1 pineapple cubed into 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch chunks, skin on.
 
8 cups distilled or boiled water.
 
2 cup light brown sugar.
 
4 whole cloves
 
2-3 habaneros, sliced lengthwise to open interior of the fruit.

pineapple habanero vinegar

baby red pepper co. 2/7/16
In addition to my first vinegar ferment, this is the recipe that yeilded my vinegar mother. I'm in the third pitch at the moment, so this is very much a work in progress. Ultimately, I'm hoping to be producing this is in several 5 gl. fermenters. This vinegar is that good.  
 
This recipe is an adaptation of Grandma's Raw Pineapple from the wonderful Fermented food lab site.  Danielle doesnt use chiles, but well... that's how we roll. I've also doubled the recipe. Danielle deserves a much wider audience, you can follow her on Twitter @fermentfoodlab. 
 
This is a two stage ferment, first converting sugar to alcohol via yeast metabolism, and then the alcohol via acetobacers to acetic acid.
 
I have only used habaneros so far, but fataliis are on the agenda along with less fruity peppers such as the aji amarillo or aji cita.
 
 
  1. Cut the pineapple into 1 1/2 to 2 inch chunks, leaving the skin on.
  2. Mix the brown sugar with 8 cups of water. Vigorously stir to dissolve sugar and aerate the water.
  3. Add the pineapple and sugar water to  a very large bale wire jar or gallon mason jar.
  4. Add your spices
  5. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheese cloth and rubberband sroudn the rim.
  6. Store in a dark panty. 70-72F is the sweet spot.
  7. Every second day, remove the cheese cloth and skim any mold that has formed off the top. Aerate the mixture thoroughly. The bacteria need ample oxygen for this fermentation to proceed at pace.
  8. Begin to taste the ferment after 3 weeks, allowing up to 6 for it to hit the right balance of acitidty.
 
Bottling your vinegar
 
To bottle, rack the vinegar off the mother and through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve or through coffee filters. You want as clear a vinegar as possible. The mother should be transferred into a new sterilized jar and fed with wine or separating out pieces to start a new ferment, adding half an ounce of vodka (to supercharge the acetobacter). You can store in a 500ml to 1 L bale wire bottle in your refrigerator for up to two months or bottle sterilize if you want to keep it longer. 
 
To bottle, prepare 500ml bale wire bottles by first removing the hardware and sterilizing the bottle in the dishwasher, a microwave baby bottle sterilizer bag ( yes, these do exist and are wonderful for small bottle sterilization) or a pot of boiling water. Sterilize the hardware and rubbers by pouring boiling water over and holding the temp at 190 degrees for 20 minutes.
 
At this point you have an opportunity to adjust your vinegar's balance... if it is too strong, feel free to add boiled or distilled water to dilute a bit. Next, heat the vinegar in a tightly lidded non-reactive pot to 150 F and hold for 10 minutes. This step is to kill the acetobacter and halt fermentation. Pour the vinegar into bottles and afix your hardware, sealing the bottles. Pasteruize at 150 F for 30 min in a waterbath canner. The theme here is to invest in an accurate thermometer. I buy mine from home brew stores.
 
The Penn State University Extension Service has an excellent discussion of canning techniques, including pasteruization of vinegars.
 
Store your sealed bottles at 50-60 F for up to a year. Esters will begin to develop after 6-8 months and your vinegar will mellow tremendously.