Easy Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
If you aren't already familiar with the many benefits of raw Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV for short, then you've been missing out! You can find loads of information and health claims online, but here are just a few. ACV has been used as a health tonic for centuries. I've taken it when I had a bad cough I couldn't shake, and it really helped me clear the gunky feeling lingering in my lungs. It does inhibit harmful bacteria, and is said to help balance blood sugars. You can use it to preserve foods, treat skin troubles, as a hair rinse (which is amazing by the way!), it makes the best salad dressing, and you can enjoy it as a drink.
Bragg's is the go-to brand for real raw ACV that contains "the mother" a beneficial bacteria that gives raw ACV it's punch. Bragg's even has come out with ACV drinks already mixed and flavored for you. I'm more of a keep it simple girl, so I make my own drink flavored with a dash of cinnamon. Animals also benefit from ACV added into their waters. We do this for our laying hens and goats. They love it. Imagine my excitement when I learned how to make my own at next to zero cost.
Making vinegar is easier than you might think. It is after all one of the oldest techniques that used to be commonplace in households across the globe.
It's a great homestead skill- anyone can make their own Apple Cider Vinegar!
All you need:
a coffee filter, dishtowel, or cheesecloth
Save up your scraps, and fill a mason jar mostly full. Do try to remove seeds as you go, but you don't have to be obsessive about it. You do want to chop scraps into small pieces.
Make your sugar solution: 1 Tablespoon of sugar per cup of non chlorinated water. If you have city tap water, it must be filtered. Or use distilled or bottled water.
Pour your sugar water solution over apple scraps to fill the jar.
Cover the mouth with a breathable cover secured with a rubber band.
Place in a warm, dark place like a kitchen cabinet for 2 weeks.
Strain out apple scraps. These can be fed as a treat to livestock, or added to compost.
Replace strained liquid, re cover, and put back in the cabinet for another 2 weeks.
Keep vinegar stored in a dark place with a lid. It will continue to improve with age. Enjoy!
It's a good idea to check in on your soaking scraps and give them a stir every now and then. Pay attention to the scent as your vinegar develops. You will find it gets more of that vinegar tang as time passes and the solution continues to ferment. You can also use a splash of Bragg's to help kickstart the process, but it is not required. Here's a comparison of my homemade ACV next to a bottle of Bragg's after mine had time to mature, they are nearly indistinguishable. That cloudy appearance is a sign of healthy probiotics in your vinegar.
Here's some of my homemade vinegar compared side by side with store bought Bragg's. The flavor is so delicious, and varies depending on what kind of apples you use.
The best part about this is you can make ACV using apple scraps you would otherwise compost or toss out. The cores, peel, any bruised spots you might cut out- all good for making vinegar! So next time you are cleaning up a batch for baking- just pop that all in a jar to get started. Or you can save scraps in a freezer bag. This is what I do- every time I enjoy an apple, I slice it up- pop the seeds out of leftover core, and toss that into a freezer bag. The scraps will keep just fine until you have enough to fill up the mason jar size of your choosing. I recommend trying this in a quart size or half gallon.
My favorite ways to enjoy ACV:
drizzled along with olive oil on salads
Add 1-2 Tablespoons to a glass of water with a dash of cinnamon for a refreshing drink
Adding to my chickens' and goat's waters at about 1-2 Tablespoons per gallon
I hope you enjoy and share with me your favorite ways to use ACV!