Oh Mother!

No, not THAT kind of mother. Vinegar mother! This mother is just as giving, generous, and strong as an actual mother. Both require care, time, and a gentle touch (or a hug). The more time you spend with them, the more they give back. They are forever giving and I am thankful for both in my life (but really thankful for my actual mom way more).

Our own vinegar mother!

Our own vinegar mother!

So what's happening here? What on earth is in the jug and what is going on inside? In a dark cabinet in our kitchen, Andy and I are quietly making our own vinegar. It's super easy–you just have to have the right starting ingredient (mother), a continual supply of wine (easy), and patience (something I've been graced with a lot of).

In the bottom of the jug there lies a jiggly, jell-o-ish, purple-y, disc. That's mother! From what I know, you can't grow her out of nothing, you have to know someone with an existing mother and hope they will share some with you. Vinegar mother is resilient and continues to grow; you can cut off a small piece and gift it to a friend. That's exactly how we ended up with our mother. A family friend gave some to my dad and my dad gave some to us. Who knows where she originated from! I'll have to ask at the next family picnic. Now that we have her, all we do is keep her covered with a little cheese cloth (she needs to breathe), feed her left over red wine every so often, and wait. 

Like all good family recipes, there are no strict rules to follow here–we go off of instinct and smell. When it smells like vinegar, we do a little taste test and if it gets the thumbs up we pour some off. Voila! Red wine vinegar! We use ours to top salad greens, cooked greens, and our recent favorite : sprinkled over roasted brussels sprouts.

Give a little extra love to your own mother (real), any mothers you know, or your vinegar mother–they work really hard!

Julie Morelli