How To: Preserve The Summer

How To: Preserve The Summer
One of the magical things that fermentation can do is stretch out the flavor of a fleeting season. While fall temperatures usually mean saying goodbye to summer fruits like plums, peaches, and melons, preserving their flavors is possible.

We may have to wait for next year to bite into an heirloom tomato with an anchovy on top, but making fruit vinegars is one way to hold onto summer for the seasons ahead — just in a different form.

Follow the steps below to start a fruit vinegar in your kitchen with only a few tools and some time to spare. Then you can decant your finished vinegar into a bottle dressed in a Gohar World Bottle Apron, of course.

Break your fruit into pieces, but no need to be too precious — keeping the pits and seeds. This week we’ve started concord grape, plum, cantaloupe melon, and fig leaf vinegars (each in separate jars).

Place each fruit into its jar and add about a cup of sugar per 90 oz. container. Now, add in a vinegar “mother” if you have it (the cellulose film that turns this mix into a tart, fruity vinegar) or a splash of another unfiltered, unpasteurized vinegar to get things going. Ask around! Maybe a friend has a mother to share, and if not, adding a splash of something like Tart or Bragg’s vinegar will do the trick and start the process just as well. Fill the rest of the jar with room temperature, filtered water.

Once your jar is full, cover it with the Gohar World Lace Basket Bonnet,
tie loosely, and leave to ferment. Taste your vinegar after three weeks have passed and if it’s not acidic enough, add some more sugar and leave for another few days. If it’s too tart, add some more fruit.

When it tastes right, strain, bottle, dress, and use it for anything from vinaigrettes, mignonettes, spritzes, and more!

Photography by Emma Leigh Macdonald