Apple Cider Vinegar is an all-natural product made from fermented apples. Raw, unfiltered, unheated, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is packed full of minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Making ACV at home is a fairly simple process, though it is pretty lengthy.
Buying a good organic, raw apple cider vinegar in the grocery store is expensive, especially if you use it as much as I do. Follow the step-by-step directions below to make your own apple cider vinegar in 10 easy steps. I find the homemade ACV to have better flavor than store bought, but if I do have to buy it, this is my favorite brand.
A good mix of sweet and tart apples make the best tasting vinegars. If using very tart/bitter apples, like crab apples, you’ll want to use a higher ratio of sweet apples.
If all you have is a single apple tree out in the yard don’t be afraid to use the one variety for your apple cider vinegar. You will still make a healthy and delicious vinegar, though the flavor will not be as complex.
Things you’ll need:
- Wide-mouthed 1 gallon glass jar (I like these)
- 5 – 10 organic apples, or enough scraps (peels and cores) to fill jar half full
- Filter water
- Twine or large rubber band
- Cut the apples into quarters, or peel and core them.
- Leave apples, or scraps, to rest at room temperature until they turn brown. I usually leave them sitting for 2 – 3 hours.
- Once browned, put apples in jar.
- Pour in water until apples are covered and jar is almost full, leaving a couple inches space at the top. Best to use filtered water, water containing chlorine or that has a high mineral content can affect the fermentation.
- Cover the jar loosely with cheesecloth and secure in place with twine. The cheesecloth allows oxygen to come in contact with the water, which is necessary for fermentation, while keeping flies and debris out.
- Place the jar in a warm, dark area. The cupboard above the fridge work well for this. You can also store it in the attic during warm weather months.
- Leave jar covered for 6 months, stirring once a week. At the end of the 6 month fermentation period, there will be a layer of “scum” on top of the liquid. There is nothing wrong, this is called “Mother of vinegar” and forms as alcohol turns to vinegar.
- Filter the liquid through the cheesecloth slowly into another glass jar. Cover the new jar of liquid with the same cheesecloth. The scraps of apples we filtered out make a great addition to the compost pile or worm bin.
- Let new jar of liquid stand in a warm, dark place for another 4 – 6 weeks.
- Transfer your now fully-fermented apple cider vinegar into bottles and cap. Store in the pantry out of direct sunlight.
Raw apple cider does not go bad, however, if left for a long time another mother of vinegar will form. There is nothing wrong with this, just strain it out and dilute your vinegar with water if it has become too strong. You can also save the mother and use it in your next batch to speed up the process.
Warning: Do not store vinegar in metal containers, the acids in vinegar corrode the metal.