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DIY Vinegar

March 17, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - DIY Vinegar

As a wine lover who has a nice cellar, I'm always dreading the time when I open an old bottle and it has, as they say, "turned" to vinegar.  Fortunately, that's a very rare occurrence.   But there are times when we will deliberately try to make our own vinegar.

Jerry has a nice approach.  Any time he has some leftover wine in the bottom of the bottle, he pours it into a big jar that is designated for vinegar making.  He prefers to separate reds and whites, and he will add a little "Mother of Vinegar" (easily available online) to get the fermentation started.

As he discovered, the wine to vinegar process doesn't work overnight.  It is a very long slow haul, but it does work.  Fortunately it doesn't require the least effort after you pour the wine into the jar.  Just let it sit.

The resulting vinegar is actually quite nice.  Jerry noticed that it has a less aggressive acidity than store-bought kinds.  This makes it a very good candidate for salad dressings and sauces where you want vinegar flavor and a touch of acidity, but not the mouth-searing tartness that some vinegars hit you with.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.