Blueberry Wine Vinegar

26 Apr

You may remember a while back when I wrote that I was the only one excited when we found our blueberry wine had turned to vinegar.  Well, after transferring it from the plastic milk jug (we’re not real high tech yet–give us time) to the stainless steel milk tote, I left it so air could get it, but not anything else.

After letting the “mother of vinegar” just work it microbial magic, I finally ordered an acid test kit.  If you ever buy vinegar they pretty much all proclaim that they are 5% acidity.  I got the handy dandy new kit in the mail, dipped the paper in a small sample of vinegar, and it came out looking exactly the same color as when I dipped it in.  That gave me a reading of 3%.  I decided to try my Heinz vinegar, and it gave me the exact same result, 3%.  That made me wonder whether or not the silly strip even worked.  At the time I had a glass of wine we had racked the night before sitting on the counter, so I tested it–4%.  At least I knew it could change color.  I read the fine print and it said something about buffered vs. unbuffered and another kind of test kit.  I decided I must have had the wrong type of kit (I got it from a cheese making company).  If it looked the same as Heinz, I figure it’s good enough.

Even though some people just keep the vinegar like that and use it, I decided I wanted to give it a more polished look.  That meant filtering it.  That would remove any last chunks of the “mother” that I had missed.  I once again turned to my dairy supplies and ran it through a milk filter.

I was certainly glad I did decide to filter it.  When I got close to the end of the jug, it wouldn’t go through anymore.  That is kind of really gross.

The next step was putting it on to cook.  I pasteurized the vinegar to stop any microbial action.  I got out my candy thermometer and heated it to 161 degrees fahrenheit.  It doesn’t boil, but it definitely steams.

While it cooled to a level that I was less likely to really burn myself if I did something stupid (like spilling it on myself), I gathered what I needed to bottle the vinegar and got that stuff clean and sterilized.

I did discover that if I poured a bit too quickly, it was aerated and got awfully bubbly.

After I finished filling my ten ounce bottle, I had to put the lid on and seal it.  I still had the bottle and seals from several years ago when I was buying vinegar and adding herbs to sell at the farmer’s market.  I always had so much fun putting the seals on with the hairdryer.

After sealing it, the only thing left to do was create a label and put on the bottle.

So what do I do with blueberry vinegar?  Any recipe suggestions.

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