350g Winter Nelis pears, halved and sliced (do not wash the pears)
500ml water, preferably filtered
80ml honey or maple syrup

This simple way to make vinegar relies purely on natural fermentation. The vinegar is very light and flavoursome – great used as a vinaigrette or dressing. Not too dissimilar from apple cider vinegar, it has the same beneficial properties. Use organic or spray-free pears as the natural yeast on the skin is useful in the fermentation process. Here, Winter Nelis pears, with their sugary, smoother-textured flesh, are used.

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1.Place all the ingredients into a sterilised 2L jar and cover with the lid.
2.Gently shake to disperse the honey or syrup.
3.Twice a day, gently shake the mixture and ‘burp’ the jar to release gas build-up by opening and closing the lid.
4.After a few days you should start to see bubbles (which means the mix is fermenting).
5.After 10 days, strain to remove the chunks of pear.
6.Transfer liquid to a smaller sterilised jar and cover with a piece of fine muslin held in place with string or a rubber band.
7.Place in a dark, room-temperature cupboard for 3-4 weeks untouched.
8.By this time the sugars in the mix should have been used up and the acidity will have taken over; if you are lucky, a very thin jelly-like mass may have formed on top – this is a scoby not too different to a kombucha scoby.
9.Bottle the vinegar now (removing the scoby) or leave it to age for a stronger flavour.

Recipes & food styling Russell Holder / Photography Manja Wachsmuth

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