It’s strawberry season in Florida so right now my grocery store is full of organic strawberries! My strawberry beds haven’t even bloomed yet! In fact, after our few days in January of sub-zero weather, many of my plants did not survive.
Next time you buy some organic strawberries, don’t throw the tops away! When I want a strawberry vinegar, I use the tops I cut from my strawberries. If I have plenty on the shelf, then my chickens enjoy the scraps.
Fruit vinegars are super inexpensive to make! I recently priced a non-organic fruit vinegar, 10 oz., in my local grocery store and it was $7.99 ON SALE! No need to spend that money when I can make almost a quart for next to nothing! and it only takes a few minutes Let’s do it!
What you will need: a canning jar, some filtered or spring water (not tap water), organic sugar, organic strawberries, sharp knife, a cutting board and a fermentation top or piece of cotton and a rubber band.
Rinse your strawberries and carefully pay attention to the leaves on top, make sure any dirt gathered there or tiny dead leaves are washed away.
Slice the tops off of the strawberries as you usually do. This time save the tops. The two little pieces of strawberries on the bottom left were treats for my 1 year old grandson! The rest of the strawberries went into a fruit salad.
Place those strawberry tops into a mason jar – make sure your jar is large enough to so that you only get it about about 3/4 full.
Add 1/4 cup sugar for a quart jar and 1/2 cup sugar for a 1/2 gallon jar (don’t worry…the sugar will be eaten up during the fermentation process!).
Then add your filtered water….
Next you want to stir to dissolve the sugar, use the end of a wooden spoon or a chopstick.
Now you need to top with a fermentation lid…it can be as simple as a piece of cotton with a rubber band, or you can purchase a Pickling Pipe, or other kind of fermentation topper. This is important because oxygen is needed for that fermentation process
These are some of the ones I have on hand. I do a lot of fermentation. I think the cloth is the cheapest ( you can get a bundle of fat quarters fairly cheaply) and the Pickling Pipes are the easiest (turquoise silicone piece).
Put your choice of topper on and let this sit on your counter for up to 30 days. You will need to stir it every day for a week, maybe two….until you see the bubbles forming. You should see some bubbles rising after a few days.
The vinegar I just made is on the left and the jar on the right was done about 3 days before.
It will begin to smell vinegary before long. If you are concerned about the acidity (you are aiming for about a 3.5) you can test with inexpensive tape….you can get this from a pharmacy or off of Amazon. Do not dip this strip into your jar…take out a spoonful of the liquid and test what’s in your spoon.
When you have reached 3.5 or lower and you like the taste, strain off the liquid, feed the tops to your compost pile or chickens if you have them. (vinegar is great for you chickens – I often put a little in their waterer! Pour into a pretty jar and cap. Voila! You have delicious strawberry vinegar!
I love to make a poppy seed dressing with this…or use in any other recipe calling for a fruit vinegar. It’s so yummy! Just add olive oil and you’ll have a flavorful marinade or salad dressing!
You can use this same method for any other fruit scraps! Peeling apples, peaches, citrus fruit? Make a vinegar from the scraps! You can even mix the fruit scraps! I have crushed raspberries and done this for a raspberry vinegar (my personal favorite!). If you are using citrus peels, you will need to increase the sugar since citrus peels don’t have a lot of sugar in them.
You can also use herbs! I make basil vinegar every year – or mix oregano, rosemary, thyme for an Italian dressing to be used for salads or marinades. You can make a Mexican blend using Cilantro and lime!
Let me know what kind of vinegar you make and how you are going to use it!