Yes, I know Mother’s Day was last weekend. This is about a different mother, a vinegar mother.
At Yaffle House we infuse organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) with fruit, herbs and spices to make a fabulous and versatile vinegar.
Yaffle House vinegars are great on salads, in all kinds of cooking, in drinks (Yaffle House Sweet Chilli Vinegar makes THE most amazing chilli martini, recipe below) and even where you would drizzle honey or syrup, for example on porridge.
A lot of our customers have asked how ACV is made. We don’t make our own ACV for the Yaffle House vinegars, we wouldn’t be able to make enough for what we need. Instead we use a wonderful organic ACV from the experts, Aspall. Their vinegar is just lovely, they really know their stuff. As an added bonus they are local to us, based in Suffolk. See www.aspall.co.uk for their fantastic vinegars and ciders.
Last year I did some experimenting to make my own ACV, just to see how it all works. It’s a deeply satisfying process, especially if you have apple trees because you use the bits left over from processing apples that would ordinarily go straight on the compost. I found the whole process quite absorbing as it developed, initially producing alcohol then latterly turning acidic as the vinegar ‘mother’ grew.
Making vinegar this way is a two-step process. Apple peel and cores are added to water with a little bit of sugar. These ferment and the sugar turns to alcohol. I have to admit I nearly drank it all at the end of this stage. It tasted pretty good, like a rough cider!
The apple is strained out and the second stage of fermentation happens. The alcohol is converted to vinegar as an ‘acetobacter’ bacteria forms, which creates acetic acid. It is during this stage that the vinegar mother forms from the acetic bacteria and cellulose, the substance that makes up cell walls in plants. The mother starts as a cloudy white layer, then develops into a disc firm enough to pick up.
It is the vinegar mother, an amazing fermentation powerhouse, that you can use to make more vinegar. I fished the mother out of my home fermented ACV when I bottled it and it is ready to use again. I’m planning a red wine vinegar next, should we ever get any leftover red wine (hmmm!) and may well try a little experiment with some fruit. Watch this space!
My final vinegar surprised me. It had a good level of acidity, but was also really light and fruity. I get a real satisfaction from using it, knowing I made it from scratch. With a little help from mother, of course.
Yaffle House Chilli Martini
The vinegar in this elegant cocktail brings out the flavours in the gin and vermouth like nothing else. Surprisingly wonderful and a little addictive.
2 shots (50ml) Gin
1 tbsp (15ml) dry vermouth
1 tbsp (15ml) Yaffle House Sweet Chilli Vinegar
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice
Stir until very cold
Strain into a martini glass and add a couple of chilli slices to garnish