Making Apple Cider Vinegar is not a mystery; it’s incredibly EASY!!
Do you know anyone that has made apple cider vinegar?
I’m fairly confident that few people know anyone that has made it AND after you learn how incredibly EASY it is to make, you may not so easily part with $20 bucks for a gallon of the famous brand of raw/unpasteurized organic apple cider vinegar. All that’s necessary to make apple cider vinegar is some apple scraps, minimal supplies and minimal effort.
Keep in Mind: You will be using fermentation to transform something that normally is tossed into the compost/trash into an incredibly useful item which also offers some great health benefits. Is the word fermentation new to you? Many common foods are fermented: yogurt, wine, sauerkraut, and many more.
For this beginner recipe, you will need:
- 4 cups organic apple scraps (apple peels and cores of 6-10 apples), which are no larger than 1-inch square, but not leftover apple pulp from the juicer. Any variety of apple will work (the sweeter, the better) or you can use more than one variety in the same batch of apple cider vinegar.
- 1 quart filtered, clean water — I’ve only used well water, so not sure if chlorinated water will work.
- ¼ cup plain sugar
- ¼ cup raw/unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar or the “mother of vinegar” (used as a starter; it’s optional, but is very helpful in speeding up the process)
- ½-gallon wide-mouth jar such as a Ball jar or even wide-mouth pickle jar—washed well and air-dried or sterilized from the dishwasher
- plain white coffee filter
How to Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar
These instructions will focus on learning to make apple cider vinegar for the first time.
- First, you will need about 4 cups of apple scraps from an apple project like an apple pie or other yummy dessert. I toss out all the seeds because I fear the tiny amount of cyanide hidden inside the seeds, but that’s optional. Spread the apple scraps on a glass dish and allow them exposure to the air for a few hours or overnight so they turn light brown.
- Next, if using the raw/unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar or some mother of vinegar as a starter, pour it into the clean jar, top with a lid and swirl the starter around to coat all surfaces inside the jar to inoculate the jar with acetic acid and bacteria.
- Next, add the 1 quart of water and the ¼ cup of sugar to the jar and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Next, add the apple scraps to the jar. This should raise the water level to within about 2-inches from the top of the jar. Give the scraps a gentle stir so that all apple scraps get coated in the liquid.
Oxygen Supply: During the fermentation process to become apple cider vinegar, it needs to get air, so a fabric-type top is necessary. My solution is a plain paper coffee filter. I use a wide-mouth canning jar and I’ve found that covering the top with a plain coffee filter and using a canning ring to hold the coffee filter on top of the jar works perfectly! If using a pickle jar, you can use a coffee filter/or even a white paper towel—just add a rubber band to hold the coffee filter/paper towel on top of the jar.
Temperature: Next, keep the jar at 60°F to 80°F. Once a day, remove the lid and use a clean spoon to gently push down the apple scraps under the liquid in the jar.
Daily Check and Transformation: For the first 7-10 days, remove the cover daily and use a stainless steel spoon to gently push the scraps under the top of the liquid. If you see mold on top, gently scoop it out. This happens sometimes on top of the fruit scraps that are exposed to air. This is the reason for gently pushing the scraps under the liquid in the jar daily. After a few days, the apples will begin to darken and the liquid will begin fermenting and you will see bubbles. After about 7-10 days the fruit will sink in the jar; this might take longer depending upon the temperature. Cooler temps take longer, warmer temps take less time.When the bubbles disappear or after the apple scraps sink, it’s time to strain the jar of liquid and return it back to the jar. I use a clean bowl with a stainless steel mesh strainer, but you could also use cloth to strain. Return the liquid back to the original jar and discard the wilted apple scraps. The scraps can be fed to chickens or added to a compost pile or simple buried in the garden.
Return the coffee filter/fabric cover to the jar and allow the liquid to continue fermenting to become apple cider vinegar.
After three or four weeks, the bacteria will have converted most of the alcohol, and the mixture will begin to smell like vinegar. Taste a little bit each day until it reaches the flavor and acidity that you like.
When you like the taste of your apple cider vinegar, strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter several times to remove the mother of vinegar. There is a possibility of the fermentation process continuing and it may eventually spoil your vinegar. I usually store mine at room temperature, but it’s recommended that you store raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in a sterilized, air-tight jar in the refrigerator. The mother of vinegar can be used to start another batch of vinegar.
It takes about 1-2 months from beginning to end (depending on the temperature), but the quality will continue to improve and over time and will darken to look like standard apple cider vinegar.
What is on the bottom of the jar of my Apple Cider Vinegar?
The “mother of vinegar” is a mat that forms on the bottom of fermented wine that has gone bad.
What can I do with raw/unpasteurized apple cider vinegar?
There are many great uses for raw/unpasteurized apple cider vinegar such as salad dressings, marinades, and numerous skin/body care uses. Please note, that I don’t suggest using it for pickling without accurate testing of the percent acidity which is important for food preservation quality.
According to Dr. Diana Jo Rossano, a nutritional medicine doctor, adding ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to 8 oz of water and drinking this beverage is a great way to stimulate your metabolism. Might be useful for those wanting to lose a few pounds. More uses/health benefits will be added….