I decanted last fall’s vinegar crop over the weekend, and it was a good one. Three kinds, all fully fermented and super sour: straight cider, made from biodynamic apples, cider macerated with sumac for a few days and then strained, and blackcurrant. Half a gallon of each should last us a while. The cloudier bottle of cider was from the bottom of the jar; it has settled now and is quite clear.
The sumac is really something: extremely tart, and with that lovely citrusy sumac flavor intertwined with the apple. I strip all the fuzzy goodness off the panicles every fall and pack them in a blender with the cider, blast it for a few minutes, leave the mixture to sit overnight, then strain it into a jar for fermenting. It couldn’t be easier, and sumac is free on the side of the road all over the place.
Meantime, there’s more blackcurrant going, and a gallon of maple, and I’m about to dilute the spruce-infused vodka (most of it, anyway) and add some mother to send it on its way toward tart perfection. These new ones should be ready by the end of the year, by which point the 2013 batches of cider, sumac, etc. will already be two months along. See how it works? The gratification is only delayed until you’ve been doing it for a year. Then there’s always something new coming online as you use up the last of something else.