How to make persimmon vinegar

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gaijinfarmer
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How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by gaijinfarmer » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:01 pm

1. Put your reasonably clean, ripe bitter persimmons in a bucket.
2. Stir every other day or so.
3. Filter when it's ready.

Customers ask me every now and then how I do it, and I try to make it sound hard. But it's really that easy.

Don't wash your persimmons too much, and that nice white haze on the outside (microorganisms) will start the alcohol and then vinegar fermentation processes for you. If it's quite cold where you are, keeping the tank warm during alcohol fermentation would be your only worry. My tanks are huge (2x 500L, 1x100 or 200) so I just leave them in the garage. It may take a little longer but it will all become vinegar eventually.

Actually I had much better luck when I was using smaller tanks. I think the problem was the thoroughness of the mixing.

I have used some metal tools in various parts of the process, and it always reacts badly with the slurry. Food grade plastic, bamboo, and cedar is all I use now. So the mixers that are mounted to drills are out. In the future I will try to do smaller batches in the big tanks so I can mix thoroughly.

Mixing is necessary to smash the persimmons and also to aerate during the vinegar fermentation. The best vinegar I made was from the batch I stirred the most. I still haven't replicated that experiment but I may this year since I have plenty of stock left over :( and don't need to make a big batch.

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by Zasso Nouka » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:22 pm

A huge thank you for posting Gaijinfarmer,

I'm still trying to source bitter kaki but most folk around here seem to grow the eating ones, the kaki on our rented hatake are ripening nicely so maybe I could try it with those ?

It really does sound like you make quite a quantity, do you test for specific gravity or anything during the process or do you rely on intuition to know when the process has complete ? I don't have any bamboo implements but we do have a lot of bamboo growing in our forest so maybe able to fashion something from there. Do you sell the vinegar you make ?

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by gaijinfarmer » Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:00 pm

The alcohol and vinegar fermentations happen naturally, so once it's vinegar it's done. I would love to have a bunch of data on fermentation conditions and sugar/alcohol/vinegar concentrations, but I don't have the space or equipment to try that myself.

Sweet persimmons will run the risk of spoiling. It's the shibu in the shibugaki that prevent the mash from spoiling. If you use regular persimmons, you'll want to follow instructions for vinegar from fruit like apples or pineapples to avoid spoilage.

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by Zasso Nouka » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:42 am

If it works then there's no real reason to be testing and measuring, why complicate a simple process ? I had wondered if it was necessary or whether it was one of those things that just happens and you know when it's ready from experience, good to know it's the later as I like simple things.

Thank you for the info on kaki, still trying to locate so shibugaki, there must be someone around here that grows them.

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by paradoxbox » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:35 am

As a winemaker I found this quite interesting :) We have hundreds of kaki trees around here so I think I'll give this a go.

If you want to ensure there is no spoilage just use campden tablets (Sulphates) in your batches - it will stop bad yeast and bad bacteria from interfering with the ferment. But do try this in a test batch first as there is a chance that the sulphates could kill the bacteria/organisms that are making your vinegar.

The vinegar / acetic acid is actually created by acetic acid bacteria, not the white stuff on the kaki (which is natural yeast, like on grapes and apples and stuff) but that yeast does play an important part in the fermentation, it creates a lot of flavor before the acetic acid takes over the ferment.


I am a pretty ghetto winemaker doing my ferments in 1.5L pet bottles, where are you getting your large tanks from and how much do they cost?

I have looked into getting those IBC 1000L containers but they're always used, you never know what's been inside of them, I don't want to be putting my drinking water or my wine inside an IBC that used to hold diesel fuel or formaldehyde or something!

If you are looking for reliability in flavor, just keep a bunch of the settled yeast from the bottom of your favorite batch, and take a scoop of the acetic "mother" that pools on the top of the vinegar, and put it into your next batch of fresh kaki mush/water. It will take on the same flavor as the last one.
The reason your results are varying now is because the actual strains of bacteria and yeast doing the fermentation are changing every time you do your ferments. If you introduce the yeast and bacteria from a delicious vinegar/wine, and then cover the bucket / container with a balloon with a hole poked in it, or with a proper water airlock, you'll get the same product every time :)

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by gaijinfarmer » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:14 am

paradoxbox, awesome information, thanks.

Since alcohol and vinegar production both happen on natural timetables, does that mean that they are happening concurrently? Sugar->alcohol and alcohol->vinegar at the same time? Just checking.

I think the big difference when I did the huge batch was that not all the persimmons were totally ripe, so overall sugar content was lowered. This would explain why there was some bitterness left when the vinegar was finished I think.

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by Makichan » Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:17 pm

Hello Gaijinfarmer,

I think I might have missed the chance to try having a go this year but maybe next as one of my aunts has a few shibugaki trees and she said she will let me have as many as I like. I don't think I will be making as much as you do but it would be lovely to have enough vinegar to use through the year. Do you use it in the same way as ordinary vinegar ?

Thank you for posting

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by paradoxbox » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:05 pm

gaijinfarmer wrote:paradoxbox, awesome information, thanks.

Since alcohol and vinegar production both happen on natural timetables, does that mean that they are happening concurrently? Sugar->alcohol and alcohol->vinegar at the same time? Just checking.

I think the big difference when I did the huge batch was that not all the persimmons were totally ripe, so overall sugar content was lowered. This would explain why there was some bitterness left when the vinegar was finished I think.
Hey there.

Well, yes and no. I guess you could say alcohol is being produced by the yeast and at the same time the acetic acid bacteria that land in the bucket feed on the ethanol which produces the acetic acid/vinegar. So while I suppose it can happen concurrently, I think generally what happens is that first the sugars and starches in the kaki are converted to alcohol by the yeast, and then the acetic acid bacteria takes over and converts all of the alcohol into acetic acid.

This is one point where I had probably better research more, but it might be worth waiting for your primary ferment (of the kaki wine) to finish and THEN add the scoop of "mother of vinegar" to the wine, that would ensure success. This would also enable you to use sulphates more reliably to kill off undesirable yeast fermentation that could spoil the flavor.

Temperature is also really important, since certain yeasts will thrive at one temperature but completely hibernate once it gets below a certain temperature - this is another important point if you need consistency, a lot of people use heating belts or mats under their ferment buckets to ensure the temp stays the same all the time. For me with my hundreds of 1.5L pet bottles of ghetto wine made from 7-11 grape juice (Cheap and really delicious btw, 155 yen per liter, no additives (very important - aspartame will not convert to alcohol and will leave a nasty sweetness even after ferment) and the wine tastes a bit like Pinot Noir), I just keep the bottles in my bedroom where the temperature is always around 17-25c. Summertime they'll need to be moved to a north area of the house to keep the ferments from going out of control and creating unusual flavors.

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by gonbechan » Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:10 pm

Oh my goodness, 7-11 pinot noir.
I am impressed.

You will HAVE to do a step by step with photos How To Pinot Noir.
It will be epic.

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Re: How to make persimmon vinegar

Post by gaijinfarmer » Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:14 pm

Epic!! I'm very curious too. ;)

Makichan, its use may depend on its flavor. The first year I made it, it had a very delicious and light flavor. Awesome for drinking and maybe su-miso-ae, but a little light for other dishes.

Last year it was quite strong, so we use it in cooking and also add it to ume juice for a kick. It's OK to drink but a little strong.

One customer of a local store who drinks it regularly says it brought his blood sugar down. It supposedly has more good stuff than kuro-zu.

Unfortunately the strong flavor doesn't sell so well.