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How to Make Homemade Vinegar

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Vinegar is one of those things that generally sits in the cupboard and is only used a couple of times a year, usually for special dishes.

Once upon a time, people knew how to make homemade vinegar on their own and used it for cooking, food preservation, cleaning, and medicinal purposes!

homemade vinegar

On our homestead, we learned how to make our own homemade vinegar a few years ago. It helped us save money and we didn’t let any produce go to waste.

This is something I have been interested in for quite some time. However, I always thought that making homemade vinegar would be too complicated.

It turns out I was wrong and in fact, making it is quite easy if you follow some simple instructions.

How To Make Homemade Vinegar

A lot of preppers and homesteaders are stockpiling vinegar due to its many uses besides culinary. Instead of buying it from the grocery store, you can learn how to make vinegar at home.

Some people say it’s as easy as making wine, although there are some differences between the two.

Vinegar is a mildly acidic liquid that is made through fermentation. Most times, you actually ferment the batch twice.

The first phase is that the yeast will eat the sugar, therefore turning it into alcohol. In the second phase, the acidic bacteria take over and eat the alcohol, leaving behind vinegar.

Ever smell a bottle of wine that has been left out too long? In fact, vinegar is actually the French word for “sour wine”.

Essentially, if you keep your alcohol exposed to air for long periods of time, it could transform into vinegar.  

Finally, yeast only works in an environment where there is no oxygen, while vinegar can only form when oxygen is present. This is the main difference between making vinegar and wine.


  • A warm, dark place
  • Glass containers (like large mason jars)
  • Wine or beer (at least 6% alcohol)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Starter culture of acetobacter (mother of vinegar)


  • Pour the wine or beer (but not both) into the glass container.
  • Using a 1:1 ratio, dilute the alcohol with distilled water.
  • Add the mother of vinegar (1 cup per gallon).
  • Place the cheesecloth over your glass container and fix it in place with bungee or rope
  • Leave some headspace for the mother to do its work
  • Store in a warm, dark place for 2–3 months.

After 1 month, it should start to smell like good ‘ol fashioned vinegar, but maybe not as tangy as you are used to.  After month 2, it should be ready, but feel free to allow it to ferment a bit longer to taste.

There are so many variations on how to make vinegar that you may want to experiment with different methods and recipes. For me, I love to infuse my vinegar with all sorts of flavors and other surprises!

Infused Homemade Vinegar

You can make infused vinegar to make different flavors. In truth, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Think about how clean it would smell if you infused lemon or orange peels into a bottle of distilled white vinegar. It would leave behind a fresh, clean scent with hints of citrus fruit.

How about pepper-infused vinegar to spice up your favorite dish or as a spray deterrent for pests? There are so many options!


Making your own homemade vinegar is a great way to save money and become more self-sufficient. With a simple process, you can create your own vinegar to add to your family’s food storage.

Apple cider vinegar, or a variant, is the most common type of vinegar that homesteaders produce. The process is pretty simple, and the materials are pretty easy to come by!

Once upon a time, people knew how to make homemade vinegar on their own and used it for cooking, food preservation, cleaning, and medicinal purposes!