Storing homemade live-culture vinegar in smaller containers for ease of use is a good idea. Wine bottles are an excellent choice! For ease of use, bottle corks ought to be pushed in partway, as demonstrated in the photo below.
Its highly unlikely that you’ll be able to push corks into the mouth of a bottle without a corker, ’cause corks are made too large for a bottle’s mouth. I’ve tried and not only did I almost blister my hands…it just didn’t work!
When using a corker, it compacts the cork wood and only then can you get the cork into the bottle’s mouth, where it will slowly expand back to normal size, creating a tight seal on the bottle.
It’s designed to work that way. And the sad reality is…you need a corker to do up that lovely vinegar!
The good news? So long as you leave the cork in a bottle’s mouth, it will remain smaller on the bottom. These corks can be easily transferred from one bottle to another.
How to use a corker without fully corking the bottle? I’d love to show you!
You’ve got the corker (note: this is not a capper. That’s a totally different tool for lid caps). You’ll need corks. They can be purchased online (they’re light and make for cheap shipping) or at a local wine-making store. Our feed store carries ’em too!
A corker is designed to push these guys all the way in, past the end of the bottle’s mouth! We don’t want that. We want a partial corking for ease of use and also so that if vinegar continues fermenting, pressure will pop the cork (instead of exploding the bottle).
To do that we send the cork through on its own. Insert into top of corker and place hand underneath, where cork pops through. With the other hand, press down on the handle until it shoots the cork through. Catch it. Repeat the process 1-2 more times.
As you can see in this picture, one cork is a wee bit smaller than the other. It was put through the corked 3-4x and then set up to take a picture. It’s that wee bit of difference that makes corking possible.
It with return to normal size quickly. Be certain to place in bottle’s mouth immediately with cork top exposed so it’s easy to pop off. I usually leave 2/3 above the bottle’s mouth. If you borrowed a corker, corks can be squeeze down to size, then kept in bottles until you do need ’em.
So go ahead! Fill those bottles with live-culture or even active vinegar and partially cork ’em! The key? Be certain to store them in a cold room, root cellar or refrigerator.