HOMEMADE ORGANIC RAW APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (ACV)
Making your own ACV is VERY easy and inexpensive.
This recipe uses whole apples but you can also use just apple scraps and get the same result.
The fermentation process depends a bit on season and the warmth of your house – less during summer, a bit longer during colder months.
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 2-3 months
- 3 small apples (core and peel included, no stem) – see note 1
- 50g raw sugar (such as muscovado)
- filtered water to cover
Wash and chop your apples into medium sized pieces (or use the peels and cores of 6-7 small apples after making a pie). Place them in a clean, rinsed and sterilisedwide mouth jar (see note 2).
- Mix the sugar with 250ml of water and pour on top of the apples.
- Add more water if needed to cover the apples and weight the apples to keep them under the water (see note 3).
- Cover the jar with a paper towel or a cheesecloth and secure it with a band. This keeps nasties away while letting the liquid breathe.
- Place the jar in a warm, dark place for 2-3 weeks – such as a utility room (see note 4), until the liquid is bubbly and cloudy. It should smell like cider.
- Strain out the liquid and discard the apple pieces.
- Return the liquid to the same jar and cover it again (same paper or cheesecloth).
- Return the jar to the same warm, dark place and leave it do its thing for roughly 4 to 6 weeks, stirring with a plastic or wooden spoon every few days or so. I often forget to stir mine every day, it doesn’t really seem to matter!
- After the first 4 weeks, you can begin to also taste your vinegar and once it reaches an acidity you like, you can actually transfer it to a bottle with a lid and begin using it.
- Organic vs non-organic. If using organic apples, you can use all of the apple – core, peel, everything, as long as there are no rotten bits. If using conventional apples, discard the peel as it retains a lot of pesticides.
- When cleaning and sterilising the jar, make sure it is rinsed well to avoid soap-residue or anything that could spoil your brew.
- The apples may float to the surface in the initial few days, and if not using a special fermentation jar with an insert to keep foods below water level, they will need to be weighted down. Use a large glass jar for the ACV with a wide enough mouth to be able to use a honey-sized jar as a weight. This jar also needs to be sterilised prior to use, and if it has small indentations on the bottom that you cannot thoroughly clean, put it into a bpa-free plastic zip lock bag.
- Then cover the entire thing with cheesecloth and secure it with a band. You can use anything sterile that will keep the apples submerged.
- Bubbles mark the start of the fermentation process.
- The white scum that forms on top of the ferment is good. It is a natural outcome of the fermentation and it is what forms the mother in a few weeks time.
- Any other scum of any other colour (green, blue, grey, black) is not good. Discard to compost and start again. When bad mould is on any type of food, it is not located only where you can see it with the naked eye. It can release toxins and spores and spoil the brew.
- Stainless steel sieves seem ok to use in this case as they are only briefly in contact with the ferment. However, for the stirring that needs to be done more often, a plastic, wooden or ceramic spoon should be used.
- Types of sugar: raw sugar works best. There are questions about honey, which works, but not as well. The process is slower and the end vinegar not as strong. If using honey, it is best to alternate it with raw sugar. Honey has anti-bacterial properties and this may impact on the end product.