As part of HuffPost’s “Reclaim” project, HuffPost Taste will focus the entire month of July on simple ways you can reduce food waste in your own home.
We know the concept of “leftover Champagne” isn’t often a reality, but sometimes it is. And when it is ― after a big party when you were too tired to put away the bottles at the end of the night, for example ― you should use that wine to make vinegar. Good vinegar comes with a steep price tag, so it really is in your best interest to make your own.
The process is simple enough to tackle. We’re going to talk you through the steps. Here’s what you need:
- a wide-mouth glass jar (like these Mason jars) or a ceramic crock if you have one. Don’t use plastic or metal.
- unpasteurized vinegar, like Braggs Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- your leftover Champagne
Measure out the leftover Champagne, and mix it with half that amount of the live, unpasteurized vinegar. (If you have two cups of leftover wine, you’ll add one cup of vinegar.) Top the jar with cheesecloth and hold it in place with a rubber band. Store in a dark place and let it sit.
How long should it sit? That depends on how much you’re making ― the smaller the amount, the less time it needs. You can start tasting after three weeks, but it may need closer to three months.
You might notice a gelatinous blob forming on the top of your vinegar mixture. This is called a mother and it is a good thing. It naturally develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids and is what turns the alcohol into acetic acid (with the help of oxygen ― that’s why you cover the jar with cheesecloth and not a lid). Acetic acid is what gives vinegar its pungent taste and strong smell.
Once the vinegar tastes like, well, vinegar, remove the mother and store the vinegar in jars with tight-fitting lids to stop the vinegar from spoiling.