Vinagre de Piña
(Central American pineapple vinegar)
Homemade fruit vinegars are popular throughout Central America, and vinagre de piña is a favorite. The trimmings of a pineapple are mixed with piloncillo and water and set aside to ferment for a few weeks or even months.
The resulting vinegar is light, fruity and perfect for vinaigrettes, in salads like curtido, or for making cebollas encurtidas.
After the vinegar is strained and stored, it may eventually develop a gelatinous mass that either sits at the bottom or floats at the top. This is called the "mother" of the vinegar (madre de vinagre), and it is harmless. If you start a new batch of vinegar, make sure to include some of the "mother" from the old batch to keep help it develop.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
- Peelings and trimmings of 1 pineapple, chopped
- Piloncillo or dark brown sugar -- 3/4 cup
- Water -- 1 1/2 quarts
- Clean a large glass container with hot, soapy water and rinse it out well. Add the pineapple trimmings, piloncillo or brown sugar and water and stir with a clean spoon to dissolve the sugar.
- Cover the container with plastic wrap and a lid and set in a warm, dark place for about 4 to 6 weeks. The liquid will turn murky and brown at first. But as time passes, any solids will settle out and the liquid will clear.
- Once the liquid has cleared, strain the solids out of the vinegar by pouring it through several layers of cheesecloth or through a coffee filter. Store in a clean bottle away from light and in a cool place.
Vinagre de Piña Variations
- You can use the entire pineapple, including the fruit, if you like, but using just the trimmings works fine.