Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pineapple vinegar

For Christmas a friend sent us a pineapple in a box of assorted organic fruit. We enjoyed every bite of the fruit -- the pears were ripe and juicy, the apples crisp and tart. DS especially liked the dried mango and kiwi; he's ready to try drying our own in a couple of years when the kiwi vines are bearing. But I was eyeing the pineapple. We ate it in a mixed fruit cup but the parings went into a 1/2-gallon jar with a little sugar and water.I've wanted to make pineapple vinegar ever since I read of it six years ago in "Wild Fermentation: the flavor, nutrition and craft of live-culture foods" by Sandor Katz aka Sandorkraut. I waited all this time to try it because I only wanted to use an organic pineapple since I wanted to make it using the parings rather than the edible fruit. You know, part of the making-something-from-nothing or use-it-up mindset so prevalent around the ol' Walnut Spinney homestead.

We've been making other infused vinegars with fruits and herbs we grow and so know what they've (not) been sprayed with. But pineapples aren't easy to grow in this part of Virginia though I did see at least one pineapple in fruit at Edible Landscaping last fall. In their greenhouse, that is. And while I can find a selection of organic fruit at the local grocery, organic pineapple hasn't been available. Plus, there's the whole "how far did it have to travel"-thing that's been nagging at me the last few years. But, this pineapple, this was a gift! And I was very happy to be able to make use of every last bit of it, right down to the peel.

The sweet pineapple scent and flavor of the sample I tasted today when I decanted it into a bottle already have me thinking of how a cabbage slaw will taste if I use pineapple vinegar instead of my regular apple cider vinegar in the dressing. And I'm wondering if I could sub it for (some? all?) the lemon juice in the Apple-Carrot Salad from Simply in Season. And the next time I have fresh mung bean sprouts, I'm going to try making Outrageous Dressing with pineapple vinegar. Oh, and a chicken or pork marinade with pineapple vinegar? I think the possibilities are endless. Wish my flask of pineapple vinegar was bottomless...

Pineapple Vinegar

1/4 cup sugar
Peel and core of 1 pineapple
water *See Note
thin cotton kitchen towel or cheesecloth

Dissolve the sugar in 1 quart of water. Coarsely chop and add the pineapple peel. Cover with cheesecloth to keep fruit flies out, and leave to ferment in a dark spot at room temperature. I used a small glass plate and a small sealed jar of water set on top of the parings to keep them below the level of the liquid. (Same as I do when making pickles.) Otherwise, any peel that extends above the water may grow a bit of mold.

When you notice the liquid darkening, after about 1 week, strain out the pineapple peels and discard. (compost!)

Ferment the liquid 2 to 3 weeks more, stirring or shaking periodically, and the pineapple vinegar is ready to use.

*Note: You may also start with white vinegar instead of water. The vinegar will be ready after you discard the peels. (Too Hot Tamales does it this way.)

1 comment:

A Brush with Color said...

Good Lord that sounds good, Carolyn! You should write a book now with all your findings. Seriously! I hope you think about it...HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you! xo