Apple Cider Vinegar
Did you know you can make your own apple cider vinegar? Raw, unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar can be quite expensive to buy, but home made can be made using a few apples or even cores and peels. If you happen to have a tree of your own, or are using the scraps you would’ve otherwise thrown away it won’t cost you a cent!
It is amazing for your health and has so many uses in the kitchen…and elsewhere.
ACV helps the body to eliminate toxins and is used in weight loss, taken daily as a health tonic (I add 1 tbsp. to a glass of water or tea and don’t even notice it), used as a clarifying hair rinse, as a cleansing facial toner, in the bath as a detoxifier, as a cleaning product, and to replace vinegar in the usual ways such as in salad dressings.
For use in making Master Tonic or pickling, you must have a PH of 4.0 or lower for safety reasons. Without being completely certain – DON’T risk it. Buy commercial vinegar or a ph testing kit.
Last years Apple Cider Vinegar was made using Granny Smith apples. It finished off a dark brownish color and has an amazing deep full flavor.
This year, I foraged apples locally. I came across at least 30 apple trees throughout the countryside that hadn’t been picked. After checking with some locals, I found out no one ever uses them and they normally just go to waste.
There were several varieties – some of them quite incredible, I can’t imagine why no one uses them. I found plenty of uses! I made some beautiful Apple Cider using a mixture of all the varieties, and I used scraps and cores to make this years’ vinegar. Technically, this is an apple scrap vinegar.
I am debating taking some of the cider and allowing it to vinegar as well because the flavor is so good. But I don’t want to for the same reason.:)
Now, to get down to it. As I alluded to, there are a couple ways to do this. You could use whole apples and make a true acv, or keep your apples as food (I know they are not cheap if you have to buy them!), and just use the “scraps” to make an apple scrap vinegar.
When making a ‘scrap’ vinegar, you can continue adding scraps for the next few days if you will be using more up.
You could even start it as a juice or cider, and remove some to become vinegar.
To make it as simply as possible, only apples and water are needed. If you’d like to boost the alcohol content, you might also add sugar and yeast.
First, wash your apples and sterilize a large glass vessel (I use a pickle jar). A note on the jar: the bigger the mouth of the jar, the more air contacts the surface, the faster you will have vinegar. However; to develop the flavors as much as possible, use a slower process.
If using whole apples, chop them up, peels, cores and all.
Otherwise, peel and core several apples. Add them to your jar.
Add water to cover. The apples will float.
2 parts water to 1 part scraps is about the thinnest you want to go. More scraps will give you a stronger vinegar.
Apples have a fairly high sugar content, and natural yeasts will do the job. But if you’re after a stronger taste or making some as cider, add your yeast and sugar now. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Use cheesecloth (folded several times), linen or a coffee filter and an elastic band to cover the jar. Be sure there are no gaps because flies love this stuff.
Works great as a fly trap by the way – just put a little ACV in a shallow dish with a drop of dish soap on the counter! The soap breaks the surface tension of the water, so flies will sink.
Keep in a dark, warm place such as in a cupboard. Use a non reactive utensil (wooden or plastic spoon, chopstick, what have you) to agitate the mixture daily over the next week or so.
Once the apple starts to sink, it is time to strain. Use several layers of cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or other cloth (ie: pillowcase) laid across a sieve over a bowl to remove apple from the liquid.
Pour liquid back into jar and cover with cloth again. At this point, I normally write the date on it so I’ll know approximately when it’s done.
Place in cupboard and let it alone for at least 1 month. Give it a taste. If you love it, bottle it! If it isn’t vinegary enough yet, put it back. Taste test every week until it’s how you want it. Bottle it with tight fitting lid to stop the fermentation process.
When you’re ready to bottle, you may notice sediment or even a mother of vinegar scoby in your jar. The mother can be used to start your next vinegar, don’t throw it away. Just leave it in some vinegar.
The sediment won’t hurt you either and can be left in. It isn’t very pretty though. The fastest way to remove the vinegar and not the sediment is to use a wine syphon, alternatively, just strain it through a coffee filter. It works very well, but it is slow.
I collect glass jars, I just love this little one with the handle. I made them some pretty labels.
Let me know how it works for you!