How to Make a Pomegranate Vinegar Tincture


We're going to be doing lots of fun new things in coming posts around here, but before we get busy making products, we're going to get busy making one of the ingredients: a vinegar tincture.

And before we get busy making our tincture, let's chat briefly about the vinegar we'll be using today – coconut vinegar!

You: Lise, really? Oooh I'm intrigued!
Me: Cool, then let's take a brief look at this fab ingredient!

Is It Made From Coconuts? (hint: yes)

Coconut vinegar is - as the name suggests - made from coconut. The sap is fermented and then processed further until it ends up as vinegar. If you are curious to know more about the hows and whys of the process, check this article which shows both traditional and modern vinegar producing methods.

Just as vinegars are used as a condiment in Western countries (think fish & chips with vinegar, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to spice up a dish), coconut vinegar is a common condiment in many Asian countries.

When I wasn't able to find coconut vinegar at my local supermarket, I was happy to discover it could be ordered at a nearby shop. Living in a teeming metropolis as I do (insert small snicker because Copenhagen is about as teeming as teensy little Denmark gets), it wasn't too terribly long before I had my coconut vinegar in hand.

Why Coconut Vinegar

Because I have been researching and working with vinegars during most of this year, I was immediately interested when I heard a fellow formulator remark 'it doesn't smell quite as vinegary as normal vinegar does. There's a clear undertone of coconut'.

That made it a no-brainer. I had to get my hands on some.

When you're using vinegar in cosmetics, scent is everything.

And even though it was the scent that had my initial interest, it was also fun to discover coconut vinegar has a slightly lower acetic acid content than many other commonly used vinegars.

Although the acetic acid content of coconut vinegar will vary slightly depending on where and which production process is used,  on average it is around 4%. Most other common vinegars used for pickling and in foods have an acetic acid content of 4.5% - 5.0%.

It was interesting to discover coconut vinegar is not crystal clear. I would compare it to apple cider vinegar in both 'behavior and appearance'. There is a tendency to a slight cloudiness that I would describe as 'frosted white'. Not at all unappealing, but it does present some limitations as well.

Another fun fact: coconut vinegar has a natural content of farnesol.

About the Pomegranate Seeds

When making any vinegar infusion for use in cosmetics, keep the ingredients as basic and pure as possible. Use dried (preferably organic) seeds with nothing added – no preservatives, sugars, flavor enhancers or anything else.

These types of 'purist' products might only be available in specialty shops if you don't happen to have access to fresh seeds and own a dehydrator so you can dry your own.

If you want to use fresh seeds, you will have to take into account the additional water content of the seeds (read: you're going to have to do your own calculating and can't expect the following described method to necessarily give a successful result as it has been calculated for dried seeds).

So! Now that you have your ingredients in hand and are ready to go, here's what you need to make a modest-sized batch:

POMEGRANATE COCONUT VINEGAR

Ingredient Grams Ounces
Dried Pomegranate Seeds 50 1.76
Organic Coconut Vinegar 150 5.29

Method

  1. Weigh and place the dried seeds in a suitable (sanitized) container (glass or food-safe plastic) 
  2. Weigh and add the vinegar 
  3. Place a lid on the jar. Note: if you use a metal lid, place a protective layer between the contents and lid.
  4. Allow to infuse for 5-8 days at room temperature
  5. Strain
  6. Bottle and store cool


About Storage and Temperatures

Even though this is a self preserving tincture, it should in theory be sufficient to store it at room temperature. However, this is a big globe and room temperature varies widely around the planet.

My own tinctures are stored in my ingredients fridge which has a pretty steady temp of about 12º C / 53.6º F.

In my experience, this will extend the life of a vinegar tincture

Do Tell

Do you live in an area where coconut vinegar is easily available? How do you normally use it as a condiment?

More About Vinegars and Coconut Vinegar

Vinegar from Coconut Water (researchgate)
Vinegar (wikipedia)
Vinegars of the World, The History of Vinegar
The history of vinegar production and the use of coconut toddy as a raw material,  W.R.N Nathanael
Chemical composition of volatiles from coconut sap, ScienceDirect
How to Make Coconut Vinegar, Philippine Coconut Authority
Coconut Water Vinegar: New Alternative with Improved Processing Technique, Jrnl of Engineering Science and Technology
Functional Properties of Vinegar, Journal of Food Science
Chemical Composition Changes of Post Harvest Coconut Inflorescense sap during Natural Fermentation, African Journal of Biotechnology

What Does Vinegar Have to Do With Cosmetics (this blog)

Comments

Lucie Bryar said…
Loved reading about this, Lise! I'm curious how this will be used in cosmetics. Is it mostly for haircare? I'd love to make the tincture, but not sure what I would eventually use it for. Thanks!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Lucie - Stick around and I will reveal all! It's not just for haircare (although vinegar for haircare is a classic!) :)