How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar (+ Apple Scrap Vinegar)
How to make apple cider vinegar at home with just 3 ingredients and 6-8 weeks of fermentation. The results are homemade apple cider vinegar (apple scrap vinegar) that is as delicious as store-bought, but at a fraction of the price!
A large jar ( or jars): You can split this between multiple jars or use a single, large one.
Cheesecloth or coffee filter: You need material fine enough to allow air to pass through ( and healthy microbes) but no flies/bugs or unwanted bacteria.
Rubber band: To secure the material to the jar.
Non-metal sieve & Spoon/mixing tool: Avoid metal as it can affect the fermenting process.
apples (or apple 'scraps'- peels and cores)Organic is best. Most varieties will work.
sugar - brown sugar, cane sugar, raw sugar1 tsp of sugar per 1 apple or 2 apples 'scraps'
WaterFiltered or at-least non-chlorinated
Step 1. Sterilize the tools
It’s incredibly important when making any fermented product, to sterilize the tools thoroughly. To do this wash them with hot, soapy water, taking care to wash away all soap suds. Then place in the oven (without any plastic elements) for around 10 minutes at 160ºC/320F.
Step 2. Prepare the apples
You can make this with whole organic apples, or peels and cores leftover from apples. Roughly chop (1 apple into 8 pieces works well for most jars).
Step 3. The First Ferment
Fill your large jar with the apple slices, leaving some ‘wiggle’ room, to allow us to move them about during the fermentation.
Dissolve the sugar in a little filtered water, then pour into the jar and add enough extra water to cover the apples completely. Stir the mixture (hence, we need the wiggle room).
If your apples are floating to the top, then you can weight them down with a small jar or dish that fits the jar.
Cover the jar with a clean cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. This will allow for air flow, without letting bugs and bad bacteria in.
Place in a dark, cool area and allow to ferment for 3-4 weeks at room temperature. Stir the mixture every couple of days ( don’t use metal), moving the apples around so that the ones on top go lower down in the jar. Around the three week period, you should start noticing bubbles in the mixture and a faintly alcoholic smell. By week four the bubbles have usually calmed and the first fermentation is complete.
Step 4. The Second Ferment
After 3-4 weeks, remove the apple pieces and then allow the mixture to ferment for a further 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days.You can save the cultured apples for further use – as you’ll see in the FAQ section.
As the vinegar ages, you may notice some white scum on the top of the mixture, eventually this will grow into a vinegar ‘mother’, that looks fairly similar (and equally as odd) as a kombucha SCOBY.This is natural and the ‘mother’ can be used to help jump-start your next batch of vinegar
Once ready, you can then replace the cheesecloth/filter with a lid or decant into another glass jar. Note that, as this is a raw vinegar, it will continue to get stronger as it ages and get darker in color.Store apple cider vinegar in a cool, dark cupboard/area.
Top Tip: If this is your first time making vinegar then you can speed up the process by adding a few spoonful’s of Braggs apple cider vinegar ‘with the mother’ to the concoction too. This, along with the sugar, will speed up fermentation.
If you want to use apple scraps instead of whole apples (peel and core), no problem. If you don’t have enough in one go then leave the scraps in a bag in the freezer until there's enough.
2-3 apple ‘scraps’ make up one ‘apple’ (in terms of the sugar content needed for the scraps).
Make sure that the apple pieces are fully submerged throughout, or else mold can form and the entire jar will need to be thrown away. You can use a small saucer, jar, or even ‘fermentation weights’ to help weight the pieces.
While the whitish scum on top of the vinegar is normal ( and will become a mother), any other colored scum or mold is not normal.
Fruit flies and other ‘nasties’ love this fermenting mixture so make sure to use fine cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Grocery store cheesecloth is usually too wide to stop the flies from getting through.
If you are a long term vinegar maker, then you’ll notice that the mother grows and adds new layers. This can be given to family/friends to help make their own batches of vinegar. Or keep submerged in vinegar in the fridge and you can use the different mothers for different jars of vinegar.
Read the FAQs section for lots more helpful tips
Recipe on Alphafoodie: https://www.alphafoodie.com/how-to-make-apple-cider-vinegar/