Apple cider vinegar. I use it constantly. Not only as a kitchen staple, but it’s a must have for the powerhouse of health benefits it possesses.
What if I said that you could bottle Apple Cider Vinegar in your home easily?
Come apple season, when you’re canning, drying, and have a kitchen filled with apple goodness, easily turn leftover scraps into vinegar with a bit of water and a dash of sugar.
Truthfully, that’s it.
Whenever I see a chance to reduce waste and save money by making something myself, I’m all about it! Instead of giving all the apple scraps to my chickens and pigs, I now set some aside to make my next years worth of apple cider vinegar.
In this guide, I’ll share how to easily transform apple scraps from canning or other apple-related activities into a high quality homemade apple cider vinegar.
Understanding Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, affectionately known as ACV, is essentially fermented apple juice.
During fermentation, natural sugars in the apples transform into acetic acid and beneficial probiotics, resulting in a tangy concoction. This vinegar boasts a myriad of uses, from enhancing flavors in cooking to offering health benefits like aiding digestion and supporting immune function. By making your own apple cider vinegar, you have control over its purity and potency.
Making Apple Cider Vinegar At Home
One of the primary advantages of crafting apple cider vinegar at home is its cost-effectiveness. Commercial variants often come with a price tag that like most other things lately, has been going up. But, by utilizing leftover apple scraps, you can enjoy this liquid gold without burning a hole in your pocket. Furthermore, homemade apple cider vinegar contains no artificial additives or preservatives, ensuring you reap the full spectrum of its natural goodness.
Each jar costs a few pennies to make. You’re literally using the waste and scraps that would otherwise be thrown away or go to the chickens. How I wish I’d known how simple this was so I could have been making it for years now.
Choosing the Right Apples
The key to great apple cider vinegar lies in selecting the right apples. Varieties such as Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp are excellent choices due to their balanced sweetness and acidity. When choosing apples, opt for fresh, ripe ones. The quality of the apples directly influences the flavor profile of your vinegar, so it’s crucial to start with the best produce available. Whenever possible, opt for organic apples to ensure your vinegar is free from pesticides and chemicals.
Collecting Apple Scraps
Gather apple scraps from your canning sessions or any other apple-related activities. These scraps can include cores, peels, and any leftover apple parts. Although you should attempt to use the scraps the same day they are made, if needed you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one to three days, until you have collected enough to begin the fermentation process.
The Simple Process of Making Apple Cider Vinegar
- Prepare Your Scraps: If there is any rot or decay, remove those sections.
- Create the Apple Mash: Chop the scraps into small pieces or use a food processor to create a coarse mash. Transfer the mash into a glass jar, filling it about halfway.
- Add Water and Sugar: Cover the scraps with water, leaving some space at the top of the jar. Add a tablespoon of sugar per cup of water to kick-start the fermentation process.
- Optional, Add a dash of apple cider vinegar: If you have some ACV at your house, throw a couple tablespoons into the jar to help kick start the progress of the vinegar.
- Cover and Ferment: Cover the jar with a clean cloth or paper towel secured with a rubber band. This allows the mixture to breathe and facilitates the fermentation process. Place the jar in a dark, warm place (around 70 F) for about two – three weeks, stirring the mixture daily.
- Strain and Ferment Further: After two weeks, strain out the solids, returning the liquid to the jar. Cover and let it continue fermenting for another 3-4 weeks. Taste occasionally until you achieve the desired acidity.
Additional Tips and Variations
For a creative twist, consider adding herbs like thyme or rosemary during the fermentation process. These additions impart unique flavors to your apple cider vinegar, making it a gourmet delight. If you encounter issues like mold, simply skim it off; your vinegar should be fine underneath.
About the fermentation
Natural Yeast Activity: The initial fermentation stage with visible bubbles is typically the most active phase. After this initial period, the visible signs of fermentation might slow down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the process has stopped.
Temperature: Fermentation can slow down or speed up based on the ambient temperature. Warmer temperatures generally facilitate faster fermentation, while cooler temperatures can slow it down. If your fermentation area has become colder, this might be a reason for the reduced activity.
Yeast Activity: The natural yeast content in the apple scraps might have decreased, which can happen over time. If this is the case, the fermentation process could slow down.
Sugar Content: If you didn’t add any additional sugar, the natural sugars in the apple scraps can be consumed by the yeast, leading to a slowdown in fermentation.
Air Exposure: If the jar is opened frequently during the fermentation process, excessive exposure to air can hinder fermentation. It’s important to keep the jar covered with a cloth to prevent contaminants from entering while still allowing airflow.
Even if you’re not seeing visible bubbles, the fermentation process might still be happening at a slower pace. You can taste the liquid; if it has a sour, acidic taste, then fermentation has likely occurred. If you’re concerned, you can cover the jar again and continue to let it ferment for a few more weeks. The taste and smell are often better indicators of the fermentation progress than the presence of bubbles alone. Patience is key when making homemade apple cider vinegar, as the process can vary based on several factors.
Congratulations, you’ve mastered the art of making apple cider vinegar from leftover apple scraps! By investing a little time and effort, you’ve made a core staple to use in your home for a myriad of purposes! Experiment with your homemade apple cider vinegar in various recipes and share how easy it is to do with your friends! Cheers to your homemade apple cider vinegar success!