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I made pineapple vinegar by just putting all of the fibrous and hard to eat parts of the fruit in water with some sugar. It did ferment and make vinegar, in that it's sour and pretty acidic (pH is between 3 and 4, in my testing), but it's a bit harsh and not very subtle in flavor.

How can I age or rest or store this vinegar to get something pleasant for eating or cooking?

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  • Have you tried diluting it a bit?
    – GdD
    May 20 at 12:03
  • No. It doesn't taste too strong or acidic, just not....good. I think diluting it would make it weaker and still not good. But maybe that's not right. May 20 at 12:10
  • I see what you mean. I've never intentionally made vinegar so I don't think I can help on this one.
    – GdD
    May 20 at 13:15
  • I think that the presence of bacteria could be bad for the flavor. May 20 at 19:09
  • I once made wine vinegar and when I smelled it, it had the odor of nail polish remover. I tossed it out thinking it was bad but then learned that was normal and would go away after a while. You might just want to give it some time to mellow.
    – JimmyJames
    May 20 at 20:29

2 Answers 2

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As Unlisted said, real balsamic is indeed matured in elaborate ways, using storage in wood. But most of the cheaper stuff you can buy is not made that way.

When you buy a very tasty fruity vinegar, it is usually just a mixture of actual vinegar and fruit syrup. Sometimes also fruit juice, if you want to keep more of the sour taste. This is very easy to achieve - just get some fruit syrup or juice, maybe adding some other sweetener like beet syrup, and add some to the vinegar. Work on some minimal test batches first, and start with very low concentrations, until you know your preferred mixture - you don't want to make it too sweet all at once.

If you want to try aging, you don't have to buy an actual barrel. Even in industry, it is common practice to use wood chips inside of nonreactive vessels - and you can dose the chips for any batch size. Just make sure you get untreated wood.

An alternative way to infuse taste, combining both of the above, is to take ripe fruit, cover it in vinegar, and let it stay for a couple of weeks. The vinegar will take on the taste.

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  • Wood chips! That makes a lot of sense and I have them in huge quantity too. I would think only oak or another hardwood, because pine would be resinous and probably toxic? May 20 at 15:41
  • Also, syrup. I should have known. I always think there's some clever trick involved, when it really just comes down to sugar. May 20 at 15:43
  • @JoshuaFrank This is a very good point you are making! I haven't aged anything myself, but apparently, both the type of wood and the pretreatment is important: homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/17730/…. Also, "toxic" is a relative term, retsina is aged with pine (or maybe some other confier).
    – rumtscho
    May 20 at 16:19
  • And for the syrup, it is certainly better to add some kind of full-bodied flavor (such as home cooked syrup from different kinds of fruit or flower) than just straight sugar. But yes, a pinch of sugar can make a lot of things taste much better. And at last, if nothing works, you might consider trying making vinegar with a different fruit - raw pineapple attacks human tissue. I have no idea if its enzymes survive the vinegar making, but if they do, that may be part of the "harshness". I'm not saying it won't work, it is certainly worth experimenting, just don't give up if it doesn't work now.
    – rumtscho
    May 20 at 16:26
  • There's a trick I've seen people doing for aging, which is to use an ultrasonic cleaner to agitate bottles of whisky to 'speed up' aging. If you have one around, it might speed things up. May 21 at 0:45
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Even 'fish & chip' malt vinegar is matured in wood for a week [some cheap ones only a day].
https://www.sarsons.co.uk/how-vinegar-is-made

Balsamic is nurtured like a fine sherry for years through successive wooden barrels, each barrel being fed successively from younger batches, never being entirely emptied.
https://www.seriouseats.com/everything-you-need-to-know-guide-to-balsamic-vinegar
This would feel a tad excessive for a simple experiment & limited quantity.

Wine will mature further in the bottle, but spirits won't.
By extrapolation…
I'd take the chance that without access to a maturing barrel [again excessive for a one off test] then you could just try keeping it in the bottle for a week, or a month.
It shouldn't go 'off', it's vinegar.

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  • As I understand it, most "malt vinegar" in UK fish & chip shops is actually "non-brewed condiment" rather than actual vinegar (even when it's not supposed to be). I don't know how they mellow it, but aging in wood is probably not involved.
    – R.M.
    May 21 at 2:42
  • I meant traditional fish & chip vinegar - the link is to Sarson's.
    – unlisted
    May 21 at 7:49

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