For the latest in this series of recipes for products we normally wouldn’t make today, I thought I’d take a look at vinegar. A versatile liquid, vinegar was used for preserving, in medicines and for cleaning, as well as for disguising smells and preventing fainting. Here is a selection of simpler recipes, although some of them would have taken a long time to make.
To make Excellent Venigar:
Take 40 pds of Maligo [Malaga] raisins stalks & all, washing them thorow a haire cive [through a hair seive], so putt them in a litle barrell that you intend to keep it in, & putt to them 16 gallons of spring water, fasten a cloth on the bung-hole, with some clay to keep out the dust, lay a tile also upon it, sett the vessell in your garden in the Sun in May, so lett it stand 3 months, every 3 weekes looking to it, and if it have soaked the water up, fill it up again; and when it is sharp enough, bung it up. the first month it is good wine, this venigar will keepe a good while, the better for being old, & it is very cheap. (Wellcome Library, MS.4054)
To make Water Vinegar:
To every pound of coarse Sugar, 1 Gallon of Water, boil it an hour, skimming it continually, when cool put in a toast spread with yeast, & work it 48 hours, then tun it [put it in a cask], & set it in the sun & when sour draw it off into Bottles. (Wellcome Library, MS.144)
To Make Vinegar:
Take strong Ale brewed in March, put it in a new and strong vessel, and set it in the Sun where it hath most force, cover the bung hole with a Tile and so let it stand till Damask Roses and Elder Flowers blow, then take a peck of Each and heat them a little till they be moist, so put them hot into the vessel and cover it again with the Tile and let it stand till the heat of the Sun be over, then stop it close and remove it into your Cellar. (Wellcome Library, MS.1340)