Let’s start with the basics… what is vinegar?
Vinegar is the result of sugar turning into alcohol and continuing to ferment into vinegar. It consists of about 5–20% acetic acid (CH3COOH), water, and other trace minerals. Homemade vinegar (unlike it’s processed counterpart) will not exceed 5% normally, which is what we buy at the store. High percentage vinegar can be very harsh and is almost impossible to create in natural conditions.
Last year I attended some workshops at עץבעיר CityTree شجرة بالبلد in Tel-Aviv. There, I learned how to use my old citrus peels (and any fruit really) to make vinegar. (It’s so easy, it’s embarrassing)
When I started my zero waste journey, one of the first things I had to re-establish was my home cleaning routine. I had to replace windex and all purpose spray.
I quickly learned that Vinegar is just as effective as any cleaner I could buy iat the store, and all I had to do was dilute it with water and things will be clean! A friend told me that to make it smell better I can infuse lemon scraps into white vinegar for a couple of weeks before using. This didn’t really become a habit in my house, as I had to keep buying white vinegar, and I had many more lemon peels than I could fit into a small jar.
When I learned that lemon peels (with a bit of the fruit still on) actually turned into vinegar over time… I was shocked and delighted! So 4 months ago I started saving my lemon scraps in a jar.
- Find a large glass jar. Add citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit ect.) and water proportionally until it fills up equal parts.
- Throughout the process, cover with a cloth and rubber-band to keep flies out and let it sit in a dark cabinet and forget about it. Every few weeks give it a stir, some white mold may have grown on the top, just mix it in, it is yeast, and it means it’s working. Your ferment will have an alcoholic smell at first, and then over more time it will start to smell vinegary.
- The longer you let it ferment, the more vinegar it will be. I let mine sit for 3 months (life has been busy)
- When you feel like it’s ready, you can strain the pulp using a fabric cloth and a strainer. The pulp can be rubbed on your dishes (as dish soap!) and the liquid vinegar can be diluted with water and used to clean. Also if you have organic citrus, you can feel free to enjoy this vinegar as a food item as it is totally edible and can be used as salad dressing, pickling liquid, ect.
- grapes and apples will make a tasty vinegar for eating!
After three months of sitting with intermitted stirring, the lemon peels completely broke down and it was just a mush :)
Feel free to message me or e-mail me if you have any questions!