Sarson's factory tour

So often we have our store cupboard essentials; the ingredients we always have and always need. But often we don't think about where these come from, or how they are made. That is why I was so excited when I was invited to the Sarson's factory in Manchester, to find out how they have been making vinegar for 200 years!

For over 200 years Sarson's have been making vinegar their own way! Starting with malted barley, the grain is cracked and then mixed with hot water in a vessel called a mash tun (Brightonians will know why that made me smile). The liquid produced, called sweet wort, is then cooled and yeast is added. Apparently this is the same process as producing beer.

This is then left for six days whilst the sugar converts into alcohol, which is when the 'good' bacteria is added. This is what these huge barrels are used for; filled with not only the product but also wood wool from larch trees. This use of barrels is unique to Sarson's and many of them are hundreds of years old. This is left for 7 days and then standardised to 5% acid, tested and then moved to be bottled and shipped. 

Sarson's do not only make malt vinegar, they also produce other products as well. For the bottling of this vinegar the process is simple; air to clean the bottles, vinegar added and a vacuum made, capped, labeled and packaged. 

I love the personal touch of the whole factory; all of the product is tested by the employees and each bottle is checked by the employees working on that line. From the clarity of the product, the information on the bottle and the straightness of the label!

Inspired by my trip to the factory, I have found a new love for pickling. I always love eating pickled food but now I am doing it myself! Using Sarson's own pickling tutorial video, and their pickling vinegar, the process is so simple! Make sure to check back in six weeks to see what I am planning on doing with these pickled onions (except eat a lot!!)

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