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May 28, 2009 10:54 AM

I have a mother.

I was making a vinaigrette last evening and I noticed something floating in the bottle of red wine vinegar and on closer inspection I realized that my commercial vinegar had developed a mother. My grandparents made their own vinegar so they always had a mother, but this is the first time that I have ever seen a commercial red wine vinegar develop a mother culture in the bottle. I plan to refill the bottle with an inexpensive red wine and attempt to keep it going.

I am wondering if this has ever happened to anyone else?

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  1. This has happened with organic red wine vinegar before, but I haven't ever done anything with it. What was the brand of vinegar you used? I think I had Horizon organic, but I'm not sure. It freaked out my SO and he thought it had turned bad.

    1 Reply
    1. I've seen things floating in Pompeiin red wine vinegar before, but I thought it was just gunk and the vinegar had spoiled. How can you tell that what you are seeing is good stuff?

      2 Replies
      1. re: RGC1982

        Vinegar doesn't spoil, it's already spoiled. The mother looks like a gelatinous mass.

        1. re: RGC1982

          It looks like a gelatinous disk that can either be on the surface or resting on the bottom of all of the vinegar has been converted.

        2. I'd toss it and buy a new bottle. No point risking getting sick for a bottle of vinegar.

          This says you can filter it out with a coffee filter:

          But again for the price I would just ditch it and buy new.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Crispy skin

            It's totally benign, or we all would have died eons ago. Yeah, my bottle of cheap store-brand red wine vinegar from Fresh & Easy is scumming up, probably due to the weather. If I don't tell anyone we'll be OK...

            1. re: Crispy skin

              You sound like my kind of neurotic cook. I still say vinegar can spoil. Why else would they put expiration dates on the cheaper vinegars like Pompeiian?

              1. re: RGC1982

                Why else would they put expiration dates on the cheaper vinegars like Pompeiian?
                Because when people get skeeved out over a "skin" on their vinegar, they throw it out and buy another one? In addition to those people who are beyond over-protective and use an expiration date/sell by/use by as a date to throw things out, regardless of whether the item is still good or not.

                1. re: RGC1982

                  They also put expiration dates on honey, despite the fact that honey never spoils. (Still-edible honey has been found in pharoahs' tombs.) But the dates help sell more honey!

                  1. re: RGC1982

                    And also, vinegar that hasn't been stored all that carefully can lose a fair bit of flavour over time.

                    But there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a mother. Mothers are a good thing!

                2. I've seen it sometimes when I get towards the end of a bottle - I just use up the vinegar and toss, but I like the idea of trying to keep it going next ime.

                  1. Upon reading this, it reminded me of a seemingly inconsequential TEXAS board post concerning using bad wine to make vinegar. I searched it, found it and ultimately, arrived at the following site (pointing to yet another site) which may (or may not) be of benefit to you, should you pursue vinegar making.


                    FWIW - I have no affiliation with above site.