It's apple season! This week we're taking a look back at our project making Apple Cider Vinegar last fall. It was a great year for apples, and we were happy to put them to use making ACV, one of the most beneficial vinegars for people and animals alike!
Making apple cider vinegar with apple scraps from a recipe could not be easier. It’s no mess, no worry, and it uses up leftover materials that otherwise would be thrown in the trash. Not only will you not be wasting the remains of the apple, but the resulting vinegar will be pure and unpasteurized, the grocery-store version of which is quite costly.
You can use a whole apple chopped into small pieces, or you can take advantage of the peels and cores left behind after you make apple pie or another recipe. The peels and cores of about six apples will make a quart jar of ACV. Using organic, unsprayed apples will yield pure, raw, organic vinegar.
Place the peels and cores in a large mason jar and completely cover with water. It is very important that the water submerges the remains. Scoop in about a 1/4 cup of sugar per quart of water. The sugar isn’t completely necessary, but it speeds up the fermentation process.
Take a piece of cheesecloth, or similar, and place it over the lid of your jar, then seal it with the metal ring or a rubber band. Store it in a warm, dark place for about two weeks.
When bubbles begin to form on the surface of the liquid (a sign of fermentation) and the apples start to sink to the bottom of the jar, it’s time for step two.
Strain out the apple scraps and return the gold-tinted liquid to a clean jar. Cover with a fresh piece of cheesecloth and seal with the metal ring or a rubber band. Return your concoction to the same dark, warm spot for another three or four weeks.
During this time the alcohol that you’d created via the early fermentation will start to transform into acetic acid, the beneficial organic compound which gives apple cider vinegar its flavor.
When you remove your vinegar for the final step, there should be a small amount of sediment at the bottom of the jar, and a viscous liquid seal over the surface of the vinegar. This is the “mother” culture, and it’s a sign that your vinegar is ready. If you save some of the mother from your first batch of vinegar, you can use it to speed up the process by a few weeks on your next batch. Smell and taste your creation to make sure it is right for you, and leave it to brew longer if necessary. You can dilute it with water if the taste is too sour.
Replace the cheesecloth cover with a metal lid and seal, and store in your pantry. Apple cider vinegar lasts indefinitely, but ours is always used up quickly since it is so beneficial.
If you’re wondering how to use up the vinegar, it can be an excellent and affordable substitute for shampoo, helps to soothe skin irritations and acne, and can help defeat the common cold and flu. The vinegar you made will be raw and unpasteurized, making its healing properties all the more powerful. And you can always put a few tablespoons in a broth, salad dressing, marinade, or use it to preserve canned goods.
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