Friday, October 21, 2011

How To Make: Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar isn’t something hard to make. In fact, it’s no harder then making alcohol. It’s about the fermentation process. It doesn’t require very much skill and it’s a great way to use every bit of something that you buy. To make apple cider vinegar all you need is apple scrapes (peels and cores), and water.  Where I live, I am able to compost. I also have chickens so very little gets thrown away in my house. If it doesn’t end up in the compost pile, it ends up being eaten by my chickens. So when I made an apple crumble last week, I almost brought the scrapes to my fine feather friends. What stopped me was the fact that I go through a lot of ACV (apple cider vinegar). I use it often in cooking and for it’s great health benefits. If I could make it with my scrapes, I’d save some money and have the really good kind. So I set out to do it.
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Here’s what you do:
Make sure you’re using organic apples that have been washed in warm water to remove and dirt. Do not use apples that are rotten. Do not use conventionally grown apples like you would find in the super market. These apples are coated in a wax to make them look pretty, not to mention the chemical fertilizers and sprays used to keep bugs away.  Use the apples to make pie or fritter or whatever you want, just make sure to save the cores and the peels. Let the peels sit out at room temp for a few hours or until they turn brown. This is a good thing!
Place the peels into a large, clean glass jar. I used an old cookie jar we’ve had kicking around but mason jars would work nice too. Cover the peels with water and then use either cheese cloth or a paper towel secured with a rubber band to cover the opening of the jar. This allows the jar to breath and bacteria (yeast), to get, but not dust or debris.
Set into a warm, dark place and wait. Soon you’ll see a white frothy looking substance forming on top of the vinegar. This is okay. It’s excess yeast and means that fermentation is taking place. If you see any other colors such as green or black, this is not yeast and your mixture has spoiled. Dump the contents, clean the jar very well and try again. Some times it happens.
The fermentation process will actually happen twice. The first time, it turns to wine. The second time is when it turns to vinegar. After about a month, give it a taste. You’ll notice that fermentation is starting. It can take 6 to 7 months for it to turn to vinegar. Taste it once a week or so and when it’s strong enough for you, drain and bottle.
That’s it! You now have apple cider vinegar!

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