What Is Tomato Vinegar?

C.B. Fox

True tomato vinegar is made by fermenting the juice of tomatoes and allowing it to age. The process for making this type of vinegar is the same that is used to make more common vinegars such as wine or grain vinegar. Tomato vinegar has a strong tomato flavor that goes well with tomato-based dishes, such as tomato sauces. It is also possible to make tomato vinegar by adding fresh tomato juice to other vinegars, such as balsamic or red-wine vinegar, in order to make these vinegars taste like tomatoes.

Any type of tomato can be used to make vinegar.
Any type of tomato can be used to make vinegar.

The main ingredient in a true tomato vinegar is tomato juice. This juice is made by removing the skins from tomatoes and then pressing the juice from the flesh. It is possible to use the juice straight or to cook it with water. Any type of tomatoes can be used to make vinegar and different varieties will make vinegars with slightly different flavors.

Tomato vinegar goes well with tomato-based dishes.
Tomato vinegar goes well with tomato-based dishes.

Once the juice is ready, yeast must be added to it. Yeast is a single-celled living organism that feeds on the sugar in the juice. As a waste product, yeast excretes alcohol. All vinegars are made by first transforming juice or mash into an alcoholic beverage. It takes a couple of weeks for the tomato juice to contain enough alcohol in it to transform it into vinegar.

Tomato vinegar can be used as a salad dressing.
Tomato vinegar can be used as a salad dressing.

After the tomato juice has been turned into tomato wine, it must be exposed to air so that the alcohol can be transformed into acetic acid. This process can be sped up by adding a mother of vinegar, which is a gelatinous substance that is filled with the type of bacteria that consumes alcohol and excretes acetic acid. All vinegars will naturally form their own mother as they are fermenting, making it easy to make a new batch of tomato vinegar from an old batch. While the tomato wine is being transformed into tomato vinegar, it should be kept warm, exposed to the air and, usually, covered with a cloth to keep it free of foreign material.

Tomato vinegar is ready after about a month. The mother of vinegar needs to be strained out completely so that the vinegar does not continue to sour. Once it is ready, the vinegar has a strong tomato flavor, similar to the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes. It can be added to pastas, soups, salad dressings, or meats to give these types of dishes a sour, tomato-like flavor.

Tomato vinegar is used in the creation of ketchup.
Tomato vinegar is used in the creation of ketchup.

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Discussion Comments


My mother in law makes tomato flavored vinegar. She doesn't use tomato juice, she uses whole cherry tomatoes. She taught me how to make it too, it's basically the same method as making pickled tomatoes. She puts lots of herbs in it like oregano and basil, so it's a very Italian recipe. It's a great holiday gift as well.


@fify-- I don't know if tomato vinegar helps promote weight, but it's very delicious. I use it when I make Korean food, but I buy the Korean kind.


I had never heard of tomato vinegar before last week. I've taken a sudden interest to it because a friend at work claims that it is helping her lose weight. Apparently, she adds tomato vinegar to meals like pasta and fish. She tries to consume some everyday. She lost three pounds in several weeks just by doing this.

She is just mixing tomato juice with vinegar, not making her own. I don't really want to do that because it sounds like it would be very hard on the stomach. I'm going to try to make my own tomato vinegar. I think it will be healthier and will also taste better.

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