This summer I purchased a case of pears and should have ordered at least two. I canned the fruit and saved the peels and cores to make cider vinegar. It is finally ready and tastes so good!
I went about making the vinegar the same way I made apple cider vinegar, I added more sugar to this batch though.
All the scraps went into a two gallon crock with a few handfuls of granulated cane sugar and enough water to cover everything. I placed plastic wrap over the top and laid a flour sack towel over the top and brought it to the basement, which for the time being was the root cellar. It stayed relatively cool down there which caused the fermentation process to go much slower. Slow fermentation is just fine as long as it is “working”, if it stops fermenting it will most likely sour or go bad.
I let the crock sit for two months. It had a little bubbling action and some fizz. After the two months I strained the cider and placed it into two, two quart jars. I added another handful of sugar to each jar, covered them with a piece of flour sack towel, secured with a jar ring. These were left to sit on the counter for another month.
I didn’t forget about them, like I did the wine, they were in the way of the coffee pot. I saw them every day. I didn’t move them however, or check them for that matter. I decided they were done when I could smell a sweet vinegar smell. I was going to bottle the vinegar into wine bottles until I realized I returned the corker. Mason jars it is!
The exciting and very surprising discovery about all this, is when I removed the cover there was a beautiful, thick scoby on top! Never have I had a scoby look so thick and healthy in all my kombucha endeavors! They were about a half inch thick and so healthy! I’m not making kombucha right now, so I placed them in sugar water and put them in the freezer. Hopefully that will save them. If not, oh well I guess.
Scoby, for those who don’t know, is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It has a texture and feel of what I would imagine a fat jelly fish would feel like; slightly slimy, very smooth and gelatin like. It is made, or grown would be the better term, from sweet tea and some kombucha that is already finished. Think of it like a sour dough starter but for making fermented tea instead.
As for the vinegar, it has a very clean flavor. It’s slightly sweet and a nice light honey color. I would use it in place of apple cider vinegar for salad dressings and lighter kitchen uses where the flavor won’t be over-run. This is not something I would use for pickled eggs, it tastes way too good for that.
Next year, hopefully there will be more pears and more scraps to make a bigger batch of vinegar.