For some years now I have regretted not having saved a "mother" for a new vinegar plant.
In the mid-nineties, I spent a year or two making different kinds of vinegar from different ingredients: molasses, fruit juice, berries from my garden, honey and so on. It was a bit fun then and produced a bearable vinegar.
I've used a "vinegar plant" that I've grown from a bit of liquid
Plant that a friend of the acquaintance's grandmother in the rural bay of Notre Dame, about 350 km from here, got. This grandmother had kept her going for decades, and no doubt her life spanned the nineteenth century, and probably much further. After all, there was a time when vinegar was used, but nobody could go to the store and buy a bottle of vinegar. (In vineyards, vinegar is made from wine, but not here.)
On warm days in her childhood, my own grandmother (born in the mid-1890s) drank a kind of lemonade that her mother made from home-made vinegar. The vinegar was mixed with molasses and water and drunk for refreshment, just as children today drink bottled soft drinks. My grandmother blamed her lifelong anemia for the habit of drinking vinegar! (She probably was wrong ….)
Anyway, after a few years of making the food I became lazy and stopped making vinegar. But at some point I missed it. I forgot that I put a plant in a dark closet. I found it a few weeks ago and this picture shows it. I've just added some sweet water to see if it starts all over again. I reckon.
The friend who gave me the starter for this is a mycologist. She's done some pretty thorough testing of the vinegar plant in Newfoundland and found that it's the same basic flora and fauna (if it's the right words, the same organic mix) as the tea-like beverage that was around twenty in North America was years ago: kombucha.
They probably have the same basic health effects – for better or for worse!
The color depends on what you do it with. This beautiful orange color is the result of this plant, which was bred from redcurrants in my front yard. My notes on the bottle say that I started in 1996!
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