Author Archives: Briana

Homemade Strawberry Vinegar

Homemade vinegar is full of nuances and flavors absent from most store-bought bottles. And, it’s simple to make!

While you can make vinegar from a variety of base ingredients, I’m going to cover how to make fresh homemade strawberry vinegar. The end result is a mix of sweet, tart, and fruity; a combination that works great in salad dressings and sauces.

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is the product of fermentation, specifically the fermentation of alcohol. If you’ve ever experienced a sour bottle of wine, you know what I’m talking about.

While you may not be a chemistry whiz, the basic science behind production is easy to understand.

Technically, vinegar is the result of a two-part fermentation process. In the first step, yeasts convert carbohydrates, such as those in fruit or grains, into alcohol. In the second step, a specific type of bacteria calledAcetobacter ferment the alcohol into acetic acid. This acid gives vinegar its sour taste.

What do I Need to Make Vinegar at Home?

Vinegar is quite simple to make and only requires a few ingredients and tools. To get started you need the following:

  • Low-grade alcohol (wine, hard cider, champagne) OR a carbohydrate source (juice, fruit, grain, etc.)
  • Vinegar mother OR unfiltered vinegar
  • Large wide-mouth glass jar
  • Cheesecloth

How to Make Strawberry Vinegar

Although there are different ways to make strawberry vinegar, I’m going to cover a method that utilizes fresh berries. This method produces a product that captures the vibrant flavor of spring fruit.

Make the Alcohol

To begin, place 2-4 cups of strawberries in your glass jar. It’s fine to use the scraps from the tops of the strawberries, as well as any soft spots. However, avoid using any moldy spots, since they can impart an off flavor into the final product. Gently mash the berries until some juices are released.

homemade strawberry vinegar

Next, dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar in one quart of water. Pour this solution over the strawberries and stir. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and place it in a warm, dark area.

All areas have natural yeasts, so the ones present in your area will enter through the cheesecloth. Once they do so, they’ll start converting the sugars into alcohol. All you have to do is stir the jar each day and check for any surface molds. If you see any mold, remove it. After 10 days, strain out the solids.

Ferment into Vinegar

Now you have unfiltered strawberry wine. At this point, you’re ready to introduce Acetobacter.

For this step, you have two options. You can add a vinegar mother or add 1/4 cup of unfiltered vinegar, such as Bragg apple cider vinegar. At this point, recover the jar with cheesecloth and place it back in a warm, dark place.

Check the jar every day for any molds or off smells. The solution should smell fruity and boozy in the beginning, and eventually, it will smell sour. However, don’t stir the liquid, as this can disrupt the formation of the mother.

acetobacter

Speaking of the mother…don’t be alarmed when a rubbery pancake starts to appear on the surface of your liquid! This is the mother, and although it may look a little scary, it’s essential to the vinegar making process.

After two weeks, you can begin tasting your vinegar in the making. When it tastes sour like vinegar, it’s ready!

Strain out the mother and reserve it for future batches. Store the mother by covering it in a bit of vinegar or sugar water.

If you like, you can use cheesecloth to filter out any sediment from your vinegar. At this point, store your vinegar in an airtight container.

jars of vinegar

A Taste of Spring

Vinegar keeps for over a year, so you can revisit the flavors of spring all year long. Once you’ve mastered strawberry vinegar, you can try making other vinegar out of fruits like peaches and apples. With a pantry full of fruit vinegar, your salads will never be boring again!

If you liked my post on home strawberry vinegar make sure to check out my post on spring peas!

Spring Peas

As the weather warms and the ground thaws, it’s time to start thinking about eating and maybe even planting spring peas. By performing the small act of planting some seeds, you’ll be rewarded with climbing tendrils and sweet snacks that both you and your kids will love.

spring peas

Before you plant your spring peas, it’s important to understand the different types. Yes, there are different types of these veggies!

While there are hundreds of different individual varieties of peas available – including purple and yellow pods – there are three main categories: snap, snow, and shelling.

Snap Peas

snap peas

Often called sugar snap peas, these crunchy little veggies are seriously sweet! Since they’re one of my favorite spring treats, I find it hard to resist eating all of them as I’m harvesting.

When some do make it to the kitchen, I love to pair them in a salad with mint and lemon. The freshness of the mint and the sourness of the lemon balance out the sweetness of the peas.

Snow Peas

snow peas

Snow peas differ from snap peas in their pod shape and pea size. Snow peas have flatter pods that you should harvest when their peas are still small.

They taste similar to snap peas, but they’re a bit less sweet.

A great way to use snow peas is in a simple stir fry. Saute some minced onion, ginger, and garlic in oil on medium heat. Once these become fragrant, add in snow peas, sesame oil, and soy sauce and cook just until the peas are warm – about two minutes.

Shelling Peas

shelling peas

Also known as shell peas or English peas, these plants produce large, sweet peas encased in a tough pod. Unlike snap and snow peas, you don’t eat the entire pod.

These peas do take some work to eat since you’ll have to remove the individual peas from their pod by hand. However, this is a great activity for kids or a reason to get a group of friends together.

One of the best ways to prepare shelling peas is to simply saute them in some oil. They’re great with roasted or mashed potatoes.

How to Plant Peas

No matter what type of peas you choose to plant, it’s easy to grow your own.

These plants like cool weather, so plant seeds as soon as you can prepare the soil. Depending on where you live, this is typically some time in February, March, or April.

Plant seeds two inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Once the pea plants are a few inches tall, they’ll start looking for something to hold on to. So, it’s a good idea to provide a trellis. You can weave a string between two sticks or t-posts, or you can build a teepee structure with bamboo or sticks.

About two months after planting your seeds, you’ll start seeing peas that are ready to harvest. Make sure to pick the peas a few times a week, as the pods mature quickly!

Snap to It

Now that you know about peas and how to grow them, it’s time to get started adding these to your garden. Even if you can’t grow your own, look for peas at local markets during April-June.

If you don’t know it already, you’ll soon learn that a fresh pea is one of spring’s sweetest treats!

If you like to garden, make sure to check out our other wonderful posts around growing your garden and 13 gardening hacks.