‘A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar a day keeps the doctor away’.
I love apple cider vinegar. It is nature’s multi-purpose product. Seriously! I use apple cider vinegar for EVERYTHING. I cook with it, I drink it, I wash my body and hair with it, I clean with it and I cure different ailments with it. If you don’t already use this product, you need to go and get it. Keep some in your kitchen, bathroom and medicine cupboard. When you buy your vinegar, make sure that it’s raw, unfiltered and unpasteurised.
I have been making my own apple cider vinegar for about a year now. I can’t quite describe the amazing feeling of knowing that you have made your own vinegar. From scratch. With your own two hands. It’s truly magical! The art of fermentation is just about the most amazing thing ever.
Making your own apple cider vinegar may seem daunting and time-consuming but it’s so easy and incredibly worth it. To make apple cider vinegar, you first make apple cider which takes about a week or two. Then you strain out the apples and let it ferment for another few weeks which turns the cider into vinegar. The apple cider is so delicious that half of my first batch didn’t get to turn into vinegar.
There are no skills, special ingredients or equipment required, you probably have everything you need in your kitchen. The hardest part of the process is having the patience to sit and wait for weeks/months for the apple cider to work its magic.
Apples – How do you choose the perfect apples for your batch of vinegar? Apple cider vinegar can be made from any apples. Some people only use one variety of apples, while others use a combination of different types. I have only used one variety for my batches but I plan to experiment with my next batch and try mixing different types. Whichever type you choose, it is important that you choose organic apples and thoroughly wash them. As you may already know, apples belong on the dirty dozen list.
Sugar – Pure cane sugar is the most recommended for fermentation. But organic raw honey also works well. Don’t be concerned about the amount of sugar, the bacteria feeds on it during fermentation leaving the final product very low in sugar. Avoid using artificial sweeteners
Water – Filtered water is recommended but I have been using tap water and have produced successful batches time and time again. Just remember to boil the tap water and let it sit overnight to remove the chlorine and any minerals.
Brewing vessels – Any clean glass jar will work such as a quart mason jar.
Clean cloth – The cloth is to cover your jar of vinegar and prevent the fruit flies from gaining access. Make sure your cloth is clean and well secured with a rubber band.
Strainer – To strain out the apples after a week or two.
Before you begin, make sure everything is clean. Clean your apples, equipment and the surface area you will be working on. This is to prevent any bad bacteria from getting in the way and spoiling your apple cider vinegar.
- 4 cups cool boiled water
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 4 medium, ripe apples, cut into chunks or apple scraps
- Large glass jar
- Combine sugar and water in your glass jar, and stir until dissolved. Add the apples, and make sure you leave enough room at the top as the mixture will bubble up.
- Cover the jar with a clean cloth and secure with the rubber band around the top. Place the jar in a warm place.
- If the apple pieces float to the top, find something to weigh it down and make sure the apple pieces are fully submerged under the water.
- How long the first stage of fermentation will take depends on the temperature; warmer temperatures speed up the process and if it's cooler, the process will go much slower. The apple mixture will begin bubbling and that's how you will know that fermentation is underway.
- After about a week or two, the alcohol fermentation stage ends, the bubbling stops and the apple chunks will fall to the bottom of the jar. Strain out the apples and then return the liquid, which is now hard cider back to the jar. Cover the jar with a clean cloth, and place it back in a warm place and let it sit for about 4 weeks or longer.
- After 4 weeks, your vinegar should be ready. Do a taste and smell test, it should have a vinegary smell and tangy taste. If you think it needs more time, let it sit for another week or so and taste it again.
- When it is ready and you are happy with the taste, bottle the vinegar and store in a cool, dark place.