Monday, January 31, 2011

Vinegar has a mother?

By Laura Leasman

I was thinking about vinegar today and kept returning to two aspects of vinegar: its smell and its mother. Why? Because I had time on my hands while plucking big yellow feathers at work (I make Big Bird for stage shows). How do these three things, vinegar, mother, and work all fit together?

Vinegar’s strong aroma seems to be an affront to the senses of someone who is not accustomed to it. I have acclimated to the smell and when entering Dad’s Vinegary I feel much the same sensation as when walking outside on a below-zero day in a Minnesota winter. Your breath is stolen for a moment and it almost hurts to breath; but the body acclimates. I have come to, almost, enjoy the smell. It reminds me of home and the enjoyment the process of making vinegar brings my Dad. It may not be a great idea to cook a generous quantity of vinegar in a microwave at work however. The aroma may be found off- putting to the less vinegar-educated individual.

I, as well as my siblings, have learned a bit about how vinegar is made from our Dad. Through this process we have learned that the gelatinous mass that forms in some vinegar is called “mother.” It may start as a wispy cloud and, if left to form in a large quantity, it can form a thick slimy layer. The mother is not harmful and is a product of the process of making vinegar.

I work at the same company as my sister (she makes Ernie’s shoes)and one day her boss came up to me with a vinegar question.

“Laura, I have a bottle of vinegar that has a cloudy substance in it. Do you think it is still okay to use?”
I was able to respond with the knowledge I had learned about vinegar mother. It is fine to use vinegar that has mother in it. It does not negatively affect the quality of vinegar. Most people probably don’t eat the mother, but some believe it has health benefits and even look for vinegar that has mother in it.

I am slowly trying to educate people around me on the benefits of using herbal vinegars and a variety of its uses. The easiest way to incorporate vinegar, other than a daily undiluted dose on a spoon, would be to pour a small amount on fresh fruit. Cut up fresh fruit, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries and drizzle with a fruit vinegar such as cherry or rhubarb. If you are feeling more adventurous, drizzle with an herb vinegar such as ros
emary or basil. The vinegar brings out the flavor of the berries and is surprisingly refreshing. It is also much healthier than dosing the fruit with sugar or cream.

Enjoy, and ALWAYS use as much vinegar as you like!!


kamen said...

About "...ALWAYS use as much vinegar as you like!!..."

please note that too much vinegar can cause health problems

Nancy Packard Leasman said...

Even too much water can cause health problems. The key is moderation in all things. Using as much vinegar "as you like" is not apt to get you into health trouble.