How to make Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Having found a functional, reasonably priced, glass vessel which allows for the easy dispensing of liquid that will look nice on my benchtop, I thought I’d try my hand at making apple cider vinegar.

Fortunately, organic, unpasteurised ACV is fairly common in Australia, you can buy it in the big chain supermarkets or just about any health food store. But I’m a cheapskate, and I’m experimenting, so I thought I’d make my own to use for salad dressings, drinking (diluted in water), making herbal tonics and washing my hair.

Please read my recipe note about using organic produce.

P1010030

The reasonably priced, functional, glass jar of dispensing

You will need:

  • a glass jar, at least 500mL (1 pint) capacity that has been sterilised;
  • apples. Any kind will work ok, but the most interesting ACV is made from a mixture of sweet, sour and bitter apples. Late season (autumn and winter ripening) varieties have more sugar in them, and will therefore make a stronger vinegar. I used the juicing apples from the local organic shop; they’re not pretty, but they taste just fine. It’s not quite apple season in Melbourne yet, but my trees are blossoming with promise.
  • Knife and chopping block;
  • Juicer or cider press. This is not compulsory, but makes life so much easier. If you don’t have a juicer, a grater and a bowl will be needed instead.
  • Piece of cheese cloth, old (clean!) handkerchief or tea towel (linen works best in my fermenting experience) which has also been sterilised;
  • a rubber band and
  • a permanent marker or labels

I’m going to assume that you’re working in your kitchen and so will have access to water and a container/sink in which to wash your apples.

Process:

Wash your apples. Add a tablespoonful of white vinegar to the water if you're not using organic apples. Tell me why you're not using organic apples?!

1. Wash your apples. Add a tablespoonful of white vinegar to the water if you’re not using organic apples. Tell me why you’re not using organic apples in the comments, I’m curious.

Cut out any blemishes that have broken the skin. Bruises are ok to leave, unless they are large and the flesh is all mushy underneath.

2. Cut out any blemishes that have broken the skin. Bruises are ok to leave, unless they are large and the flesh is all mushy underneath.

3. Cut your apples up so they'll fit in your juicer. If you don't have a juicer, feel free to grate the apples into a bowl, leaving the skins ON and skip to step X.

3. Cut your apples up so they’ll fit in your juicer. If you don’t have a juicer, feel free to leave the apples whole and grate them into a bowl, leaving the skins ON and skip to step 6.

3a. Please DON'T drop your apple slices on the floor.

3a. Please DON’T drop your apple pieces on the floor.

3b. If you happen to drop your apple pieces on the floor, make sure to rinse them in the wash water again. They are still fine to use. Even if your floor looks like mine. No really, it's ok. But I'll totally understand if you're squeamish and want to compost that piece.

3b. If you happen to drop your apple pieces on the floor, make sure to rinse them in the wash water again. They are still fine to use. Even if your floor looks like mine. No really, it’s ok. But I’ll totally understand if you’re squeamish and want to compost that piece.

4. Juice your apples.

4. Juice your apples.

Close up of apple juice. My juicer is a centrifical juicer, so produces a lot of foam which causes the juice to oxidise if ot drunk immediately, but that's ok for making ACV because we WANT the juice to have oxygen in it.

Close up of apple juice. My juicer is a centrifugal juicer, so produces a lot of foam which causes the juice to oxidise if not drunk immediately, but that’s ok for making ACV because we WANT the juice to have oxygen in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Strain your juice into your jar. The observant among you will notice that I didn't put it straight into the functional, reasonably priced vessel of dispensing. Gold stars all round. This is because I hadn't sterilised it yet and I wanted to make the experiment NO-OW, so I used one of my store of pre-sterilised glass jars instead.

5. Strain your juice into your jar. The observant among you will notice that I didn’t put it straight into the functional, reasonably priced glass vessel of dispensing. Gold stars all round. This is because I hadn’t sterilised it yet and I wanted to make the experiment NO-OW, so I used one of my store of pre-sterilised glass jars instead.

6. Label your jar somehow. If you get into the growing of various microbial cultures throughout your kitchen like I have, you'll need to know what's in the jar . . . I recommend permanent marker for this because you can write straight onto the dry jar and it will wash off with a little elbow grease when you're ready to reuse the jar. Gold stars to those of you who noticed that, once again, I've not followed y own advice, hence I won't know what year this ACV was made. Somehow, I don't think it will last long enough to be a problem.

6. Label your jar somehow. If you get into the growing of various microbial cultures throughout your kitchen like I have, you’ll need to know what’s in the jar . . . I recommend permanent marker for this because you can write straight onto the dry jar and it will wash off with a little elbow grease when you’re ready to reuse the jar. Gold stars to those of you who noticed that, once again, I’ve not followed my own advice, hence I won’t know what year this ACV was made. Somehow, I don’t think it will last long enough to be a problem.

Then you just need to put your cloth of choice over the jar mouth and secure it with a rubber band. Set the jar in a dark place at room temperature and give it a shake every day for two weeks, at least once per day, being careful not to spill the liquid (remember that the cover is porous!). You’ll be able to tell when it’s turned from apple cider into vinegar because it will develop the appropriate odour.

Once you can smell the vinegar, taste the liquid about once per week until you reach the sourness that you like. It’s then ready to use. If you want to stop the vinegar from fermenting further, just filter the liquid through a sterilised cloth into a sterilised jar to remove the mother culture and store in a cool, dark place. This vinegar does not need to be refrigerated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *