How was Vinegar created?
Vinegar may seem simple, but there are actually different processes it must go through in order to become vinegar. To create vinegar you need to have an ethanol solution (also known as alcohol) or any other liquid that has sugar to begin with. Many types of ethanol solutions are created through a yeast fermentation. Raw materials that are used in the making of vinegar are fruit juices or any other solution that contains sugar to create the ehtanol, and bacteria (mostly acetobacter). Fruit juices have an adequate amount of yeast nutrients that will support yeast growth so fruit juices are commonly used and fermented by the yeast enzymes, which then turn the fruit juices into ethanol (alcohol). Once an ethanol substance is present, such as wine, a bacteria called acetobacter oxidizes ethanol to acetic acid (also known as vinegar) to create a product such as grape vinegar. This is the reason why a bottle of alcohol that isn't properly sealed turns into vinegar overtime due to the alcohol being infected by the acetobacter bacteria which further then oxidizes it to vinegar. During the making of vinegar, there are three known methods, which are The Orleans Method, The Tricking, Quick Process, and The Submerged Fermentation Method. Although those are the main methods known, vinegar could also be created differently depending on the time period taking place and the location.
Ethanol: systematic chemical name for ethyl alcohol
Oxidize: combine or become combined chemically with oxygen
Fermentation: the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.
Enzymes: A substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about specific biochemical bonds
Substance: a particular kind of matter with uniform properties
Substrate: the surface or material on or from which an organism lives, grows, or obtains its nourishment.
There are three well known methods of producing vinegar:
1. The Orleans Method
This is one of the older and slower methods of creating a high-quality vinegar. This method involves the fermenting of vinegar inside a cask that has holes drilled into it to allow oxygen inside. These holes also have screen filters that prevent insects and bugs from entering the cask which will disturb the production. Oxygen is necessary for the production of vinegar due to the fact that the bacteria that turns the solution into vinegar requires oxygen. To create the vinegar, alcoholic liquid is poured into the cask and then about 20% of fresh vinegar is poured into the cask to begin the fermentation process. Once the acetobacter bacteria oxidizes the acetic acid the vinegar is now finished. There is a plug on the cask to collect the finished vinegar, and also a tube to add more substances without destroying the film of vinegar bacteria.
2. The Trickling, Quick Process
Since the Orleans method is very slow, many have tried to increase production rate with newer methods. This method of producing vinegar involves spraying the alcoholic substrate in the top layer of the fermentation chamber where it is filled with materials that carry a slime made of acetic bacteria so that the bacteria could react with the substrate and create vinegar. Due to the heat that is made during the fermentation of vinegar, air is forced through the chamber to keep it cool. The vinegar is recirculated two-three times until the desired concentration of vinegar is achieved. Once the vinegar is achieved it is then collected from the collection chamber.
3. The Submerged Fermentation Method
This method is the newer, faster, and more efficient methods of creating vinegar. It is mainly used in industrial businesses where the needed equipment is present. In this method A high speed motor breaks down air that is brought down from a stainless steel tank into tiny bubbles and is forced into the solution of alcoholic liquid and the bacteria for even faster oxidization. The final steps are filtration and pasteurization of the vinegar to stop any more bacteria growth and enzyme actions. This process usually take one to two days to process which is why this method is mainly used by big industries.
Once vinegar is finished being produced, it is collected then bottled and labelled. Then it is ready to be sent out to be sold.