The juice is left to ferment and turn the fruit sugar into alcohol. Once fermentation is completed, expose the liquid to the air which will permit acid making bacteria to convert the alcohol to vinegar. This process can be speeded by adding half a cup of organic vinegar to the liquid.
Whilst the process is taking place a cheesecloth over the container to keep out insects or dirt. The liquid needs to be kept at between 15c and 25c and stirred daily during fermentation which takes between 3-4 weeks.
Your vinegar is ready when it smells and tastes like vinegar. Once fermentation is complete, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth several times to remove any remaining yeast and stop the fermentation process. To permit long term storage your vinegar must be pasteurised by heating to 75c, use a cooking thermometer to determine the temperature, for about 10 minutes. Pour your vinegar whilst still hot into sterilised glass bottles and store out of direct sunlight in a cool area.
If your vinegar tastes too strong it can be diluted with water.
Once you have a batch of vinegar the number of uses are many. Listed are ten of our gardening favourites.
1. Use full strength vinegar to kill weeds and grass on paths and other hard to reach areas.
2. Deter ants by spaying vinegar on their trails or ant hills.
3. Soothe bee or other bites by rubbing vinegar on affected areas.
4. Cleans any bugs off of freshly picked vegetables by adding vinegar and salt to a bowl of water.
5. Use diluted vinegar to clean glass.
6. Get rid of any rust on garden tools by soaking overnight in vinegar.
7. Remove any vegetable or fruit stains on your hands by rubbing with vinegar
8. Drown fruit flies by placing a cup of vinegar in a jar (see image) and add a couple of drops of washing-up liquid.
9. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar to cut flowers in a vase to help preserve them for longer.
10. Kill slugs by spraying with vinegar
11. Kill snails squirting with a solution of half vinegar and half water.
12. Make your own organic weedkiller http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/make-your-own-organic-weedkiller.html