Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Once you give this recipe a try, you will be making homemade apple cider vinegar all the time. You won’t have to buy it ever again. Never mind the pride you will feel when you are sipping on your own homemade stuff!

It’s really no big secret that us homestead folks are always going on about how to use up scraps for everything under the sun … from chicken food to animal care to making compost. And, while you may not be aware, apple cider vinegar is just so VERY good for you!

Have you ever wondered why it is called Apple CIDER Vinegar? I mean, why not simply Apple Vinegar?

Curious minds want to know.

I am just naturally super curious and it really just stuck in my head, apple CIDER vinegar.

Here is a super helpful tutorial from the National Center for Home Food Preservation on how to make your own apple cider which is interesting all by itself, but at the bottom of the tutorial, they show you how to make apple cider vinegar from the APPLE CIDER.

How cool is THAT?

This is one of the easiest DIY projects ever! You’ll wonder why you never tried it before.

Where to Start Making Apple Cider Vinegar?

So how do you get started making Apple Cider Vinegar? To begin with, you have two options.

  1. You can use apple scraps, including peels and cores (seeds removed).
  2. You can use cut-up whole apples. If you choose to use whole apples, this is an excellent way to use up those apples that may be slightly past their prime.

Do I Need to Use Organic Apples to Make Vinegar?

Obviously, organic apples are the best option. Apples are #5 on EWG’s the dirty dozen list. But if you can’t get them just be sure to wash your apples with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Mix them together to make a foamy paste to wash your apples with. Then, rinse your apples thoroughly to remove as much pesticide residue as possible. You can’t wash the inside of the apple 😉 but you can get off as much exterior residue as you can.

Now for the recipe…

How to Make Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Put bits of apple peel, core, and/or flesh in a glass jar. (These don’t have to be ridiculously perfect! Soft and bruised apples can actually make a better vinegar. Just make sure there are no rotten spots. Can anyone say bacteria?)
  • Add a bit of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a starter. Or add a piece of the “mother” the white gooey thing that you see in raw vinegar. I use a few tablespoons of ACV per cup of water. I started my first batch of apple cider vinegar by purchasing a bottle of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar from a local grocer.
  • But! If you don’t have a friend with an extra “mother” or vinegar to share and buying is not an option you can start your vinegar with a sugar water solution instead. Use one tablespoon of sugar per four cups of water. Once you get it going you will have your own mother to start your next batche!
  • Cover the apples with water and either cover with a cloth, or make sure you open the lid every few days or so to let any gas escape. (I don’t think it would actually blow up, but do you really want to find out?)
  • Let sit for at least 6 weeks.
  • Strain out apple pieces for the compost or chickens.
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That’s it. Viola! I told you it was easy! Oh! One last thing…

Caution: Homemade vinegars should not be used for home canned pickled foods. It will not have the same carefully controlled acidity as store bought vinegars.

And since we’re on caution mode, let me mention a few things you’ll want to make sure you get right to avoid a stinky mess later… (ask me how I know 😉 )

Use sanitized utensils and containers

It is easy to add unwanted bacteria to your homemade apple cider vinegar. This will result in mold and other undesirables. Be sure to wash your hands as you go!

Don’t use metal containers

Vinegars (fermentations in general) react badly to metal. They can also leach chemicals and impart a really awful taste to your finished vinegar. To prevent this, use glass jars.

Don’t use chlorinated water

If you don’t have access to your own filtered water then put as much as you intend to use in a pitcher or bowl over night. Chlorine is a gas and will “gas out” of the water if left out. Also, chlorine kills the many microbes that create the vinegar. Chlorinated water = Bad. (if you’d LIKE to have access, see Berkey water filter best one I’ve ever used.)

Turning Apple Cider into Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

To turn apple cider into vinegar you simply allow apple cider to ferment past the stages of sweet cider and dry cider until it becomes vinegar. Again, this is referring to the previous recipe on their white paper, Making Apple Cider.

Pour the strained, fresh apple juice into a clean crock, dark-colored glass jar or jug. (Be sure to leave 25 percent of the container empty to allow for foaming during fermentation.)

Cover the container with something that will keep dust and insects out but will let air in, such as a triple layer of cheesecloth, or clean tea towel. Stretch the material over the top of the jar and tie it tightly with a string.

Store the juice in a cool, dark place, like an unheated basement or garage. Fermentation will take from 4 to 6 months. After 4 months, remove the cover and taste the vinegar. If it is strong enough, strain it through a triple layer of cheesecloth. Then heat the vinegar to 170°F and hold it at that temperature for 10 minutes.

Pour into bottles and seal with caps or lids. If the vinegar is too weak, after the first 4 months, test it every week until desired flavor is derived. While vinegar is fermenting, a jelly-like layer forms on top that is called the “mother of vinegar.” The mother is trapped and removed during straining. It can be carefully saved and refrigerated for use as a starter with your next batch of vinegar.Caution: Homemade vinegars should not be used for home canned pickled foods. It will not have the same carefully controlled acidity as store bought vinegars.

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson

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