Workmanship throughout vinegar brewing
Vinegar brewing, a traditional craftsmanship with thousands of years of history in China, has in recent years seen more and more involvement from machinery and technology.
However, in some remote rural parts of the country, local brewers still stick to traditional, manual production methods.
45-year-old Jin Haibo owns a vinegar workshop, which adheres to traditional brewing methods, in Longde County, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
According to Jin, the best time to begin the brewing is around the Winter Solstice, which falls around December 22nd each year.
He says the vinegar brewed during Winter Solstice is of the best quality, and can be preserved for as long as a year.
"To ensure that the vinegar has a pleasant flavor, you have to use grains that are fresh and full of energy to brew it. I will try the most primitive technology to brew the vinegar, which dates back to 3000 years ago. That is, using only grains, without adding preservatives or any other additives," says Jin.
After the grains are boiled, homemade yeast will be added into it. And then the mixture will begin fermenting.
The next step is to extract the liquefied vinegar by adding boiled water and sifting the vinegar out of the fermented mixture.
Unlike other brewers, Jin always repeats the process three times rather than once only, so that the vinegar will have a pleasant texture and not easily spoil.
Since the texture is good, and no preservatives are added, Jin's products have enjoyed a good reputation across his hometown and the sales volume usually remains high.
And thanks to the Internet, the vinegar has even been sold to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong Province.
Jin says the brewing of his vinegar is actually a kind of cultural inheritance to some extent.
"The essence of my products consists of not only the vinegar itself, but also morality, the professional ethics throughout the processes of production and trading. I will pass down all these to someone who can endure hardships and work hard, and is able to impart and inherit such a workmanship," said Jin.