Don’t you just love September? I mean, August is great and all with its long days, the abundance of tomatoes and its explosion of life in general. But, August is also intense, especially this year being so hot and dry and with all the wildfires going on. Hence it’s such a relief that September has arrived with cooler nights, stormy days and even some long-awaited rain. Besides, September is also apple time!
As a kid, I used to ‘steal’ apples on my way back from school and I assure you those apples were the juiciest. As a teenager, I earned some extra money by legally picking apples and I have lovely memories of drinking coffee in the apple yard and having lunch with fresh apples.
Maybe I’m spoiled with those tasty memories from the Dutch apple region, but hardly ever do I find tasty apples on the market these days unless I buy them in September. So, take advantage of the apple season and buy and eat them now.
Apples are healthy, tasty, locally grown (for most of us) and versatile. Eat them, bake them, juice them, and never throw the cores or peels away!
Why apple scrap vinegar?
What is apple scrap vinegar? It’s basically the same as apple cider vinegar (ACV), but instead of cider, we use scraps. The sugar of the apples will be converted into alcohol and then the alcohol will be converted into vinegar.
So, why? Why should you bother making apple scrap/cider vinegar? Well, first of all, it’s cool to make your own stuff, especially when it costs you next to nothing. Secondly, it’s healthy. A quick google search on apple cider vinegar learns it may help to improve digestion & lose weight, it may lower blood sugar, pressure & cholesterol, and it can be used as a beauty product. Thirdly, you can use it to preserve other produce. And lastly, you can use it as a cleaning product. Conventional cleaning products are full of harmful chemicals and the biological alternatives tend to be either very expensive or hard to find.
You can use any kind of apples as long as they are organic, spray-free apples. The apples don’t necessarily have to be very tasty. The apples I used this year came from the neglected apple trees in front of our new home. Rather than leaving them to rot, I cut out all the rotten and bruised bits, gave the worms a new home and discarded the rest to compost. You can use whole apples, if you won’t eat them otherwise, or use scraps.
- Any glass container will do, but if you can choose, choose the one with the widest mouth as it increases the surface area to house the friendly bacteria. If you have one with a tap, that’s awesome as it makes straining easier, but this is really not a must-have.
- A cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel
- Something to stirr
- Patience, as it will take about 30 days
- Wash your apples, cut everything into roughly the same sizes and fill your jar leaving enough space to fill it with equal part water. You can weigh your ingredients or just eyeball them. It really doesn’t have to be so precise.
- Fill a clean jar (no need to sterilize) with approximately the same amount of water. It’s crucial you either use bottled or filtered water or tap water that has been dechlorinated – which is easily done by boiling & cooling or by leaving it to off gas all the chlorine for 24 hours.
- Cover your jar with a cloth and slightly put on the lid of your jar or fasten the jar with an elastic or cord. Just keep in mind you’ll have to stir it at least once a day.
- Place it somewhere visible so you’ll be reminded to stir it every day. Your apples will float at first and the apples that are exposed to the air will most likely form mould. To avoid this we stir!
- Observe. Observe and be amazed by the magic of wild fermentation. You’ll see how bubbles will form and how the smell and colour change over time. You can also taste your brew and notice all the subtle changes day by day.
- Strain. Once all your apples sank to the bottom they’re done fermenting and are no longer needed. You can now strain your brew and compost the apples.
- Wait. Wait a little longer, about 10 days or so, until you are happy with the taste. During this time the acetic acid bacteria will convert the alcohol into vinegar. It’s a bacteria that like oxygen, so don’t bottle your vinegar just yet or leave the bottles open.
I have found that normal clean is clean enough for fermenting and you don’t have to sterilize anything. Just wash, rinse and air dry your hands, produce, utensils and work surface. If you have been stirring your apples and still see something strange stuff forming on the surface, stay calm as it’s most likely a ‘mother’. A vinegar mother it a layer floating on top and it’s where the bacteria like to hang out. Don’t toss it, you can filter it out later when you’re going to bottle your vinegar.
Even though it’s most likely a harmless mother, have a good look at it as it can also be mould. Mould can be easily recognized by being hairy and colorful. Mould also grows different and doesn’t form a thin layer, but rather grows small bits. This site has some good pictures for reference. When it’s mold you can scope it out or start a new batch. Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you have tried to make apple scrap/cider vinegar before, but you keep getting mould try to use a jar with a wider mouth so your bacteria can breath better, add some sugar (refined would be best) and/or some organic non-pasteurizad vinegar to kick-start your brew.
Well, I think that’s all. Let me know if something isn’t clear or if you have any other questions. ‘Till next time lovelies!
3 thoughts on “How to make Apple Scrap Vinegar”
Thank you so much for sharing, I’ve just strained and bottled my first ever batch of scrap apple vinegar! 😊 It’s been a really fascinating process watching and tasting at every stage and so ridiculously simple that next year I plan to make lots more. Bonne année, Marita !
This just made my day! Thanks a lot for letting me know the results. I’m sure you’ll now start to think of all the uses for vinegar you never thought of before. Keep the bottle visible at the kitchen top and start adding it into your recepies. A little acidity livens up most dishes, next year you’ll want to make 10 liters! 😁
Happy & bubbling new year to you!!