This apple cider vinegar recipe post shows you how to turn your apple pieces (or even apple scraps) into vinegar.
Using this apple cider vinegar recipe is something I do every autumn. As autumn comes round, do you suddenly notice how many apple trees are around? So many grow wild! Obviously, there are only so many apples a person can eat, so processing them is the way to use them up.
One of my favourites and easiest ways to use up excess apples is making your own diy apple cider vinegar, otherwise known as ACV.
The great thing is, you can use other fruit to do this too! Think plum vinegar, feijoa vinegar, pear vinegar!
The Benefits of ACV
You've all heard of the benefits of apple cider vinegar right? All the probiotics and enzymes in there help balance your blood sugar, increase weight loss and reduce blood pressure.
Apple cider vinegar has been around for centuries and is traditionally made from pressed apple juice. Using apple juice is a great way to make ACV but if you don't have bucket loads of apples to spare or a means to make juice, this isn't the easiest option.
Wondering what apple cider vinegar tastes like? The Prepared Cooks have a great article on this!
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe Ingredients
I'm only using three ingredients for my homemade apple cider vinegar - Apples, water, and sugar.
- Apples (or other fruit) - Organic or at least spray-free fruit is best for this, especially in recipes that use the fruit peel. In homemade apple cider vinegar you are relying on wild yeasts to create alcohol out of the apples, which in turn will make vinegar. Wild yeasts are everywhere around us, including on the apple peels.
- Sugar- For the sugar, just use a plain white sugar. It’s only going to get eaten by the yeast so there’s no need to get fancy. The role of the sugar is, when it combines with yeast, this is what turns the fruit scrap/water mixture into alcohol, and then, in turn, this alcohol is fermented again and turned into vinegar.
You might consider skipping the sugar but I advise you not to. Sugar speeds up the process, and it greatly reduces chances of contamination. The sugar is going to be converted during the process into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The faster it becomes cider and then vinegar, the less chance of contamination. I use around 10% sugar to water.
- Water - To be on the safe side, use filtered water for your homemade apple cider vinegar. You could use your tap water, in fact my tap water works perfectly fine for my vinegars and ferments. However some tap water contains too much chlorine that can hinder the fermentation process.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Equipment
- A fermentation vessel. I use a large wide mouth jar. The wide mouth means it is easy to pack fruits into it and the glass means it’s non corrosive and easy to clean.
- A weight - (optional). Something to hold the apple pieces under the water. This is not crucial though. If you have no weight to hold it down, just give the mixture a gentle shake 2-3 times each day during the fermentation process. If you do have a weight to hold it down, the chance of mould growing on the apple is less but the mixture should still be given a gentle shake at least once daily while the fruit pieces are in the liquid.
- An airlock - This is optional, but it is super helpful for the first stage of the apple cider vinegar process, as the yeast makes alcohol. It allows gases to escape but lessens the chances of bad bacteria getting in. If you don’t have an airlock, a lid can be screwed on and released each day as the mixture is shaken, to release the gases. Alternatively, use a tea towel secured with a rubber band.
- An apple peeler - if you are making apple cider vinegar from scraps an apple peeler like the one pictured below is so great. The apple slices it makes can be dehydrated for apple chips, and what you’re left with is just the peel and core which can be made into vinegar.
Making Apple Cider - The stage before it is vinegar
Combine your apple pieces in a clean glass jar, so it is about ½- ¾ full. Measure out your water and add in 10% sugar. Pour this into the jar over the fruit, leaving at least 2cm headspace. If you've got one, use a sterilized glass fermenting weight to hold down the apple pieces and keep the pieces submerged under the water.
Add on the airlock, a lid, or tie on a tea towel.
Store this mixture in a room temperature spot, out of direct sunlight for about 2-3 weeks, gently shaking or stirring it daily.
This is the time where alcohol is made and your mixture will start to froth and bubble (the yeasts are converting the sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide.) Place a towel under your containers to soak up any spillage as the mixture may bubble over the top.
Once your batch shows no more signs of activity and the bubbling has stopped, the apple pieces can be strained out and the liquid can be poured back into the same container.
Turning Apple Cider into Vinegar
Now the alcoholic cider needs to become vinegar. It is at this stage that acetic acid bacteria get involved and they turn the alcohol into vinegar.
For this step, remove the airlock if you're using one, or remove the lid. Acetic bacteria need to be able to reach the brew, so cover it with a dishtowel or cloth instead.
You can speed this up by adding some store-bought apple cider vinegar into the batch that comes with these alive bacteria.
This will be marketed as Apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’. The mother is a collection of acetic bacteria. This isn’t crucial though, you can let it ferment without this head start.
Place your apple cider back in the room temperature spot out of sunlight, covered with a tea towel for approximately 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, you can start to taste it. It can ferment for as long as you want, it will just get more acidic over time. Once it tastes to your liking you can bottle it.
A SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) may occasionally form on top of your vinegar. This is just all the good bacteria combined in this squidgy little disc. This is very similar to a ‘mother’. The next time you make your apple cider vinegar, using a few tablespoons of your homemade batch will speed up the next batch's fermentation process.
Other Homemade Fruit Vinegar Ideas
You can use this process with other fruits too! If you’ve got an abundance of pears, berries, plums, give it a go! Along with apple foraging each year, we also go blackberry foraging and homemade blackberry vinegar works a treat!
I don’t use a weight to hold the blackberries down because they are so soft and fall apart easily. For a vinegar like this, just gently shaking the brew a few times daily is best.
- Organic or spray free apple pieces, Or berries, plums, pears...
- Filtered Water
- Combine your apple pieces in a clean glass jar, about ½- ¾ full. Measure out enough water to almost fill the jar and add in 10% sugar. Pour this into the jar over the fruit, leaving at least 2cm headspace.
- (optional) Use a sterilised glass fermenting weight to hold down the apple pieces and keep the pieces submerged under the water.
- Screw an airlock onto the jar. This allows the fermentation gases to escape but lessens the chances of bad bacteria getting in.
- If you don’t have an airlock, a lid can be screwed on and released each day to release the gases. Alternatively, use a tea towel secured with a rubber band.
- Store this mixture in a room temperature spot, out of direct sunlight for about 2 weeks, gently shaking or stirring it daily. If you don't have a weight to hold down the fruit, gently shake it 2-3 times daily instead of just once.
- This is the time where alcohol is made and your mixture will start to froth and bubble (the yeasts are converting the sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide.) Place a towel under your containers to soak up any spillage as the mixture may bubble over the top.
- After around two-three weeks, check that your batch isn't showing anymore signs of fermentation. Once your batch shows no more signs of activity and the bubbling has stopped, the apple pieces can be strained out and the liquid can be poured back into the same container.
- For this next stage, remove the airlock or lid if you're using one. Acetic bacteria needs to be able to reach the brew to make vinegar, so cover it with a tea towel instead.
- Place your apple cider back in the room temperature spot out of sunlight, covered with a tea towel for approximately 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, you can start to taste it. It can ferment for as long as you want, it will just get more acidic over time. Once it tastes to your liking you can bottle it.
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Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Have you made this? Tag me and let me know! @home_grown_happinessnz