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How to Brew Fruit Vinegar

How to Brew Fruit Vinegar

Vinegar can be made from fermentable sugars or fermentable alcohol. For example, apple cider will become apple cider vinegar if exposed to air. Exposing fruit juice or alcohol to oxygen allows for the possibility that acetic acid bacteria (AAB) may colonize the liquid. AAB metabolize ethanol into acetic acid or vinegar. The AAB will form a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) or mother of vinegar. A mother of vinegar is not needed to produce vinegar. If AAB are alive and present under the proper conditions then vinegar will be produced.

starfruit vinegar with the mother SCOBY

Proper conditions include:

  • large surface area of sugary liquid exposed to air

  • good air circulation

  • a temperature range from 59 to 94 ℉

  • out of the path of direct sunlight

  • fruit flies carry the acetic acid bacteria needed to make vinegar

Photo ID: The Mother of Vinegar SCOBY naturally occuring in a batch of starfruit vinegar. Photo credit : Sarah Montaño


You can brew vinegar from any fruit. Wild acetic acid bacteria are omnipresent.


How to Brew Fruit Vinegar


  • Centrifugal Juicer

  • 1-1 gallon size fermentation vessel with wide mouth

  • Cheesecloth

  • Strainer


  • 8 cups fruit juice/ or crushed fruit & peels if you don’t have/desire a juicer

  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar

  • 1 cup raw vinegar (to inoculate the new batch & quickens fermentation the process)



  1. Process the fruit to obtain fruit juice. Discard any excess solids. Beginning the fermentation process with pure fruit juice will help to create a vinegar with a clean flavor profile. (If you are brewing using crushed fruit, then see step 12 below.)

  2. Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 1 cup hot water. Let cool to room temperature.

  3. Add 8 cups fruit juice to the fermentation vessel. Choose a vessel that is roughly as wide as it is tall. This will ensure that the vinegar has sufficient surface area to allow wild acetic acid bacteria to colonize the brew.

  4. Pour the sugary fruit mix into a glass, ceramic or wooden wide-mouthed vessel or bowl. Cover with a cloth to keep ants and flies away. Label and date the vessel.

  5. Be sure that the vinegar solution fills the vessel to no more than half full. This allows for proper surface area to volume ratio, necessary to attract wild acetobacter aceti.

  6. Place the vessel to ferment in a warm and dark location. Be sure to stir the mixture frequently, at least a few times every day until active bubbling takes place.

  7. Once actively bubbling, strain out solid fruit, if any is used, and introduce the raw apple cider vinegar if using.

  8. Allow to ferment in a glass, ceramic or wooden wide-mouthed vessel or bowl. Cover with a cloth to keep ants and flies away. Allow to ferment for another 2-4 weeks.

  9. After about 2 weeks, smell and taste the mixture to determine if any alcohol remains. If so, allow to ferment a bit longer.

  10. Once you determine that the solution is done fermenting, then bottle the vinegar. Choose small, narrow neck green or amber glass bottles.

  11. You now have raw vinegar. Label & date your bottles & store in the refrigerator to continue to age & allow subtle flavors to develop.

  12. If you would like to pasteurize your vinegar to make it more shelf-stable, then you may heat the vinegar to 140℉ before bottling. Be careful not to heat about 160 ℉ or the acetic acid will evaporate and ruin the vinegar.

  13. If you choose to brew vinegar using crushed fruit follow these steps:

  14. Crush or finely chop the fruit.

  15. Mix in 1/4 cup organic cane sugar for every 4 cups fruit

  16. Place mash in a mason jar. Cover with a cheesecloth.

  17. Allow to ferment for a few days. Once you notice that bubbling and activity slows down, strain the liquid from the solid fruit.

  18. Place liquid into a clean mason jar and allow to ferment until the smell of alcohol dissipates and the juice begins to smell like vinegar.

  19. At this point you can begin to taste the vinegar and bottle when it has reached a flavor that you enjoy.

Photo: Mixed fruit and starfruit vinegar. You can see the mother SCOBY. Be sure to use vessels that allow for maximum surface area to be exposed to air.

photo credit: Sarah Montaño

We have had great success brewing fruit vinegars here at Gingerhill farm. We have made vinegar from banana, starfruit, papaya and cane juice. Currently we have a batch of jaboticaba vinegar brewing. Fermentation is an incredible alchemical process that helps us to preserve the abundant harvest of the land which enables us to be more self sufficient. Leave us a comment and let is know if you try this recipe.

Photo: Gingerhill organic, raw, unfiltered starfruit vinegar brewed by the author. Marginal cost to brew 64 ounces of fruit vinegar is about $0.25: (1/2 cup of sugar = $0.22 + 64 ounces water = $0.0048 + fruit from the orchard). Photo credit : Sarah Montaño.


  1. “Vinegar.” The Noma Guide to Fermentation, by René Redzepi et al., Artisan, 2018, pp. 158–169.

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