Apple cider vinegar has so many health benefits and is really easy to make yourself.
Check out my post on the many wonderful health benefits of apple cider vinegar with ‘the mother’. Click HERE for more info.
Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the mother) can be quite expensive to buy every month, so making your own really makes sense; especially during the autumn months when organic apples are in such abundance. Apple cider vinegar can be made easily at home at any time of year, however autumn varieties tend to have a higher sugar content which aids the fermentation process and can help produce a stronger more effective end product.
Apple cider vinegar has been used, tried and tested for hundreds of years and is such a wonderful product to have available for your family and has many uses in the home, as well as medicinal properties. It is naturally anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti viral so can be used as a cheaper, safer, non toxic alternative to chemical cleaning products, it makes a great hair de-tangler and conditioner, and quickly clears up bacterial, fungal, viral and yeast infections very effectively as well as improving the body’s cell function. It has the ability to re mineralise the body, and top many useful vitamins and trace elements such as calcium, potassium and magnesium and also can help regulate metabolism, regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
There are a couple of methods I personally use to make my apple cider vinegar. Below I have listed instructions for both methods. One method is to juice/press the apples to make a hard cider from the juice, which will eventually turn into vinegar. The other method is to use the scraps, cores and peel etc. of the apples to produce vinegar, you could also make some pies while you’re at it! Both methods are really easy and satisfying.
You will need-
- · Apples
- · Large glass jars
- · Cheese cloth
- · Water
- · Brewers cider yeast (optional)
- Electric or manual juicer / apple press (optional)
- Firstly you will need to wash your jars and apples to get rid of any dust, dirt and bugs etc. You can also cut out any brown bruised spots or damaged areas of the apples. You will be using a large portion of the apples so there will be hardly any waste. The unusable bruised bits can be put on the compost. Do not use metal containers for your vinegar, it will corrode metal or aluminium. Plastic, wood, enamel, or stainless steel containers can be used to make and store vinegar, but I always use and would always recommend glass containers.
- Once your apples and equipment are clean, you can begin peeling, chopping and juicing. If you don’t have a juicer you can still make apple cider vinegar from the apple scraps or whole apples if you wish. I usually use both the juice and scraps. (you can make pies and save the scraps by placing them in your jars)
- If you do have a juicer (or are lucky enough to have access to a press) juice your apples, keeping the peel on. I like to chop my apples removing the cores and keep the scraps separate.
- Fill a large jar with the juiced or pressed apple juice and another jar with the scraps. Fill the scraps jar with enough fresh filtered water to cover the scraps. (it’s okay to allow the scraps to turn brown before adding the water)
- Once your containers are filled – you should have a jar filled with pure apple juice and/or a jar filled with scraps and water.
6. Using the first method – take your jar of pure apple juice, make sure it is about 3/4 full. Now is the time to add some cider yeast if you wish. (you can get this from a home brew supply shop) Although this is not absolutely necessary as there will be natural yeast present in the mixture. Adding cider yeast will just speed up the process.
7. Do not cover with a solid lid but place a piece of cheesecloth over the top with an elastic band. This will allow air to pass through aiding the fermentation process.
Oxygen is spread throughout the mixture by stirring daily and by allowing air to reach the mixture through the cheesecloth top. The temperature of the fermenting cider should be ideally kept between 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures don’t always produce use-able vinegar and higher temperatures interfere with the formation of ‘the mother’ of the vinegar. Place your jars in a warm dark place out of direct sunlight- an airing cupboard is ideal, where it is warm and dark.
Within 3-4 weeks (remembering to stir the juice/cider mixture daily) the fermentation process should be complete. The mixture can be left for longer to produce a stronger more effective vinegar. Do not filter the vinegar when it’s ready – instead stir the mother well into the mixture before bottling, this ensures that a good quantity of ‘the mother’ will be present in each stored bottle of vinegar. It is ‘the mother’ of the vinegar that contains many live enzymes and give the vinegar it’s amazing health benefits.
Like apple juice the best apple cider vinegar’s are organic, unfiltered, and raw (unpasteurized)
If you are using the scraps method – you should have a jar filled with scraps covered with filtered water. Cover the top with a piece of cheesecloth secured with an elastic band. Place the jar in a warm, dark place such as the airing cupboard (as with the first method) and allow to ferment for at least a month, no stirring necessary. After a few days you’ll notice the contents start to thicken and a grey-ish scum and bubbles will form on the top. Don’t worry this is normal. After about a month you will notice the contents will smell like vinegar, you can now strain out the scraps and bottle the vinegar – ensuring that you keep as much of ‘the mother’ sediment off the bottom as you can.
These containers should produce around 12 litres of good quality apple cider vinegar. As a family we use between 1-2 litres a month (cooking, cleaning, medicinal and cosmetic uses) so this first batch of the season will provide us with much of our yearly supply at very little cost. (good quality ACV costs around £10-£13 per litre to buy!)
To produce this amount of cider vinegar I used about 4 carrier bags of apples from my garden, my neighbours garden and other donated organic apples from friends gardens. So no pesticides, preservatives or other nasties!
Enjoy your vinegar making!