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A fragrant flavour kick

When we harvest our yuzu in the early winter we use some of the fruit whole—cut up and distilled for essential oil—and some we carefully peel to harvest and dry the zest (with as little pith as possible attached). The fragrant peel can be used in so many ways—infused in oils, in spirits and gin blends, teas, cocktails and cooking.

What to do with the peeled fruit that’s left over? We can freeze the naked fruit for that moment when we may just need a tart, bitter, fragrant juice—like making ponzu sauce or for a yuzu sherbet. And, of course we make yuzu vinegar.

Give it a go, vinegars are easy to make, and with very little effort on your part you’ll have an incredibly fragrant flavour booster. The yuzu hydrosol in this recipe is optional, but is great if you have it, as it adds a little more depth and complexity.

Yuzu vinegar ingredients
6 medium-sized, peeled yuzu
100 ml yuzu hydrosol (optional)
900 ml of filtered water (or 1L if not using the hydrosol)
100 g raw sugar

Put all the ingredients in a clean, open-necked glass jar and cover with a cotton or muslin cloth. It’s important the vinegar can breathe, so the cloth is just to stop any particles falling into the jar and prevent the fruit flies from having a swim.

Try to agitate the mixture every day—we use a glass stirring rod but a chopstick will do just fine.

Keep the stirring up for about 7–10 days. You will start to notice it bubbling which is a good sign—it’s becoming a living entity. Bacteria and yeast that are in the air and on fruit are eating the sugars, making small amounts of alcohol that over time will become acetic acid—which we know as vinegar.

Strain the mix and discard the fruit. Try tasting the fruit—it may be super tangy and tasty and be great in another sauce or syrup.

Pour the strained liquid back into your jar and cover with cloth again. Stir from time to time. After a few weeks you will be able to tell that it’s turned into vinegar—it now has that typical vinegar taste, but with a wonderful yuzu twist.

It’s at this stage that you’ll also notice a pale gelatinous disc forming on the top of your vinegar. It’s called a ‘mother’ so be sure to give her a gracious welcome. Mothers are composed of a form of cellulose and beneficial bacteria that aids the conversion of alcohol into acetic acid.

Let the vinegar and mother sit together for a while. When you want to use the vinegar, just carefully strain the mother out and keep her (being sure to keep enough vinegar for her to bathe in). You can add her to the next batch of vinegar to jump start the process.

Use your yuzu vinegar however you like—be led by it’s taste and fragrance, and what it inspires.

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