Does Vinegar Stop Fermentation? – You Need to Know

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If you ask me about pickles, I have all the answers ready. However, fermentation – it’s a whole new world to me! So, when I start fermenting for the first time, vinegar is the first thing that puts me on the fence.

So, the obvious questions were – can I use vinegar? Does vinegar stop fermentation?

A small amount of vinegar doesn’t stop fermentation; however, it may slow down the process by preventing the growth of lactic acid bacteria. If you want to add vinegar, ensure you add the right amount at the right time, that is, later in the fermentation process. Don’t add vinegar in the beginning.

If you want to know more about when to add vinegar, the amount, and which vinegar are suitable for fermentation, continue reading.

Does Vinegar Stop Fermentation?

Does Vinegar Stop Fermentation

So, does vinegar stop the fermentation process? Well, the short answer is vinegar doesn’t stop the fermentation completely. But there’s more.

While vinegar does not entirely stop fermentation, it can greatly slow the process. 

Vinegar kills most harmful bacteria and aids the good ones in preserving the food. It can kill microbes, is cheap, readily available, and can be used for many purposes, including fermenting food.

Vinegar increases the acidity of vegetables, killing microorganisms and preventing short-term spoilage. It can also be used as a preservative.

Vinegar’s acidity can be as high as 2.0, but the microorganisms responsible for the fermentation process can survive at a lower pH value, resulting in unpalatable products. 

However, there’s a lot more to know about fermenting your food. So, without any further ado, let’s begin!

When Should You Add Vinegar For Fermentation?

When Should You Add Vinegar For Fermentation

As with any other food, you can’t just add vinegar for fermentation. So, there are particular situations where adding vinegar for fermentation would be the best fit. 

Many people use vinegar to kill pathogens in their kitchens. Some research has even suggested that vinegar can kill tuberculosis, a common bacterial infection. 

Let’s see when you should add vinegar for fermentation with the best results. 

1. For More Flavor

When you start making pickles out of food and jar them, you can use vinegar to tone down the sweetness, The fresh burst of the tanginess from fermenting vegetables with vinegar is something you’ll start craving. Once you make a big batch!

2. Speeding Fermentation Process

Lacto-fermentation takes longer, so the vinegar helps to speed up the process and create a more complex flavor. So, does vinegar stop fermentation? It doesn’t stop it entirely, but it can slow it down.

Unlike commercially processed foods, they have a stiffer cell wall to stay fresh for much longer. But, ensuring that your fermented foods are as good as possible is still essential.

3. Substituting Vinegar As Fermenting Culture

You can use vinegar as a Lacto fermentation culture any day when you have food prone to rotting. Vegetables can ferment themselves quickly, while some other foods may not reciprocate.

In this sense, vinegar helps with the procedure. All you need to do is add vinegar to your fruit, vegetables, or pickles. It will hinder microorganism growth and make your salsa or fruit salad tastier!

Which Vinegar Should You Use For Fermentation?

You can use a variety of kinds of vinegar depending on what you are trying to ferment, as different types have different flavors and colors. Below is a table specially made to help you find the vinegar that’s best suited. 

Vinegar For Fermentation


Pompeian Gourmet Balsamic Vinegar 

  • Rich and complex balsamic vinegar made in Italy
  • Ideal for use in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces
  • Delivers a fruity and robust flavor that enhances any dish

Colavita Prosecco White Wine Vinegar 

  • Adds flavor and brightness to wine
  • Gives your Prosecco a crisp, refreshing taste
  • Enhances the aroma of your food while keeping it fresh

Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar 

  • Naturally sour, gluten-free, and non-GMO
  • Fully aids in fermentation 
  • Great choice for people with food allergies since it is made without any artificial ingredients.

How Does Food Fermentation Work?

How Does Food Fermentation Work

Food fermentation turns perishable foods into a longer-lasting version. Before refrigeration, fermentation was a popular way of preserving foods and increasing their holding power. It also gave people access to nutrient-dense meals in times of scarcity.

But, how does food fermentation work? Fermentation begins with raw ingredients. A mixture of bacteria and yeast begins working on the raw ingredients in a short period. This microbial culture prevents putrefying bacteria from colonizing the food. 

They break down the sugar and starch into acids and alcohol. In return, the food becomes sour. It is this process that gives food its distinctive flavor.  The final product of fermentation varies depending on the product. 

Does Vinegar Interfere With Fermentation?

Does vinegar interfere with fermentation? Let’s look at the science behind this question. We know that fermentation is a complex process based on the effects of bacteria and microbes in nature.

Adding vinegar to fermented food is not required, but it can hinder the process. The enzymes in fermented foods will survive the vinegar, so adding it too early could prevent the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Late addition of vinegar allows the flavor to develop while not overpowering the good stuff. And don’t forget to add vinegar before serving the fermented food to the family! 

So, avoiding adding vinegar to unfermented foods is best, especially if you plan to ferment a large quantity of the food.

4 Best Vinegar Substitutes for Fermentation

Best Vinegar Substitutes for Fermentation

If you are sensitive to vinegar or fermented products, you may want to consider using one of the many available vinegar substitutes. 

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice will probably work best because it has a similar acidity level and fruity taste. You can also use apple cider vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar in recipes that require fermentation. You can try also try a  lemon juice and apple cider vinegar bundle

2. Champagne Vinegar

Another alternative to rice vinegar is champagne vinegar. This is a type of vinegar produced by fermenting champagne. It has a mild flavor and acidity and pairs well with fish and seafood dishes.

3. Rice Vinegar

For light-weight marinades, you can substitute rice vinegar  in a 1:1 ratio. In addition to rice vinegar, many other substitutes will work in your recipes. If you aren’t sure what to use, consider trying rice vinegar or a blend of vinegar made from other types of alcohol.

4. Malt Vinegar

Another common vinegar substitute is malt vinegar. This light-brown substance is ideal for marinating meats and vegetables, salad dressings, and rich barbecue glazes. 

Because of its color, malt vinegar should only be used sparingly and in small amounts. It is also a great vinegar substitute that doesn’t have a strong flavor.

How To Stop Fermentation In Food

How To Stop Fermentation In Food

Fermentation is the process of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide by microorganisms. It is often used in baking, brewing, and winemaking because it contributes flavor and acidity to these foods. However, fermentation can also cause food to spoil. 

So, if you’re wondering how to stop fermentation in food, there are a few ways below!

1. Vinegar

To stop fermentation in your food, try adding vinegar. Vinegar not only adds tanginess to fermented foods but can also add a new flavor. You can also try fermenting beets containing lactic acid to add a new taste. 

The acid can also kill off the bacteria, which will cause fermentation. You should check the temperature of the water in your fermentation vessel carefully. It should be between 81degF and 100degF. 

140degF will turn the water into a “kill zone” for yeast. If the water temperature is too high, the yeast will freeze and die, ending the fermentation process.

2. Boiling

Boiling does not cause fermentation; it kills the yeast that converts sugars to alcohol. Moreover, boiling is higher than the optimal temperature for yeast to thrive. 

Boiling wine for fifteen minutes will kill yeast, but you’ll end up with more alcohol than you expected. Additionally, boiling alcohol will raise the pH level above a PH you can tolerate. 

3. Brine

Moreover, brine can also help prevent organisms from growing by preventing the food from coming into contact with air. Brine is particularly useful for large chunks of food. But be sure to follow all instructions closely. 

Since the temperature of your fermented food will determine whether or not it will stop the fermentation process, it’s important to look out.

4. Salt

Salt is an important way to control the fermentation process. Using too much salt kills all bacteria in the food. Using too little salt can cause food to spoil. Yeast releases water into the salt, slowing down the process. 

Hence, adding too much salt can prevent the fermentation process. Salt slows down the fermentation process, while too little salt will make the food mushy. Salt also helps in keeping the crispness of vegetables.

What Are Lacto-Fermented Foods?

What Are Lacto-Fermented Foods

Lacto fermented foods are different from their commercially-processed counterparts. Harmful bacteria and mold taint the latter.

On the other hand, Lacto-fermented foods do not develop these problems and keep fermenting in cold storage.

You can also use the help of a fermentation starter kit to boost your journey to sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, and even kombucha. 

The use of vinegar in pickling is another everyday use of it. This process creates a mixture of salt, water, herbs, and spices and is a quick way to make food sour. Natural bacteria in vegetables and pickles produce lactic acid. 


  • Is Vinegar Good for You?

Compared to other forms of fermented food, vinegar contains probiotics. These beneficial bacteria help your food taste better. In addition to the added probiotics, lactic acid bacteria, which are present in the final product, also benefit your body. 

  • Does Vinegar Fully Kill Bacteria?

While the effects of vinegar on food spoilage are largely temporary, the bacteria and yeast that produce lactic acid are not eliminated. The bacterial growth process is not stopped, and fermentation bacteria and yeast can persist below the “right” concentration of vinegar. 

  • Does Vinegar Kill Fermentation Bacteria and Yeast? 

Lactic acid bacteria and yeast can live in foods without vinegar. Although vinegar does not kill bacteria and yeast completely, it slows fermentation.


Are you still on the fence thinking – does vinegar stop fermentation?

Well, a tiny amount of vinegar added at the right time doesn’t really stop fermentation; however, it will slow down the process.

On the other hand, adding a large amount of vinegar will stop fermentation. The reason is it can kill the yeast, change the pH level, and make the surface area of the fermentation too small for bacteria to grow. 

So, it’s wise to try all the different types of substitutes to know the best pick for you. Till the next time, happy small dining!