Muffins to Slim By by Em Elless – ISBN: 0985822422

  • Full Title: Muffins to Slim By: Fast Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Bread & Muffin Recipes to Mix and Microwave in a Mug (Volume 1)
  • Autor: Em Elless
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Publisher: MUFN Books; 1 edition
  • Publication Date: January 5, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985822422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985822422
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 1,37 Mb
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The Original Low Carb Minute Muffin Cookbook. If you or a loved one haven't allowed yourself bread for a long time, have had to wrap a hamburger in a lettuce leaf and dearly miss breakfast toast, these recipes will make your day. It's bread! We're actually eating bread, and it's more than okay, it's really good for us! 
From Sweet to Savory to Meals in a Muffin, dozens of single and double-serving mix-in-a-mug recipes – some as low as 0 net carbs – are quick to prepare and only moments away from fresh-baked and ready to enjoy: Stuffin' Muffins rich with sautéed onions and celery, buoyant sandwich and hot-dog buns, Banana Nut Bread or Strawberry Shortcake, warm and welcoming Pumpkin Pie, Ricotta Comfort or Red Velvet with cream cheese, Egg MmMuffin for breakfast, a Reuben Melt for lunch, for starters. And while you're dining, enjoy reading fun trivia and inspiring nutrition facts throughout the book. Muffins to Slim By is a gift for mind and body.


Editorial Reviews



A Bloody Valentine to the World of

Food and the People Who Cook

* * *


To Ottavia


1 Selling Out

2 The Happy Ending

3 The Rich Eat Differently Than You and Me

4 I Drink Alone

5 So You Wanna Be a Chef

6 Virtue

7 The Fear

8 Lust

9 Meat

10 Lower Education

11 I’m Dancing

12 “Go Ask Alice”

13 Heroes and Villains

14 Alan Richman Is a Douchebag

15 “I Lost on Top Chef“

16 “It’s Not You, It’s Me”

17 The Fury

18 My Aim Is True

19 The Fish-on-Monday Thing


About the Author



Still Here


About the Publisher


Selling Out

I was so supremely naive about so many things when I wrote Kitchen Confidential—my hatred for all things Food Network being just one of them. From my vantage point in a busy working kitchen, when I’d see Emeril and Bobby on the tube, they looked like creatures from another planet—bizarrely, artificially cheerful creatures in a candycolored galaxy in no way resembling my own. They were as far from my experience or understanding as Barney the purple dinosaur—or the saxophone stylings of Kenny G. The fact that people—strangers—seemed to love them, Emeril’s studio audience, for instance, clapping and hooting with every mention of gah-lic, only made me more hostile.

In my life, in my world, I took it as an article of faith that chefs were unlovable. That’s why we were chefs. We were basically … bad people—which is why we lived the way we did, this half-life of work followed by hanging out with others who lived the same life, followed by whatever slivers of emulated normal life we had left to us. Nobody loved us. Not really. How could they, after all? As chefs, we were proudly dysfunctional. We were misfits. We knew we were misfits, we sensed the empty parts of our souls, the missing parts of our personalities, and this was what had brought us to our profession, had made us what we were.

I despised their very likability, as it was a denial of the quality I’d always seen as our best and most distinguishing: our otherness.

Rachael Ray, predictably, symbolized everything I thought wrong—which is to say, incomprehensible to me—about the Brave New World of celebrity chefs, as she wasn’t even one of “us.” Back then, hearing that title applied to just anyone in an apron was particularly angering. It burned. (Still does a little.)

What a pitiable fool I was.

But my low opinion of the Food Network actually went back a little further in time. Back to when they were a relatively tiny, sad-sack start-up with studios on the upper floors of an office building on Sixth Avenue, a viewership of about eight people, and the production values of late-night public-access porn. Before Emeril and Bobby and Mario helped build them into a powerhouse international brand. (In those days, such luminaries of the dining scene as Donna Hanover [then Giuliani] and Alan Richman, Bill Boggs and Nina Griscom, would sit around in tiny, office-size rooms, barely enough room for the cameras, showing pre-recorded promo reels—the type of crap they show on the hotel channel when you turn on the tube at the Sheraton.) You know the stuff: happy “customers” awkwardly chawing on surf and turf, followed by “Chef Lou’s signature cheesecake … with a flavor that says ‘Oooh la-la!’” After which, Alan or Donna or Nina or Bill would take a few desultory bites from a sample of same—which had been actually FedExed from whatever resort or far-flung dung hole they were promoting that week.

I was invited on to cook salmon. I was working at Sullivan’s at the time, and flogging my firstborn (and already abandoned by its pub lisher) book, a crime novel called Bone in the Throat. I arrived to find a large and utterly septic central kitchen/prep area, its sinks heaped with dirty pots and pans, refrigerators jammed with plastic-wrapped mystery packages that no one would ever open. Every surface was covered with neglected food from on-camera demonstrations from who knows how long ago, a panorama of graying, oxidizing, and actively decaying food beset with fruit flies. The “chef” in charge of this facility stood around with one finger jammed up his nose to the knuckle, seemingly oblivious to the carnage around him. Cast and crew from the various productions would wander in from time to time and actually pick at this once-edible landfill and eat from it. Once in the studio, cooking on camera was invariably over a single electric burner, which stank of the encrusted spills left by previous victims. For my salmon demonstration, I recall, I had to scrub and wash my own grill pan, after retrieving it from the bottom of a sink as multilayered as the ruins of ancient Troy.

This unimpressive first encounter in no way made me actively “hate” the Food Network. It would be more accurate to say I
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stions contained in this book are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this book.

The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.



My grandma Lorraine, who always loves what I cook but also eats green Jell-O

And my three boys—Rich, Jack, and Hunter Dec—thank you all for enduring our endless edible conversations and still loving me along the way. I promise it will never end!

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.



Praise for What the Fork Are You Eating?

Title Page




Foreword by Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RDN, LDN



Top-Rated Terminators

CHAPTER 1 Chemical Preservatives

CHAPTER 2 Artificial Flavors and Enhancers

CHAPTER 3 Artificial Colors

CHAPTER 4 Artificial Sweeteners

CHAPTER 5 Sugar and Its Many Euphemisms

CHAPTER 6 Trans Fats (Hydrogenated Oils)

CHAPTER 7 Pesticides

CHAPTER 8 Antibiotics

CHAPTER 9 Hormones

CHAPTER 10 Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)


Pantry Rehab

CHAPTER 11 Food Labels 101

CHAPTER 12 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer Rehab

CHAPTER 13 Rehab Strategies: Out with the Bad, In with the Better


Supermarket Strategies

CHAPTER 14 Aisle-by-Aisle Actionables

CHAPTER 15 Strategies for Introducing New Nourishment (for Kids and Grown-ups)


Meal Rehab

CHAPTER 16 Balancing Your Plate

CHAPTER 17 Recipe Rehab


APPENDIX A The Who’s Who in Big Food and the Good Guys They “Ate”

APPENDIX B Common Food Brands and Recommended Alternatives

APPENDIX C Keeping It Fresh, Warding Off Waste

APPENDIX D The Practical Whole Foods Pantry

APPENDIX E Redeemable Resources





My dear friend and nutritional sounding board Stefanie Sacks is an impassioned food warrior—just listen to her wonderful public radio show, WPPB’s Stirring the Pot. She represents the yin and yang of healthy food advocacy—the love of delicious, nourishing food and the zeal for holding the food industry’s feet to the fire, blowing the whistle on the cheap sugar, fat, salt, and weird industrial chemicals getting poured into processed foods that dominate the supermarket. Now you, the reader, can make your voice heard with your fork.

I first met Stefanie almost twenty years ago when I was the director of nutrition at the Canyon Ranch spa in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. She had recently graduated from culinary school and was beginning her master’s degree in nutrition education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She sought me out, eager even then, because she recognized that we shared a common passion—we were both nutritionists (or, in her case, a budding nutritionist) who loved food and cooking. Back then, that combination wasn’t so easy to find!

Fast forward ten years, and I’m at the prestigious Integrative Healthcare Symposium in Manhattan listening to a presentation given by Stefanie and another cutting-edge nutritionist friend of mine, Mary Beth Augustine, MS, RDN, CDN. They emphasized the harms that the food component gluten, found in many grains and in so much of our food supply, could do to digestion and to overall health. This was before gluten had become a trendy nutritional hot-button issue. As someone who had once suffered from an undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten, I was impressed with their marshaling of the scientific evidence and the conviction they brought to their presentation. When Stefanie and I compared notes later on, we weren’t surprised to find that we’d both struggled with chronic unwellness in our earlier years. Like a lot of the most committed people in our field, we’d been to hell with our own health and we had found our way out by changing our diet. It’s that story that drives her passion to shar
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ty notwithstanding. People who exude generosity and kindness are said to have a sunny disposition, a heart made of gold, or a brightness to their person. It’s fascinating how nature mimics itself in a variety of manifestations, but I digress. My point is that our senses sense extremes, and we lean towards them for a reason. Although no research has proven without a doubt that these chemicals in and of themselves are responsible for curing disease, it is well documented that eating foods high in them are essential to long-term health.

Antioxidants are more of a molecule category since they have multiple types, including vitamins, enzymes and phytochemicals. They are generally at the forefront of all anti-ageing discussions, since they inhibit the oxidation, and ultimately destruction, of cells. The short story is that oxidation creates free radicals, which in turn damage and destroy cells; antioxidants put a stop to that. Just as with phytochemicals, there is no evidence to suggest that antioxidants alone can help fight diseases like cancer, and indeed some studies show excess supplementation to be harmful in certain situations. However, it is well known and documented that foods high in antioxidants do indeed help the fight against disease—even more reasons to avoid cherry-picking foods by specific benefits and instead build a foundation of health on variety and whole foods. Superfood drinks give us those combinations in spades.

This broad array of high-quality nutrients brings with it the key to fighting almost every ailment you can imagine. Indeed, these ailments most likely stem from foods low in nutrient density, so it stands to reason that changing your diet, or at the very least introducing better choices, is the first step to eliminating disease. I would be remiss not to mention stress and exercise as the other two key components, but there is no doubt that diet is a crucial step one. The introduction of superfoods to your diet can:

lower the risk of heart disease

help with eczema and psoriasis

regulate blood pressure

balance cholesterol

reduce bad bacterial growth

reduce or eliminate cancer cell growth

reduce viral growth

eliminate headaches

help with insomnia

reduce or eliminate bowel issues

Energy is another big bonus to consuming superfood drinks. They are brimming with nutrients and, if you add fruit (sugar), you can expect an eye-opening boost of energy akin to caffeine—without the jitters. This is the most palpable benefit of superfood drinks and, naturally, the one that informs folks they are actually working. The effect on your psyche should be apparent as well; since you know you are doing good by your body, your mind will reward you with a feeling of accomplishment that will manifest through your physical being in the form of clarity and increased energy. After all, the mind is the body.

Superfood drinks can also be the missing link to weight management, whether your goal is to increase or decrease. I will go into this topic further in The Diet chapter, but suffice to say that adding a superfood drink packed with protein can be a welcome addition to your post-workout routine for repairing and building muscle as well as a way to curb hunger and replace bad food choices when that hunger manifests. Feeding your body what it actually needs is a great way to eliminate or suppress cravings that cause overeating and ultimately unwanted weight gain.

A huge bonus for me was what it did for my indigestion woes. For many years, I suffered from mild heartburn and acid indigestion, and the thought of medication seemed to me a lazy way to avoid the problem with a pseudo-solution. Within weeks of adding superfood drinks—green smoothies, to be specific—my indigestion was nearly non-existent. Keeping with the routine of highly alkalising greens and the elimination of trigger foods in the rest of my diet, the problem went away entirely. Now, I can safely have the occasional pasta with red sauce, and my body is able to cope without a fistful of antacids.

With superfood drinks, it is quick and easy to combine high-quality macronutrients—carbs, fats and protein—into a complete, on-the-go meal. Our superfood ingredients are chosen specifically because they contain a larger amount of micronutrients—vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants—than most foods typically do. These ingredients really pack a punch.


First, let us remember that we are essentially discussing the merits of two incredibly beneficial and healthy ways of consuming vital nutrients. There are no losers here when either choice is a definite win for your body and mind. When in doubt, have a smoothie—it’s quicker, cheaper and more satiating. Now, let us discover the lesser of two goods, if you will.


This is the meeting of a substance, in this case our superfood drink ingredients, with oxygen. Why is oxidation an important factor to
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1 Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Lightly grease a 7 x 25 cm (2¾ x 10 inch) baking tin and line with baking paper, extending the paper over the two long sides for easy removal later.

2 Sift the flour, cocoa, ground ginger and spices into a large bowl. Add the fruit and almonds.

3 Heat the sugar, honey and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar melts and the mixture just comes to the boil. Pour onto the dry ingredients and mix well. Press the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35–40 minutes, or until just firm. Cool in the tin, then chill until firm. Cut into thin pieces.

Coconut macaroons


4 egg whites, lightly beaten

450 g (1 lb/2 cups) caster (superfine) sugar

1½ tablespoons liquid glucose

1½ teaspoons natural vanilla extract

175 g (6 oz/2 cups) desiccated coconut

125 g (4½ oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 Combine the egg whites, sugar and liquid glucose in a large heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is just warm. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, coconut and flour and stir to combine well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

2 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/ Gas 2). Line two baking trays with baking paper.

3 Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and, with wet hands, form into balls. Flatten the balls slightly and place them on the prepared trays, spacing them well apart to allow for spreading. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the macaroons are light golden, swapping the position of the trays halfway through cooking. Cool for 5 minutes on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4 Macaroons will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 8 weeks.

Brandy snap flowers


50 g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter

55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) soft brown sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup (light treacle)

1 teaspoon chicory essence (camp coffee)

½ teaspoon instant coffee powder

2 teaspoons brandy

40 g (1½ oz/1/3 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate, melted (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease two baking trays.

2 Place the butter, sugar, golden syrup, chicory essence, coffee and brandy in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and ginger.

3 Drop ¼ teaspoon of the mixture well apart onto the prepared trays (only cook a maximum of four biscuits per tray). Bake for 3–4 minutes, or until golden. Be careful not to allow the brandy snaps to burn. Leave for 1–2 minutes, then press into the base of muffin mini tins to curl the brandy snaps. Set aside.

4 If using the melted chocolate, drizzle the chocolate over the base of the biscuits and allow to set.

5 Brandy snaps will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 2–3 days.



325 g (11½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons honey

80 ml (2½ fl oz/1/3 cup) liquid glucose

80 ml (2½ fl oz/1/3 cup) water

1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

100 g (3½ oz/2/3 cup) chopped dark chocolate (optional)

1 Grease a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inch) baking tin and line with baking paper. Have ready a large metal bowl or saucepan, as the toffee will expand to triple in size when the bicarbonate of soda is added.

2 Place the sugar, honey, liquid glucose and water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium–high and boil the mixture without stirring, using a pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush down the side of the saucepan to remove any sugar crystals, until it reaches the hard-ball stage on a sugar (candy) thermometre (130°C/250°F) and turns light caramel in colour; this will take 7–8 minutes. Now working quickly, as you need to retain the heat for the bicarbonate of soda to aerate the toffee, pour the toffee into the large metal bowl, then immediately whisk in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will very quickly rise and will continue to colour with the heat. Pour it straight into the prepared tin. The mixture will continue to grow and expand at this stage. Roughly spread it out as best you can without disturbing the honeycomb too much, as this will disrupt the bubbling. Leave to cool for 20–30 minutes, or until set.

3 Cut the honeycomb into shards or rough squares. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, ensuring that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir frequently, until just melted and smooth. Dip the honeycomb pieces into the chocolate, or spread them out and drizzle the chocolate over the pieces at random. S
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e antiquarianism. As writers as diverse as Jared Diamond and Günter Grass have observed, food has played a huge role (and a curiously neglected one) in shaping the destinies of humanity—a fact that seems unlikely to change in an age of environmental degradation. Within this field spices occupy a special place. Notwithstanding the fact that they are, in nutritional terms, superfluous, the trade that carried them has been of fundamental importance to two of the greatest problems of global history: the origins of contact between Europe and the wider world and the eventual rise to dominance of the former—hence, in a nutshell, the academy’s interest. However, in the pages that follow I avoid the larger questions of cause and effect in favor of a more intimate, human focus. This book is written with a sense that history too often comes deodorized, and spices are a case in point. The astonishing, bewitching richness of their past has suffered from being too often corralled into economic or culinary divisions, the essential force of their attraction buried in a materialist morass of economic and political history. Narratives of galleons, pirates, and pioneers are more readable but, ultimately, no more explanatory of why that trade existed.

Insofar as I have a thesis, it is that spices played a more important part in people’s lives, and a more conspicuous and varied one, than we might be inclined to assume. As whimsical as the claim may seem, there is a deeper historical point. For in the final analysis the great historical developments associated with supplying Europe with spice sprang from a demand: from the senses, hearts, and breasts of mankind; from the shadowy realms of taste and belief. In people’s emotions, feelings, impressions, and attitudes toward spices all the great, spice-inspired events and dramas, all the wars, voyages, heroism, savagery, and futility had their elusive germination. The very existence of the spice trade, Columbus’s voyages in search of the phantom spices of the Americas, archaeologists’ discovery of four-thousand-year-old cloves in the Syrian desert—these are events that can be endlessly speculated upon by historians and archaeologists with ever greater elaboration and sophistication. Yet it is easy to overlook the question from which the others derive: why the trade existed in the first place. It all sprang fromdesire.

Very obviously, a subject as ephemeral as this demands flexibility from reader and writer alike. The story of spice consists of a thousand unruly, aromatic skeins of history, and several years spent trying to untangle them has taught me that they refuse to be neatly woven into the straighter, clearer-cut threads that historians conventionally spin across time and space. In lieu of a narrative, I have tried to isolate such traditions as can be drawn out from the huge rattlebag of facts thrown up by such a diffuse topic, to tease out the more important continuities of spices’ past and follow them down through time. The result bears a resemblance to polyphony, albeit without the satisfying resolution.

The book begins with a brief discussion of what historians have called the Spice Race, the crowded decades at the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth, when Europe poured quite extraordinary energies into the search for spice. The following chapters consider the chief hallmarks of the appetite that drove that search, under the headings of cuisine, sex, medicine, magic, and distaste: palate, body, and spirit. An epilogue touches on some of the reasons behind spices’ fall from grace, how it was they ceased to be so esteemed, downgraded to the mildly exotic foodstuffs they are today. These are broad horizons, with scant regard for conventional or chronological arrangement, yet I would argue that the merits of the thematic approach outweigh the drawbacks. Medieval and occasionally even modern authorities looked back centuries or even millennia for precedents and justification of their own use of spices; indeed, one of my concerns is to show the extent to which these traditions have survived since remotest antiquity. This is not to suggest that a set of beliefs pertaining to spice survived intact from beginning to end. But I would argue that spices have their traditions, reverberating with echoes and recollections; that the apparently straightforward act of eating them has been more laden with historical baggage than we might at first assume.

There are other advantages in flitting across time and space. If the narrative wanders from one time and place to another, this is exactly what spices themselves have always done, cropping up in defiance of the received wisdom, in places where, by rights, they should never have been. The drawback, of course, is that any one of these themes could warrant several books of its own, and since day two I have felt overwhelmed by the embarrassment of riches. The problem has no easy solution other than a br
I’ll taste a spoonful against a 6 percent control and gauge the ABV. If it tastes weak, I’ll add a tablespoon of sugar to give the yeast more food to metabolize into alcohol. Typically, about a month into the ferment, this solution is somewhere near an ABV of 6 percent. At this point, I wait and watch again, tasting every other week, until I see a mother of vinegar (a gooey-looking cellulose film that helps turn alcohol into acetic acid and, thus, vinegar) develop on the surface of the ferment. Once this happens, I know that the alcohol that I made has started its second stage of fermentation and begun its transformation into vinegar. Once the mother of vinegar has formed, most of the yeasts that started the alcoholic fermentation will die off and settle to the bottom of the vessel. Any sugars not eaten by the yeast will convert into alcohol and stay around. This can work to your advantage if you want a sweet vinegar like balsamic. I like my apple scrap vinegar to have a hint of sweetness, as it really brings out the fruity flavors of the apples.


Making vinegar takes time and requires you to be patient. The trade-off is that you really need to invest only a few minutes of actual work into the whole process. The microbes we rely on to ferment the vinegar are the ones that do all the hard work. You just need to make sure you keep them happy.


I stated before that even though bacteria are very different from us, they are still living organisms. That being the case, they have, generally speaking, the same basic needs and wants as we do. They want to be in a safe and comfortable environment within which they can go about their business in peace. Just like us, they need oxygen, prefer moderate temperatures in the 70° to 90°F range, and don’t like prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. If you meet these needs, they’ll work tirelessly around the clock to provide you with the best vinegar you’ve ever had.


If you can dream of a type of vinegar, then you can make it. I’ve made vinegar from ingredients as unusual as stinging nettles and prosciutto stock (see this page) to something as mundane as red wine (see this page). I’ve even gotten bottles of dandelion wine from friends and random unlabeled spirits from estate sales that I’ve fermented into vinegar. As long as there is alcohol present, or the ability to ferment something into alcohol, then you can transform anything into vinegar. Experiment and don’t be heartbroken if something doesn’t work out.

Now that you know how vinegar is made, it’s time to stock up on the items that’ll actually produce the sour stuff. It’s a short list but these instruments are absolutely necessary to have on hand, as they’ll help you make the vinegars that are eventually utilized in every recipe in this book. And here’s the good news—everything listed is either extremely inexpensive and easily sourced from Amazon of free by picking through your recycling.

Bottle with a Tight-Fitting Lid You can use an old wine bottle, a clasp-top bottle, an old beer bottle, or similar to age and store your finished vinegar.

Cheesecloth This material will keep flies and debris out.

Glass and Food-Grade Containers I’ve used everything from glass mason jars to five-gallon plastic buckets for fermenting vinegar. Wooden and stainless-steel barrels also work well. Basically, any vessel made out of a material that isn’t too porous or reactive will work (reactive materials include cast iron, unlined copper, and aluminum).

Mother While we encourage involving your mom in the process of making vinegar (be a sweetheart for once), this piece of equipment is in reference to the most important thing you’ll need. The mother is a disklike, gelatinous shape that will float on the surface of the vinegar. It occurs when the Acetobacter form a cellulose raft where they can live. The mother will pick up a color that’s reflective of the vinegar that it’s growing on, so a red-wine vinegar mother will be red or purple. Mothers can die (but hopefully not your human mother any time soon), so it’s important to continually make vinegar to keep yours alive. There are two distinct ways to procure a mother.

Grow a vinegar mother: To make a vinegar mother from scratch, simply put some alcohol (6 to 12 percent ABV) in a 1-quart widemouthed mason jar, cover it with cheesecloth, and let it sit until you see a jellylike disk—the mother—floating on the surface. Once you’ve produced a mother, pour the contents of the jar into your base liquid (your wine, beer, cider, or other alcohol). From here, your mother will continue to grow indefinitely as long as there is alcohol for it to consume. If you need to take a break from vinegar making, store your mother in a closed jar, making sure to open the jar and leave it uncovered at room temperature for a couple of h


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