MOV - Vinegar making

MOV is one of the easiest cultures to spontaneously propagate or culture at home, either rom wine, which as a result produces wine vinegar, or e.g., apple juice, for producing apple cider vinegar. In fact, vinegar may be prepared or cultured from non alcoholic juices such as fresh fruit or vegetable juice, including cereal grains (maltgar) and honey (honeygar).

This may be achieved by inoculating either fresh fruit juice e.g., apple juice, with the addition of non-pasteurized vinegar (also classified as a mother-culture). Alternatively, wine may be placed in a container with a cloth placed over the mouth of the vessel, to let in air while keeping out dust and insects. The brew is left for some months to ferment at room temperature, to produce vinegar. It is important to place the ingredients in a covered but vented container (left at room temperature), so that the liquid or juice (medium) receives ample amount of oxygen throughout the culture process. The addition of a small amount of non-pasteurized vinegar hastens the culture-process, ensuring a good vinegar-product is achieved. After some weeks an opaque film should form on the surface of the brew. This film is known as mother of vinegar (MOV). If left undisturbed, the film will remain afloat in the medium. Sometimes the film may sink and become submerged beneath the medium. If this occurs, within time a new pellicle forms, replacing the previously submerged colony. The newly formed pellicle will once again form floating on the surface of the vinegar. This process may occur many times over, doing so when ever any colony, or pellicle becomes submerged in the vinegar.

Culturing Apple Cider Vinegar

This mother-cultured cider vinegar is quite easy to prepare, at home, from a few simple ingredients and virtually thin air! Any MOV that forms, should have a clean sour odour, with a clean opaque texture. No mold- growth should be found on the surface! Any brown areas as seen in the photo, are due to yeast lees and possible coagulated tannin's or colloidal substances found in the initial media. These are safe.

Method - Prepare cider vinegar from freshly pressed apple juice. The fresh juice needs to be inoculated with the addition of about 5% non-pasteurized vinegar (soured or turned wine). A cloth is placed over the mouth of the container to keep out dust and insects. The container is stored in a dark cupboard for 3 - 4 months. When the cider vinegar is ready, 1/2 the volume of vinegar is siphoned and stored in a bottle, ready for consumption. The brewing container is topped up with freshly pressed apple juice, and fermented for a few months. This may be performed on an indefinite basis, to produce a constant supply of cider vinegar. To prepare wine vinegar, substitute red and or white wine for fresh grape juice in the method explained above. Read these tips and precautions

Balsamic vinegar - Balsamic vinegar is a unique vinegar product. Freshly squeezed grape-juice is first cooked to reduce the volume to approximately two thirds of the original volume; until the must acquires the consistency of a thin syrup. The working and aging process for producing balsamic vinegar is quite extensive. Storing and aging balsamic vinegar, transferring periodically into barrels made from a variety of different wood-types, and aging for 25-100 years is common practice in Modena. During this period up to 80% of the original volume is lost due to evaporation, so the barrels are frequently topped up with new must on a yearly basis. This extensive process is mostly why high quality traditional Balsamic vinegar demands a high price.

Precaution ... Please Read

Not very common, but if any unusual contamination due to mold-growth is found growing on the surface of the mother-culture, one should discard the MOV, and start or obtain a new culture. Some species of fungi or molds, especially of the Aspergillus family, have been known to propagate on MOV. These molds usually have green coloured spores, while some stains may produce black spores. Some varieties of fungi produce aflatoxins and mycotoxins, which one should completely avoid in their brew!!


Gently rocking the MOV once daily, seems to be an effective preventative measure, to ensure that molds do not propagate on the surface of the MOV. This may be due to the fact that rocking forces some of the vinegar to wash over the surface of the MOV. Performing this once daily, maintains the surface of a MOV wet at all time, which is the main factor in the prevention of mold-growth. A MOV that may become submerged due to a heavy rocking action, will force the brew to form a new MOV within a few days. This action also provides soluble oxygen for the specific aerobic bacteria (oxygen lovers), Gluconacetobacter xylinum, which synthesize cellulose from glucose in the presence of oxygen.


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