
Mix well. Let sit in refrigerator for 2 hours or longer. Strain.
Simple Mocktail: ¾ ounce shrub syrup, club soda
—Also learn to Make Your Own Homemade Soda Pop here.
Salad Dressing: ¼ cup shrub/oxymel, ¼-½ cup olive oil, salt and pepper, complementary spices.
Hope you have enjoyed this post!
Need more Make Your Own Recipes?
Have you ever made your own Homemade Vinegar?
Anne-Marie is the Farmer, the Baker and the Medicine-Maker at Bella Vista Farm in GA.
She is constantly practicing and learning about herbal medicine, wild weeds, mushrooms and natural products made from herbs. Anne-Marie was self-taught in her herbal studies until a couple years ago when she completed a 10 month hands-on intensive herbal course with Patricia Kyritsi Howell of BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies and also received Wild Mushroom ID and Permit from Mushroom Mountain to sell mushrooms in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Currently, Anne-Marie creates her own herbal products with her Bella Vista Naturals line and teaches others about herbal medicine, medicinal mushrooms and wild plant identification. She is a homesteader, blogger and writer for her own blog and has written articles for other blogs, Aroma Culture Magazine and for Mother Earth News.