Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How To: Make Apple Vinegar From Scratch

When you go out and pick two bushels of apples you better have a plan for using them up — especially in a timely manner!



Lets recap: first we shared our homemade natural dog treat recipe, then we showed you our process in making fruit leather; both of which made for a lot of leftover apple peels and cores, so we decided to try our hand at making our own apple vinegar.

This all came about while gathering inspiration over on A Sonoma Garden for making our own natural fruit roll-ups — we stumbled across this additional how-to on how to make your own apple vinegar using 3 basic ingredients and a dash of patience, ha. We followed this tutorial word for word and are now well into the process of making our very own apple vinegar. The steps were really quite simple and again, this is a recipe that requires little to no measuring — the amount of apples used really isn't important.

We first we collected the leftover peels and cores and put them in shallow pie dishes, then added enough water to cover the scraps by about an inch or two. We added 1/4 cup sugar to each and placed a plate on top of the mixture with a smaller bowl on top of the plate to weight it down and keep the scraps submerged. Next, we covered the bowls with a tea towel and let sit for one full week — this allowed for the beginning stages of fermentation.

After one full week, we checked our apple mixture which had considerably darkened in color and formed a little mold on the liquid's surface — which is OK. We spooned off any surface mold, then drained the liquid and peels through a sieve into a large measuring pourer. We transferred this liquid into a jar, covered the rim with cheese cloth and tightly closed the lid (the cheese cloth allows the vinegar to breath and helps avoid any metal corrosion). It now will just need to sit for 6 weeks until we have vinegar!

We also found 4 smaller jars which turned out to be the perfect size to have on hand for gifts over the holidays. Mary is already brainstorming ways she can spice these up a little with seasonal labels when they are ready.

While vinegar isn't typically expensive and we rarely use much in a year's time, we were thrilled to use up the scraps from our orchard trip, learn something new and we'll feel too cool for school pulling the jar out right around Thanksgiving time. I'm thinking our homemade apple vinegar will be perfect for pouring on some fresh collards with chopped onion.

What are your favorite uses for vinegar? Let us know if you try it!

96 comments:

  1. This is so cool! I would love to try some freshly made vinegar. We use it on roasted potatoes, salads, veggie dishes, meat marinades.

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    1. Add equal parts vinegar and honey(I do a half inch of each to a quart jar) fill jar with water. Can drink hot or cold. If doing cold...use a small amount of warm water first to dissolve the honey. Adjust amount of water to taste.

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  2. Monica - Wow, We definitely need to expand our use of vinegar! Roasted potatoes and most veggie dishes we had not thought of. Thanks for the insight!

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    1. Don't forget to make some chocolate cake with that vinegar!! lol

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    2. I use ACV in baking veggies alot. The best is sliced beets baked in ACV and coconut oil. So yummy!!! Growing up I would also put ACV on my boiled potatoes to flavor them when I was on a diet and avoiding butter.

      My great grandmother lived a rather active life until she was 90 and ACV and honey were her two biggest fail safes for health.

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  3. I love projects that use up things that were destined for the bin, what a good idea!

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  4. This is happening in my kitchen right now! Thanks (again) for the idea! Got the apples from making Hugh's plum chutney http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/07/plum-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall I expect I'll use the recipe in pork stews later in the year.

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    1. Willow, just found the chutney recipe — thanks so much! Keep us posted on the progress of your vinegar...

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  5. Love this! What do *you* use it for? Also, where do you get those jars from? I need some~! :)

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    1. We use it on everything! We also like to just have a small spoonful in the morning since we've heard rumors of health benefits.

      You can find jars like these at your local hardware store in a big pack for cheap!

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    2. ACV is good for my coffee. I have hard water and I put a few drops in the water when I make coffee. It brings out the flavor and makes the coffee smell good. I have an old Texas Pete bottle with the little hole. Fill it using a filler. I use it to clean with if I don't have the distilled. I put it in stir-fry. It will tenderize meat. When you use it in cooking, the vinegar smell usually leaves it. I cannot be without it.

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  6. We use ACV in our chickens' water to keep bacteria down, improve the taste and help their intestinal health. www.fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com

    I am making my first batch right now - I gave our horses the flesh and put the cores and skins in the bowl to ferment. Great post!

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    1. Wow, that's awesome Lisa! Thanks so much!

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    2. Lisa, ACV is also great for your horses because it dissolves stomach stones. I use it mostly to clean with because it's non toxic, kills bacteria and acidic enough to dissolve tough spots on the parrots cage trays. I also add it to the chickens water one week a month then I add molasses one week a month. We go through about 3 gallons of ACV a month. Coffee maker, dish washer, laundry..... you name it!

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  7. How long does it keep for? Do you have to process it, so it doesn't go bad?

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  8. do you keep in the frig

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  9. wilted lettuce is our favorite way to use vinegar.

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  10. HOW DOES IT HELP YOU TO LOSE WEIGHT? HOW MUCH DO YA TALK OF IT? AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAK FOR YOU TO SEE ITS WORKING!

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  11. I've been so afraid of making my own apple cider vinegar (botch, etc). I would love to make my own. I take it daily to reduce my acid reflux/heartburn. I am quite happy to say that since I started taking the apple cider vinegar, I no longer take those daily pills. Who knew? At first I would get headaches, then I read it was from the vinegar flushing out the toxins and it was too much vinegar for a beginner. I now drink water with the vinegar several times a day.

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  12. thank you but will it make a mother or do I need to add some from Braggs that I bought. I take one third cup a day morning and night you work up to it in flavored water and have not felt better in my seventy years....you can slice cucumbers and onions and pour over chill in the refrig and eat that night ...you can do this with many vegies...you can make kumbachi and many other ferminted things
    D. Merry Williams

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    1. So glad you asked this, I am wondering too because I use a lot of Braggs. I make something called Fire Cider and I take that daily. I am so hoping it does because Braggs is $7.00 a qt so making my own would awesome!

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    2. The cheese cloth will filter the mother so be your own judge. I would test it and see what happens. The mother is what makes it work for medicinal purposes. I take it too. Remember when you cook with it, that you don't have the good stuff like you do taking it in daily doses.

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  13. To dress up mason jars for the holidays, I recommend getting holiday print fabric and then use a roller cutter and a saucer (or any small plate, about 5" (12cm) diameter) for a template to cut out circles of fabric. Then place the cloth on top of the jar and screw it down with the band. This will only work with 2 piece tops, of course.

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    1. Use a rubber band if you aren't using the 2 piece jar tops.

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  14. I remember my Grandmother making Vinegar but never knew just how she did it. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories of her.

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  15. Thanks for the post, I made it and it's delicious, but...
    if the apples are not organic the peels will be full of pesticides, which I'm afraid will be passed on to the water during the first week....

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  16. I use ACV mostly in my roast marinade and in hummus for a nice tang....

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  17. Organic ACV is very expensive and it's worth making your own! You can use it daily/several times weekly like this:
    http://www.draxe.com/recipe/secret-detox-drink/
    Thanks for sharing your process!

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  18. hi, do you think i could freeze apple scraps until i have alot and then make?

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    1. That's what I do and it works fine.

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  19. It's a good acne treatment too.

    Dilute the Apple Cider Vinegar in water by one part of vinegar and 3 to 4 parts of water.
    Apply the solution directly to your skin with clean cotton, and leave it there for about ten minutes.
    After ten minutes, rinse off the vinegar.
    Repeat this three times a day. For severe cases of acne, the solution can be used overnight without rinsing.

    For more severe acne, the water ratio can also be reduced to 2 or 3 parts per one part of vinegar, but this stronger solution should not be left on overnight.
    I'm trying this overnight at the moment(with added Tea tree oil) and it seems to be working better than the harsh gel from my dermatologist

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  20. I just read about making this and was wondering does the mixture need to be sitting on the counter for the week or can you put it in the fridge?
    Thanks

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    1. The good bacteria doesn't like the frisge temps so it'd have to be somewhere relatively warm (consistently over 70)

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  21. I have five mature apple trees and five more little ones, which will some day, be big ones! I put vinegar on my potatoes, veggies. I use it for itchy insect bites, too! Pat it on and the itch is gone.
    Favorite 'recipe' is to cook down organic kale, add a bit of honey, apple cider vinegar, raisins and a bit of mustard. We love it.
    Thanks for posting.

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    1. We love kale and what a great combination with raisins! Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. Thanks! I LOVE this idea! I wish I could grasp the whole kombucha thing as well. I want to try this stuff very badly. Me and my husband were 16 years apart and we spent 12 very happy years together. I wish you both the best!

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  23. i have a bag of apples that are starting to go bad...would they be ok to use for this, or do the apples have to be fresh...Thanks

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  24. I brush my teeth with it and baking soda. I have a bag of cow feed baking soda from the feed store, which does not clump and is grainier, that I scrub sink, toilet and bath tub with, then pour vinegar on. I use it on my hair, for scratches from kitty, on my face with baking soda to treat oily skin. I put it on a lot of food. (Fill Cholula bottles with it, pouring the vinegar in a squirt plastic mustard container.) Vinegar keeps ants off your counter tops. Vinegar and paper towels quickly cleans floors, with or without a little soda. I mix honey, vinegar, a drop of peppermint oil for salad dressing. (Put broccali tops in a quarter inch of this salad dressing, and leave it out for snacks.)

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  25. would you mind installing a Pin It button??

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    1. Yes we will install that look for it as an update real soon!

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  26. Apple vinegar (never white) is also great for your hair. It balances the ph of the skin, is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic.

    It's the best thing to use if you have dandruff. It will get rid of excess oil, unplug hair follicles and get rid of any build up on your hair leaving it super soft.

    I have a lot of grey hair and it keeps the hair white and soft.

    I take 1 cup of apple vinegar to 2 cups of water, pour all over making sure to rub it into the scalp and then let sit for 10-15 minutes, shampoo and condition as normal.

    If you have really bad dandruff use it every day till the dandruff goes away and then you can probably cut back to doing the treatment a couple times a week.

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  27. So how long can the ACV stay in the jars out of the frig?

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  28. I freeze my apple scraps until I get enough if I don't have a big batch, then I put them in a jar or jug with distilled water. I let it sit in a warm dark place for a few weeks, strain and it's done. I haven't tried sugar but it has worked without it.

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  29. I have "real" apple juice from local farmers. Is there a way to use it to make the vinegar?

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    1. Sounds like a bit of a waste, I'd turn it in to hard cider

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  30. Making this year's batch! Last year's really matured as time went on but there is a lot of stuff floating in it now and I am not sure we should still be eating it... Once this one has matured I'll use up the old one on my hair thanks to the suggestions above!

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    1. Yay Willow! Everyone has such great recommendations!

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  31. How does is work by simply soaking apple scraps? Traditionally, you press the apples, and ferment that. First you get hard cider, then what is left from that continues until it is ACV. I cna't imagine that just soaking the apples would give you anywhere near the same strength.

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    1. It does work and I we look forward to making this every fall. It really builds up flavor and is perfect on the table with braised greens around Thanksgiving! If you give it a try we would love to hear how it turns out!

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  32. I can testify this method works, I followed these instructions a year ago. I expect by adding the sugar you are fermenting/growing something. After only a few days it is smelling and is much darker, quite amazing from a few scraps. Once you bottle it up it continues to mature without the scraps. Some of my jars worked better than others so i mixed them all up together. You have to be very careful of metal lid corrosion and fruit flies.

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    1. Good advice Willow and those dang fruit flies have been driving me crazy this year!

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    2. a great home trap for them damn fly is made by putting clear wrap over a yellow bottle that contains bait (fruit etc!). pull the wrap tight over the opening and poke a small hole. works great! good luck

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  33. I have an apple tree in my backyard that has never produced good apples. They either have worms or some other things. I dont know. But it kills me to just throw them away. Could I use these for AVC?

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    1. I would certainly give it a try it cannot hurt! Let us know if you are successful!

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    2. Try spreading some pot ash around the bottom of the tree, thats what my grandmother use to do when her fruit trees had wormy fruit.

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  34. AWESOME!! I use apple cider vinegar for so many things! In laundry to get rid of odors (my cat likes to pee on my husband's clothes!), to wipe down counter tops to keep ants away, clean windows...you have NO idea how many uses there are for the stuff! This is great to know!

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  35. This is a great post! I once made ACV from fresh apple cider that I left in a dark, cool room (in a glass jug) for months. It was excellent and it even grew combucha mother.

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  36. I use ACV everyday! I use it as a hair rinse, I use it on my feet to keep athletes foot away as I am super sporty and so are my kids. I have used it on warts & burns. But even more wierd is a drink it straight in the shower and it makes my eyes super ice blue! As it is apparently a super detoxifier. Once I have started I never having aching bones, muscles and never get sick!

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  37. Oh and the best thing it gets rid of acne on your face & back. My teenager son was suffering severely from it for the last year and I read about using ACV on Pinterest. So I said just try it. They are not gone yet but he has only been using it for 2 weeks but they are substantially reduced and his skin is beginning to show through again. I give it another 6 weeks to a clear skin.

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  38. I suggest 2 teaspoons of ACV mixed with 2 teaspoons of honey. Mix together in a glass, then fill with water and stir. Have at each meal, sipping it throughout the meal as you would coffee. The acidity puts the body into a healthy place not allowing bad bacteria to grow.

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  39. I started a batch of ACV from scraps about 10 days ago and it was bubbling and effervescent but when I checked on it, the liquid is very viscose. Is this normal at this point?

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    1. It sounds like everything is correct. I would strain it into jars and allow to ferment longer.

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  40. After you let it sit out with the plate and bowl on it and you strain just the liquid into jars you put lids on- you say to use cheese cloth then a lid since the cheese cloth prevents corrosion. Can I just just a plastic lid or no? I have been buying the Ball brand plastic lids for my canning jars. I dont have any cheese cloth on hand and dont feel like going and getting some but would love to make this if I could close it with a plastic lids.

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  41. So glad I found this! We use a lot of apple cider vinegar with our horses and dogs. We add it to their water to help keeps those pesky flies away and I also use it to make fly spray. I love all the other uses others have mentioned!

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    1. Jessa, so glad you found us! We were also amazed at all of the suggestions and uses other people had for ACV also. We learn something new with each comment!

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  42. Since I have several apple trees laden to the ground, once I start making applesauce, can I put the peelings in a crock to start fermenting and then in 1/2 gallon jars?

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  43. I realize this is an old post...but I just found my way here and am eager to give it a go...worried about fruit flies though...I just had to chuck my kombucha mother b/c the fruit flies got in...any good prevention tips on this problem??

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    1. Whew, we are so sorry we had an issue with fruit flies also. If you can do this in the cooler months it will help. Pesky fruit flies!

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    2. easy to create a trap for them flies!!! cover a yellow bottle (mustard) with wrap and poke a toothpick hole. place bait it bottom. works great!! add some acv is you want them dead quicker!! good luck

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  44. I use 1 teaspoon in 4 oz water for heartburn
    ( 19 apart and lovin' it )

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  45. I'm getting more mold growing in the jars since I've strained it from the fermenting stage, is this normal, do I just strain them again or wait the full six weeks first?

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    1. If it is in the liquid you can just strain it out with a spoon. If it is growing on the jars we suggest trying again after running the jars through the dishwasher or boil the jars for 15 minutes.

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  46. I'm the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It's sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I'd love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

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  47. ACV... soak berries, celery, and other fruits and veggies in 1 cup ACV to 1 gallon water and they will stay fresh for a couple of weeks rather than going bad before you can use the....and it will wash off any bugs, dirt or pesticides if store bought.

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  48. I made this with your directions. I was so excited! My concern is that after going through the straining process, my 4 jars have a layer of skum/mold on top that eventually falls to the bottom of the jar and then it starts all over again. Can I still use this? What am I doing wrong that this is continuing to happen? I strained it twice, and have material on the jar before I put on the metal lid and ring.

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  49. Acv along with Listerine (you can Google the amounts of water Listerine & Acv) needed to soak your feet. It does wonders to remove skin build up on your feet. After soaking your feet for 15 minutes, wipe away the dead skin & your feet will be so smooth! it really works.

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  50. i have the mother growing on top as well as sediment in the bottom- do i strain it again?

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    1. That is what we would do. Some people have complained about mold and we just skimmed it off the top. Others started a new batch. If you do start over make sure you sterilize your jars well.

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  51. I use lots of apple cider vinegar..we have a horse and as she is barefoot we take care of her hooves and sole by spraying with a mix of apple cider vinegar and herbal oils to keep the sole hard and prevent any infection..works like a charm and so much better than usual aerosol treatments. Thanks..will definately try maki g my own vinegar.

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  52. very interesting I'll try

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    1. After you strain and jar the liquid do you refrigerate it? Do you open the jars daily if it continues to ferment?
      Melanie

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  53. A cup of OJ, honey and ACV. Everyday for 4 months and I've lost 33 pounds.

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  54. I usually read blogs, but don't participate in them, I have used vinegar for cleaning and I use Braggs vinegar and honey drink and find it refreshing and it gives me energy. But WOW!, I didn't know there were so many other uses for vinegar. I am going to try and make some of that home made vinegar!! Here's another use for Braggs or other organic, non filtered APV. Use as an eye wash or eye drops. Braggs measurements are 1/3 teaspoon to 4 ounces of sterile water. If it stings a little bit at first you might want to delute it a bit more. I have used it for over a year and when I got my eyes checked the Dr said my eyes have improved and my new perscription was not as strong as before. love your site. :-)

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  55. We use lots of apple vinegar in Adobo Chicken, a yummy and simple Phillipine dish.

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    1. De, that sounds amazing. If you would not mind sharing a recipe email it to 17apart@gmail.com and Tim might just share it on his blog http://timvidraeats.com Thanks for checking in!

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  56. This is great, thank you for posting! We use Apple Cider Vinegar in our tea to help get rid of colds. Do you know if the "Mother" forms on the bottom with this method - just like you would find in organic ACV?

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  57. Are you sure it's ok to use the apple seeds? They are poisonous, they have natural arsenic.

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P.S. Any comments from the animal kingdom will be forwarded to Basil in a timely manner.