Everlasting Raw Vinegar

Extending Raw Vinegar img Raw vinegar is good stuff, but it’s pricey. If you’re a fan of the Good Girl Moonshine drink, you probably are aware of how fast you can go through a bottle of the pricey raw vinegar. Too fast.

I discovered this cool trick to create an everlasting bottle of raw cultured vinegar, and I thought you guys would like to try it too!

**Updated** Some of my awesome readers have correctly pointed out that the pasteurized vinegar that I’m using can never be made raw. So the title really would be better as “Everlasting Cultured Vinegar”. :) Some people are skeptical that the pasteurized vinegar can be colonized by the healthy bacteria existing in the raw, but I’ve been doing this for a year and have seen the bacterial colony get more active and form a patty, so that’s enough proof for me. Please feel free to do your own experimenting and research and come to your own conclusions!

See the weird floaty thing in the bottom of my bottle of vinegar? That’s the natural beneficial bacteria colony called the “Mother.” It’s how they make raw vinegar. Even if you don’t have a visible disk, you probably have little ‘floaties’. The bacteria are there (even if you can’t see them) and the more you replenish the vinegar, you’ll start to see the bacteria become more active and create this disk that may float or sink like mine has. The fact that your vinegar is raw and living means that you can create MORE when you start to run low.

raw vinegar mother

When my bottle gets about halfway empty…IMG_3547

I grab a bottle of regular apple cider vinegar,

IMG_3546

and fill it back up. I like the White House brand of vinegar because the process starts with fresh apples.

IMG_3548

It really is just that simple! :) Some people prefer to use apple cider or hard cider, but I just buy vinegar because I want to keep the acidity level high and the sugar lower.

That, my friends, is how to save mucho denaro on raw by culturing your own vinegar! Please share and pin this to spread the love.

 

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  1. Michelle says

    I’m slightly confused. Does the large container have “the mother”, too? I don’t see that listed on the label.

    • says

      The big container is a regular bottle of apple cider vinegar. It’s been pasteurized (probably prior to bottling), but I’m adding it to the cultured vinegar with the intent of it culturing as well. :)

  2. Linda Roahrig says

    Gwen—Look in the mirror and kiss your face for me…there on the cheek! Yahoo…I go through this stuff so quickly that I ordered two bottles last time…THANK YOU! :)

  3. Carina says

    My bottle of ACV is almost empty. Can I still fill it up with regular apple cider vinegar or is it best to do when the bottle is no more than half gone?

  4. Kenna says

    Awesome! So, can you just keep repeating this process with the original ACV bottle? In other words, after you’ve extended it the first time and it gets to half full again, just add more ACV? And on and on?

  5. says

    What a great idea! I’ll have to try that soon! Now if we could extend the life of our balsamic vinegar! I love to make salad dressings and marinades with it!

  6. Jacque says

    I just had a delicious sandwich on your wonderful bread and I still can’t believe I am making my own now. Thanks for all your great ideas.

  7. Fawn says

    This is a great idea. Thank you for sharing. I’m a little confused about what vinegar you say to use to replenish the raw ACV. You said, “Some people prefer to use apple cider, but I just buy vinegar because I want to keep the acidity level high and the sugar lower.” Does that mean you can use white vinegar or does it have to be plain ACV? I see in your pictures that you’re using plain ACV.
    Love & appreciate your blog.

    • says

      Hi Fawn! Some people use apple juice- or cider and let that culture into vinegar. That takes longer, lowers the acidity, and I don’t want the added sugars. I use apple cider vinegar. :) I don’t think I’d use white vinegar for this purpose. It’s got a different flavor profile to me.

  8. Martha says

    Great idea…and since you think it may take a couple days to ferment, what about using TWO bottles of “fresh” organic vinegar with the mother. Use the first bottle to half, add acv to it and move to the back of the shelf. Open second bottle, use to half full, then refill. Rotate bottles. That way you can have one bottle fermenting while using the second bottle. Yes, takes 2 bottles to start and a little more shelf space, but this is how I plan to incorporate your AMAZING tip in my kitchen!

  9. Barbara Leeson says

    I saw an article about this and vinegar eels were mentioned. Haven’t been able to find original article. Do you have any info on this subject?

  10. Darlene says

    So if I do this, do I have to wait a certain amount of time after adding the vinegar for it to all be raw vinegar? Or am I just ready to go?

  11. Laurie Campbell says

    so you can use apple cider vinegar – but you use vinegar ? like white distilled or pickling vinegar? That part confuses me…sorry! lol

    • Laurie Campbell says

      disregard my question! didnt see all the other posts until I posted mine, then they came up. I see that you have already answered it!

  12. Laura Sheridan says

    Awesome! I have a big jug of ACV in my pantry, but it does not have the mother. I was trying to figure out what I could use it for. Now I know! This will definitely be a budget saver! Thank you!

  13. Darlene says

    Adding processed vinegar to raw vinegar doesn’t make it “everlasting.” That would be like adding water to your gallon of milk and calling that “everlasting milk”. Raw vinegar is simple enough to make and then you have the cost-effective, real thing. Processed vinegar doesn’t have the sugars necessary for the fermentation process that creates the mother. Those sugars come from the actual fruit: apples, real raw apple juice, peaches, pears, etc. The brown stuff on the bottom of a bottle of raw ACV with the mother is the dead (not harmful) bacteria that were used up in the fermentation process. The mother is the spongy-whitish thing that grows on the top of the vinegar. I’ve never seen an actual “mother” in a bottle of store-bought raw ACV. I’m sure those are filtered out for appearances-sake.

    • says

      It would be more like adding storebought milk to raw milk to get it cultured, which I do think would be possible. :) Or like adding more milk to a yogurt culture to make more yogurt. Culturing is fun because you can share the benefits with other foods that may not have been super healthy to start with.

      Darlene, I’d love to hear any tips you have- are you saying that you’d get better results with using apple cider instead? Or are you saying that there is no beneficial living bacteria in the raw vinegar to culture additional vinegar? How does it live in the existing acidic environment if it has to have sugars to proliferate? My bottle didn’t have the disk on the bottom until I began to extend it this way over a year ago, so I just assumed it was working and that the bacteria were multiplying to create the disk I show in the post.

      • Keal says

        I can see that you do have a mother in there, however, in order for it to be actively working and growing it needs sugar- the fermentation process=converting sugar to acetic acid.

        You are correct that you can culture more yogurt from milk but that is because you are adding fresh sugars (lactose) for the bacteria to feed on. It is not an issue that the milk is pasteurized, because the sugars in the milk is the food for bacteria in the yogurt.

        That is why to culture apple cider vinegar, you need to feed your mother with sugar from apple cider and let the fermenting process take place and convert the sugar to acetic acid (vinegar).

        Your mother is probably dormant because you are not feeding it the sugars it needs, but you could try it in a new jar with apple cider or apple juice and see if it wakes up and starts fermenting. Or you could start fresh with a new bottle of braggs and grow a new mother. It is quite easy and I am sure you know of many sites that go over the process and there are many free e-books around on home fermenting. As it stands, your bottle may look like active because the mother is in it, but all you are doing it refilling it, the vinegar in there now probably has little if any active bacteria. The bacterial mother needs sugar to feed upon and make fresh acetic acid (vinegar).

        I make kombucha tea on a continuous brew, so I have a big jar with a spigot and I draw off some fermented tea in a second bottle and replace it with sweet tea to feed the mother. If you use a lot of ACV, than I don’t see why you couldn’t use this method. You may also want to try using frozen apple concentrate+distilled water instead of expensive store-bought cider. I don’t know for sure about this, just throwing it out if you want to experiment!

        Good luck and take care!

  14. Liz says

    No. Raw apple cider vinegar is by definition unpasteurized. You cannot in any way take pasteurized vinegar and turn it into raw vinegar. Also, apple cider vinegar is also by definition made from apple cider. The cider ferments and creates alcohol, which is then turned into vinegar by a type of bacteria.

    • says

      When making yogurt, you pasteurize the milk first to give the new yogurt bacteria a clean slate to populate the milk. I don’t see why adding pasteurized vinegar would be any different than pasteurizing milk for yogurt. Can you explain why that would be bad?

  15. Deanna says

    But you should be shaking the Raw Unfiltered ACV before each use to stir up these enzymes to ensure you ingest them. That’s the incredible benefit of and the reason for the price increase of organic raw ACV, right? Do these beneficial enzymes multiply in the freshly added filter ACV then?

    • says

      My understanding is that enzymes are non-living byproducts of bacteria that convert or change the specific substance that they are built to interact with. I think the benefit is the byproduct of what the enzymes produce. :) Our acidic stomach environment makes it difficult for enzymes or bacteria to pass through. So I am not as concerned about eating the enzymes. But I think people have different viewpoints on that, and you can certainly shake and enjoy the floaties if you’d like! It’s what the Braggs company recommends. :)

  16. Rachel says

    This information is absolutely incorrect and your above logic is scientifically flawed. I urge everyone to do their research about the process of vinegar making to fully understand why this claim is wrong.

    Raw apple cider vinegar starts out as apple cider, turns into alcohol, then when the correct bacteria is introduced turns into vinegar. In order for you claim to work, you would need to be introducing alcohol into your vinegar. It’s the alcohol that feeds the bacteria.

    The store bought, pasteurized “apple cider vinegar” most likely didn’t even start out as apple cider. It in no way has the same chemical make up as raw apple cider vinegar. It is a chemically made, cheap version of acv.

    All that you are doing is diluting your beautiful raw acv. Please, do some research before making claims. It appears that you aren’t knowledgeable about the scientific process of fermentation.

    You may be making something, but it certainly is not raw apple cider vinegar.

    • says

      Hi Rachel,
      I bought the kind that started out as real apple cider. Thanks for sharing your concerns. I’d love it if you could offer some input on what I could do to make this a more effective process- are you saying that the bacteria is not able to reproduce in the store-bought vinegar? If so, why am I seeing the effects of a growing floating scoby on the bottom after starting the process?

      I’m an experiment girl, and I do love to research. I found some info here on starting a vinegar batch & it seems to look similar to what I’m doing: http://boulderlocavore.com/make-it-yourself-homemade-vinegar/ although she uses hard cider as her liquid.
      Fermentation is part science and part experiment- it has existed for thousands of years based on the principle of inoculating similar substances with beneficial bacteria. So I feel that this is a pretty safe thing to do.

      When making yogurt, you pasteurize the milk first to give the new yogurt bacteria a clean slate to populate the milk. I don’t see why adding pasteurized vinegar would be any different than pasteurizing milk for yogurt. Can you explain why that would be bad?

      It may not be the most effective or by the book approach but it’s certainly easy and I find it to be effective enough and safer as far as the acidity levels than playing with adding juice.

      • BMC says

        She uses hard cider as her liquid because you need alcohol to feed the mother, and the mother converts the alcohol into vinegar.

        Your process could work if you started with hard cider. But by starting with vinegar, you’re not giving the mother the food she needs to create her babies/vinegar.

        There are many kinds of pellicles (“mother” spongy things), so that’s not necessarily proof positive that your method is working.

        Basically, you need alcohol to make vinegar.

        Oh, and for info on “vinegar eels”, look up nematodes; they’re harmless, but kind of gross. Thankfully, I’ve never encountered them! :)

        • BMC says

          Oh, and that works for yogurt because the bacteria that make yogurt feed on lactose, which remains after heating the milk. Once alcohol has been converted to vinegar, well, there’s no more alcohol to convert into vinegar.

          What you’re doing isn’t like adding pasteurized milk to yogurt…it’s like adding pasteurized yogurt to live yogurt & hoping it “reactivates” the dead bacteria in the pasteurized yogurt. That can’t happen, although if there are any bits of lactose in the pasteurized yogurt, it might get converted.

          IF there’s any alcohol in your pasteurized vinegar, it might be getting converted, but it’s unlikely that any alcohol is in it, as I would think it would have to be listed on the label…

          • says

            Thanks for the explanation! You’re correct that what I would be doing would be similar to culturing pasteurized yogurt. I’m really not looking to ‘convert’ anything here, but to colonize it. It makes sense to me that if the bacteria can live in finished raw yogurt that they would have no problems living in pasteurized yogurt either.

        • says

          Thanks Brenda! I guess I need to state that clearly I’m not trying to “make” vinegar. I’m trying to culture pre-made vinegar with the acetic acid bacteria from the raw bottle. I guess I need to drag out my microscope and check on my bacteria colony to see if this is working. :)

  17. Kathryn Arnold says

    Hmm. When it comes to butter and ACV I do try to stay with organic. I was contemplating a post I saw about adding a bottle of Bragg’s to a container of organic apple juice (reconstituted frozen to avoid preservatives) to make ACV but it sounded tedious and time consuming (probably not but I need easy these days). I’m thinking I could keep a few of these bottles fermenting in my dark pantry closet with the added juice and rotate so I’m using the one with the most sugar eaten up. I know my water kefir turns to vinegar very quickly if not tended. Organic can mighty important when you’re already fighting toxins and health problems.

  18. Rachel says

    You cannot compare the yogurt making process to what you are doing. Yes, the milk has been pasteurized similar to the ACV that you are adding. However, the process of culturing these are completely different. Not to mention you are talking about introducing a natural product (milk) and a chemically adulterated product(past. AVC) to an existing culture.

    It seems that you think that the pasteurizedAVC and the braggs begins with the same process. It doesn’t. The pasteurized vinegar says Apple cider, but it is not fermented, it is chemically altered. There’s a huge difference. The reason why this doesn’t work is quite complex.

    Milk has lactose in it which feeds the bacteria that is in a yogurt culture. The process for yogurt making changes the lactose into lactic acid. It doesn’t matter whether the milk product is pasteurized or not.

    You are not introducing anything into your braggs that would feed the vinegar mother causing it to convert anything into the bacteria that you desire. The vinegar mother is what converts alcohol to vinegar. You may have something like looks like a vinegar mother, but I would caution you about what it actually is. Wild yeast and bacteria can make similar looking cultures that are NOT the same as a vinegar mother. Like I said, you’re making something, it’s just not raw ACV and scientifically, you shouldn’t be making this claim.

    You would be much better off making red wine vinegar which is a very easy process. I feel that you are misleading your readers and should read about how vinegar is made in order to understand the process.

    The article that you mentioned starts with real apple cider! That is the issue! You must use the base of apple cider to make true ACV. Adding finished vinegar is not the same.

    • says

      I realize I’m not ‘making’ vinegar in the process, because both products are already vinegar to start with. :) My hope was to culture pasteurized vinegar with the living acetic acid bacteria from the raw. It’s my understanding that is what is used in all vinegar production, but with pasteurization, the bacteria are wiped out.

  19. Sara McCoy says

    Adding vinegar to vinegar produces…gasp…..a blend of vinegar. Why not grab a gallon of organic apple juice, pitch some yeast, let that ferment to dry and then add 10% the total volume in RAW vinegar, allow access to oxygen, wait 4-6 months and you have great raw ACV.

  20. Donna-Rei Sellers says

    Thank you for sharing! How long does it take to become raw again? Do you leave it overnight?

    • says

      I’m about to update this: extending raw vinegar with a pasteurized store bought vinegar doesn’t produce a fully raw product, but IMO, it does culture the incoming vinegar. :) As far as timing, I’m not sure. I give it a few days before using it, and I use my vinegar pretty slowly. If you go through it quickly, maybe do a couple of bottles and swap them out to let the newly filled one sit for a week or so.

  21. Barbie says

    Im addicted to GGMS made with this vinager and 2T of fresh juice from ginger root ( I don’t like using ginger powder because it doesn’t disolve )

  22. Sheila says

    Do you cap it with original cap or put cheesecloth over it ? Have you ever made vinegar from apple peelings? If you use cheesecloth have you ever had a problem with gnats getting in it? My mother tried making some and had to end up throwing it out because of the gnats.

    • says

      I’ve not yet made vinegar from scratch. :) I put the regular cap back on. If you want to leave it open to the air, I’d put a tea towel think piece of cotton over it to let it breathe.

    • says

      Many people use it for health benefits and it’s considered a natural cultured food that provides healthy probiotics. There are lots of great articles and posts on this topic that you can search for on Google. :)

  23. says

    On a whim one time I added just apple juice diluted with water to our raw vinegar (it was half vinegar half new stuff) then waited a few weeks to use. Don’t know if that adds carbs, but it tasted like the real thing.

  24. Natalia says

    Hi, coming from THM boards and a subscriber to your blog for quite a while too! :) I think you might be interested to read what an experienced fermenter has to say about this. https://www.facebook.com/KillerPickles/posts/1047650858598385 This is where I wrote her and asked about this method, having looked into trying to grow raw ACV on my own a couple of months ago. I started the method of adding raw apple juice as I’ve seen in various places on the internet, and she answers that too (it’s unreliable and inferior) so I guess I’ll be starting over.

    Back to your method, the upshot according to that expert is that the vinegar bacteria need alcohol and not acid. If the bacteria do digest the acid in the added vinegar, it will turn into water. If they don’t, it will end up just diluting the raw ACV until it’s almost all pasteurized. If you’re trying to multiply the mother/bacteria, apparently it unfortunately won’t work. Please see the link for more detail. All the best!

    • Natalia says

      Forgot to add that at first she misunderstood my question and so the first few replies are about that (though still very interesting). There was a bit of simultaneous posting also. But the relevant info is in the last half of the thread.

      • Natalia says

        for some reason clicking on the direct link I gave, changes to taking you to the main page. Then you have to go down the left sidebar to see the link to where I ask the question. I don’t know why it does this!

    • says

      Hi Natalia,
      I had a mother form in it doing it this way, so I’m unsure why that would happen if there is no microbial action going on? I’m honestly not trying to argue at all, and I’m not technically making vinegar…my goal is to continue to have the previously pasteurized vinegar to get colonized by the flora in the raw.

      Thanks for sharing this, and for adding to the conversation!

      • Natalia says

        I see that Sarah has replied to your question on the FB thread just now. I’m also interested in why your mother grows so I butted into the conversation and asked too. Maybe she will have an answer soon. Thanks for your reply. :)

  25. Lisa LeBlanc says

    I am thrilled to read this. Could you add in the Heinz style apple cider vinegar and get the same results? Thanks for your time.

  26. Marcy Reed says

    A quick question…I made Fire Cider, and noticed as it’s sat in my fridge for several months that it has a great SCOBY disc at the bottom. Do you think this will taste super-spicy (Fire Cider made with peppers, horseradish, etc) or can I use this with ACV to start my own Everlasting Vinegar? Just curious–and thanks for your very helpful, economical recipes!

  27. Julia says

    Hi Gwen, I was encouraged by THM admin to ask your opinion on my ACV. I have the Braggs ACV and when it was half emptied I added Heinz ACV and the growth of the mother is a lot and odd looking. I posted a picture of it in the THM group and that is when they directed me to you. I do not know how to post a picture of it in this comment section though.

  28. Raquel says

    You’re a clever girl! They say that great minds think alike, well, I’ve done the replenishing with regular vinegar before and just did it to my bottle of Whitehouse Organic Raw Unfiltered ACV (yes, they have one at a lower price than Bragg’s!). This is my first bottle of that brand and it grew a really huge “patty” over time, which I never saw on my Bragg’s or another brand I used, btw. I decided to filter it a little because it looks “scary”(lol!) and every time I tried to pour some it tried to come out and it grossed me out, haha! Incidentally, it reminded me of when I “brewed” my own kombucha years ago from some of the mother a friend gave me, I just saw online that they call the patty “scoby”.

    An interesting happened to me with regular ACV, a month or two ago I bought a bottle of the house brand ACV at a Food Lion supermarket which was clear when I purchased it, but I soon noticed that it had a sediment that looked like the mother one usually gets with the raw unfiltred ACV. Over time it kept growing so I knew it somehow got “cultured”, so yeah, regular vinegar can indeed grow beneficial bacteria and I’m going to keep doing this as in the past I only did it to stretch the life of the raw ACV until I could get another bottle, so I’m glad you posted this because it’s confirmation that I can keep doing it all the time too.

  29. Karen says

    I see on the Bragg’s bottle it says to shake it up. You mention that you’ve seen a patty form when adding to make more. When shaking it up, the patty stays formed? I want to try this but am afraid of messing up my half bottle of the real thing.
    Will a response come to my email? I hope so because I just “found” this by accident and have no idea how to get back to check a response.
    Thank you,
    Karen Hirsch

    • says

      Hi Karen,
      I’m not sure why Braggs recommends shaking. I never shake my vinegar, because I don’t really like the floaties in my food and drinks. The culture in their product is not a probiotic, so there is no benefit to drinking the floaty bits, IMO. :) You could always pour off a bit into a small jar and experiment that way!

  30. Marilyn says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful money saving tip! I have been using ACV daily for almost 3 years. I’m seeing multiple health benefits from this habit and now I am excited to try this. You are my go-to for reliable information! Thanks

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