Easy Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
If you are like me, -and few people are- sometimes you just get a hankering to grab a bottle of apple cider vinegar out of your pantry and take a swig. That blast of tart, invigorating flavor, the immediate boost of energy it gives you….I love it. And even if you aren’t like me, most healthy-minded people do like a bit of cider vinegar now and then in salads or in their cooking.
Did you know it’s easy to make your own apple cider vinegar? You can chop good, whole apples, but it’s even more fun to use up scraps leftover from baking, like peels and cores that would otherwise get thrown out. Either way will work.
All it takes is two ingredients to make cider vinegar – three if you count the water – plus very little trouble, and a dab of patience. Ready to learn how?
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3 small apples (peels and cores included) or just the peels and cores of about 6-7 apples
2 tablespoons of a natural sugar, like sucanat, rapadura, etc.
filtered water to cover
Wash your apples, and roughly chop them into 1 inch cubes. If you have apple scraps from making a pie, or doing whatever else with your apples…say, if you happen to have the peels and cores of 6-7 small apples lying about, you can just use those! See, isn’t this handy already? We’re recycling!
Put the apples, -whichever you decided to use, whole apples or “recycled” ones- inside a clean, wide-mouthed glass jar. They should fill the jar about three-quarters of the way up.
Mix the sugar with one cup of your filtered water so it doesn’t all just sink to the bottom, and then pour the mixture over the apples. You can even use honey, in place of the sugar; the purpose of the sweetener is to give your friendly bacteria something to consume as they do their work. It will basically be eaten up by the fermentation process and little to none will remain in your final product.
Add more water, enough to cover the apples. They need to be submerged completely, otherwise you will get molds and rot and other undesirable things growing on the exposed apple pieces at the top.
Cover the top of your jar with paper towel, a piece of fabric, several layers of cheesecloth, or some such thing that will keep out bugs, dust, and other intruders but still let the vinegar breathe. Secure with a rubber band.
Place it in a warm, room-temperature-ish place. Most people say to keep brewing cider vinegar in the dark, but I prefer to keep mine out in the open because if I can glance over at it when I’m in the kitchen, I can easily keep track of how it’s coming along. It’s also more likely that I’ll remember to do the next step. So dark place or out in plain sight, whichever you prefer will work just fine.
Leave your vinegar alone for two weeks, then strain out the liquid and throw away the apple pieces. Make sure you do this around the two week mark; if you forget, you will eventually end up with a container of soured apple mush that may or may not be consumable.
Put the vinegar-in-the-making back in the same jar, with the same paper towel or cheesecloth covering, and put it back in the same warm place. Let it ferment for another two to four weeks, stirring once or twice during that time if you think of it. It’s important never, ever to use metal utensils to stir. Metals, even ones that say they don’t react with foods, have been known to really trash the apple cider vinegar. Just use wood, if you have it.
After around four weeks (starting from when you strained it) you can begin tasting your vinegar. Once it gets to your desired strength and acidity, you may transfer it to a bottle with a lid, and use it! Store it in the refrigerator once it’s how you like it, to keep from getting stronger and stronger the longer it sits.
Note About Doubling, Tripling, or Quadrupling the Recipe
It’s easy to scale this recipe up. Just fill the jar of your choice up about 3/4 of the way full with cubed apples, apple scraps, or a mixture of the two. Add 2 tablespoons of sweetener per quart. (i.e. If you’re using a quart jar, add 2 tablespoons. For a gallon jar, add 8 tablespoons, etc.) Then fill the jar with water to cover, and top the jar with a clean, white cloth, secured with a rubber band.