Making apricot vinegar

Reginald SmithMaking Vinegar16 Comments

Photo courtesy: Miguel Alan Córdova Silva

Most of my blog posts have been about making vinegar or its history. I am going to start adding some special recipes as well. Today’s special is apricot vinegar and all you need are dried apricots, sugar, brewery’s yeast, and raw vinegar with mother. It produces a good vinegar, particularly sweet if you do not let the alcoholic fermentation go dry and is a good additive for salad dressings, glazes, or even dips.

This is adopted from the apricot wine recipe here.


1 lbs dried apricots

1/4 lb sugar (white or brown)

1 pack of brewer’s yeast

8 oz of raw vinegar with mother

First make sure you use a vinegar safe vessel–only glass, stainless steel, wood, or food grade HDPE plastic. It needs to be at least 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) or adjust the recipe for a larger or smaller vessel. Clean it with dish soap and water and rinse. Then sanitize it by filling it with water and adding 1/2 tablespoon of bleach or another type of brewing santizer. Allow the sanitizer to sit for an hour and then empty and thoroughly rinse clean.

Dissolve sugar in 1 quart of water (tap or distilled, it doesn’t matter). Slightly mash the apricots. There is no need to puree or blend them, you just want to break the skin to make the sugars and flavors more rapidly diffuse out. Place the apricots in the vessel with the sugar water.

Prepare the brewer’s yeast by placing it in a separate cup of about 8 ounces of lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Then pour this into the vessel. Cover the vessel with a firmly attached piece or cheesecloth or a thin cloth like a thin rag. Make sure this cloth has been just washed or taken from a package and is clean.

Within a day or so you will get bubbling of alcoholic fermentation. This should continue for 1-2 weeks. Once fermentation is complete, add the 8 oz of raw vinegar with mother and replace the top cloth. Place in a warm area, preferably 75-85 F (25-30 C). After several weeks a mother of vinegar should develop on the top surface. Allow it to grow and leave undisturbed (if it falls it will regrow) for 2-4 months.  Usually the mother will stop growing when complete but you can also sample to taste and pH (at least below 3.5, below 3 is better) to see when it is ready. If you can measure acidity, the acidity needs to be at least 4%. Then place the vinegar in a sealed jar or bottle to stop fermentation and serve as you would like.



16 Comments on “Making apricot vinegar”

  1. Hi I have been experimenting with different fruit vinegars and have started a watermelon batch. I filtered off the juice and added a neutral spirit to get my ABV to about 6.5% then added a mother. Watermelon juice even when filtered separates into a clear liquid and then the very small watermelon solids gather at the bottom. Do you think these solids could be an issue during the process? I’m also wondering if it would better to siphon off the clear portion after it’s ready or if the watermelon solids would be beneficial. Any ideas?

    Not a lot of information on watermelon vinegar out there, but found out someone has a patent on the process. Pretty interesting.

    Love your site! The best!!

    1. Hi, this process should work. The watermelon solids will not cause issues. In fact they may provide the nutrients necessary for full fermentation. Once it is ready I would filter the solids out before bottling. There was an article on watermelon vinegar 100 years ago in the Vinegar Bulletin. Theirs was based on boiling the watermelon juice down to increase the sugar concentration and then fermenting to alcohol with yeast.

      Melon Vinegar Article Link here

    1. 1 packet of yeast can make up to 5 gallons so you can add a portion of a packet per the amount you are making.

  2. Hello Mr Smith. Which type of raw vinegar you are referring to? I have raw wine vinegar available. Also can it work without raw vinegar added? Thanks

    1. Raw wine vinegar works fine. You can try to let it work without mother using raw fermentation. The most important thing is to make sure the alcohol fermentation goes well (I would recommend using brewing yeast). Once it is alcohol it can sit nearly indefinitely without spoiling until it finally starts growing a mother though it may take a while.

  3. Do you think you could you make this with xylitol
    (a sugar substitute, it’s a sugar alcohol) instead of sugar? I’m happy to use sugar I’m just curious as I have most of the ingredients on hand but sugar.

    1. Hi, unfortunately that likely won’t work. The reason being is that yeast really can’t ferment xylitol to ethanol for the acetic acid bacteria to use. Yeast and bacteria can produce xylitol from the sugar xylose but that’s about it as far as I can find.

  4. I just started a batch of peach and a batch of black currant vinegar. After you pitch with yeast. Do you typically leave the fruit pieces in the liquid during just the first couple weeks of fermentation? Or do you strain out solids right before bottling? Thanks again! Your website has helped me so many times!!! I’m guessing you can do either way but is one way preferable over the other?

    1. Hi, I would leave the fruit in for only for about a week, that should be enough to extract most flavors and ferment. Especially for peach, it is good to add a bit of pectinase in the beginning before adding yeast (1 tsp per gallon 6-12 hours before adding yeast). This helps break down the peach and release more flavor. Then strain out the fruit and allow fermentation to continue to alcohol and then vinegar.

  5. Hello Mr. Smith, I’d like to make a mandarin orange vinegar and an Italian Prune vinegar (my tree gives off 100 pounds each year and vinegar would be a pretty cool way of using some of the prunes). What is your opinion of using the Apricot recipe and its technique for the orange vinegar and the prune vinegar? However instead of using 1 pound dried apricots, I would use 1 pound fresh cut up orange including the peel and then for the prune vinegar, one pound of fresh prunes (no pit). I like this recipe because you keep the fruit in the jar until you are bottling and it seems like others want the fruit to be removed once the alcohol phase is completed.

    By the way, I just got Kirsten Shockey’s new book on vinegar and she gives you a nice write up on page 19. Thank you very much.

    1. Hi, you can definitely use the method listed above. One thing you can do to enhance the flavor is add 1 tsp of pectinase enzyme 6-12 hours before adding yeast. This helps break the fruit down more and allow more flavor absorption. Also, if leaving the fruit in, make sure you keep it submerged until the alcohol phase is complete so that it doesn’t get mold on the surface.

  6. So this is my first attempt at making vinegar, I used a similar recipe except for the brewer’s yeast. I strained everything two days ago and put it in a jar. It smells like vinegar but tastes very sweet. I am not sure if it had any wine properties (taste or alcohol) because I have never had any kid of alcohol before.
    Do you suppose that it would still work without the yeast? My liquid is very dark and has some fine floaties in it.

    1. Hi, was there ever any bubbling? If you had any wild yeast fermentation you would still see bubbling though the alcohol fermentation may not be as rapid nor complete. My guess is there was slow wild yeast fermentation and then vinegar fermentation started so you have a weak vinegar since most of the sugar was not converted to alcohol and then acetic acid.

      Wild fermentation can work but it depends on getting the right yeast and having them ferment enough alcohol for the vinegar bacteria to use to make a stronger vinegar.

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