It’s fall and it’s time for the visit to a local apple orchard, one of my favorite things to do. I eat apples year round, but autumn brings a fresh crop of so many different kinds of juicy apples. Apples to eat and apples to put in baskets on my table. I don’t know about you, but I try to use all the apples. I like to eat a crisp fresh apple daily. It has been reported it decreases the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, but the truth is, I don’t really need a reason. Fall means apple crisps, apple pies, apple sauce, apple yogurt toast…. the list goes on and on. Today let’s talk about all those apple peels and cores and even the whole apples that have sat in bowls and aren’t quite crisp.
I’ve read lots of blog posts over the years, and my favorite posts are how-tos. I like the idea of being more self-sufficient and learning skills my great-grandmother knew. One of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen is apple cider vinegar. It’s so tasty in salads and so good for you. (See Apple Cider vinegar for its health benefits and uses.) I use organic of course. I don’t like the nasty chemicals in regular vinegar. Nope not for me. I’ve read more than one blog post on how to make apple cider vinegar. It sounded easy, and it’s time for me to give it a try. It’s also good to know red apples contain more sugar than green ones, so red apples make stronger vinegar. Do not use bruised or rotten apples. It is okay to use browned cut apple pieces. Like to eat a mix of apple varieties? Save the scraps in the freezer and make a vinegar with a more complex flavor. Use organic sugar for best results. Honey and other natural sweeteners will slow down the process of fermentation.
Why not save cores and peels to give this a try? Whether you make an apple crisp or apple sauce, save your peelings and cores. You can use them to make apple cider vinegar. You need enough apple cores and peelings to fill a jar. This way you have virtually no waste!
I love the fact that making vinegar does not take great cooking skills. Anyone can do it with apples, glass bottles, sugar and water, and a little time. The fermentation process time varies with the season – less during summer, a bit longer during colder months. You will know your vinegar is ready when you will notice a dark, cloudy bacterial foam – this is called the Mother and can easily be noticed when holding the vinegar to light. This mother can be used to jump-start future vinegar batches. You can remove it and store it separately, but I just allow mine to float around in the vinegar as I store it. It’s full of enzymes and minerals that over-processed vinegars do not have.
NOTE: It’s generally recommended that you do NOT use homemade vinegar for any sort of preservation. In order to ensure the safety of your home canned products, you need a vinegar with an acetic acid level of 5%. Since most of us don’t have a way to check the levels of our homemade vinegar, it’s best just to skip using it for canning or preserving– better safe than sorry!
Homemade Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Use organic apples & sugar. Quantity depends on size of glass jar and amount of apple parts to fill jar.
Homemade Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Sterilized glass jars – I used 8 oz jar
- Red apple pieces/scraps including core & peel to fill 3/4 of glass jar
- Cheesecloth or coffee filter
- Filtered Water
- Sugar 1 tablespoon per cup of water
- Fill glass jar with apples 3/4 of way to top
- Mix water and sugar & stir
- Amount of water depends on jar size
- Pour water over apples covering them completely
- Cover jar with cheesecloth or coffee filter & rubber band
- This allows ingredients to breathe but protects it
- Place in a dark warm place to ferment for 3 weeks
- Strain liquid removing solids
- Return to jar & cover again
- Return to dark warm place (my pantry) for 4 to 6 weeks
- Stir with wooden spoon every few days
- After 4 weeks taste vinegar
- If not ready return to dark place
- Taste again every week
- Once it reaches an acidity you like, transfer it to a new bottle with a lid
- Store in refrigerator
My vinegar was mild and quite tasty. I’m going to make more this year with all the wonderful apples I buy.
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