Apple cider vinegar is like the ultimate allrounder which will always come handy for your sustainable live.
It is a very healthy food as it contains all the vitamins and minerals of the apple, like folic acid, beta carotene, vitamin B and vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and iron. As a summery apple cider vinegar contains many things our body needs during a wet and cold winter to stay healthy. You can also use the apple cider vinegar for a healthy morning drink, to support your diet, or simply to make a very tasty salad dressing.
As it also contains a weak acid it can help protect and restore the acidic coat of our hair and skin. Therefore you can use it for a leave-in hair softener or simply as a toner you can use after washing for face.
Right now, in autumn you can buy local grown apples everywhere for a pretty reasonable prince. And because apple cider vinegar is also a kind of preserving apples I thought, why don’t you produce your own apple cider vinegar for the winter. I know most of the recipes you can find are quite complicated. You need to make apple juice, then ferment it into apple cider, buy a vinegar mother and so on and on. After researching for some time I found a really easy recipe for producing your own apple cider vinegar. It needs some time but everybody can do it without any special equipment and a vinegar mother is not required as it will be grown in the process.
What you need to make homemade apple cider vinegar:
- A jar with a minimum of 2l capacity
- At least 500g Apples or the peel of apples
- 2 table spoons of sugar for each kilogram of apples
- Water (must not be chlorinated)
Step 1: Cleaning everything
It will take a while until you get your vinegar. To prevent mould during the process it is really important to clean everything carefully to kill all the bacteria and spores. An easy way to clean your jar and tools, is to use a solution of soda and hot water. The smaller tools like knives and spoons you can put into boiling water for a while to make sure they are sterile. Also, I recommend to wipe (even if it is already cleaned) your countertop with an alcoholic cleaner. Furthermore, you also need to wash the apples before using them otherwise dirt on the peel could cause mould in the vinegar.
During the whole process, as soon as you spot mould on the top of the jar, stop the process immediately and start from the beginning with new ingredients.
Step 2: Put everything together
After everything is clean, you need to cut the apples (only if you use whole apples) into small pieces. There is no need for removing the kernels or the peel. Only rotten spots need to be removed. For a 3,5l jar I used about 1kg of apples. As soon as you have your vinegar mother you don’t need that many apples anymore.
Put the apple pieces and the sugar into the jar and fill it up with water until the apples are covered with water. At the beginning the apples are swimming on the surface. It must not be chlorinated water as the chlorine would kill any of the bacteria you want to grow. Cover the jar with a clean tea towel or kitchen towel and fix it with an elastic band. It is really important that the jar is not sealed airtight. Because during the fermentation process oxygen is required.
Step 3: Stirring and waiting
Put the jar on a warm place. Now you need to wait. Furthermore, you should stir the apple cider vinegar with a cleaned spoon to push the apple slices of the top back to the bottom, once a day. It is totally normal and intended when the apple cider vinegar begins to foam. That means that the fermentation process is working. After some days it will smell like apple cider, because the sugar turns into alcohol.
Step 4: Remove the apple slices
After 1-2 weeks you will start to smell a vinegar like odour. Also, the apple slices will eventually begin to sink to the bottom of the jar. They need to be removed as soon as they do. Pour everything through a sieve and fill the liquid into another jar and cover it again with a kitchen or tea towel. As before all tools use must be 100% clean and free of germs.
Step 5: The acetic fermentation
Now the fermentation begins and after 5-6 weeks you will have your first own apple cider vinegar. During that time, you will recognize something like small strings in the jar. This is nothing else than the vinegar mother which begins to grow. After a while it will become something like a jellylike bubble. The vinegar mother is nothing else than culture of acetic bacteria. Don’t throw it away, you can put the vinegar mother into your next apple cidervinegar to accelerate the process.
Step 6: Fill up the apple cider vinegar
As soon as the smell and the taste are to your liking you can fill the apple cider vinegar into some clean bottles and use it.
Caring for the vinegar mother
The vinegar mother should remain in the jar with enough vinegar left that the mother is completely submerged. Occasionally push the vinegar mother carefully back to the bottom of the jar and make sure that the acetic bacteria get enough oxygen as they would die otherwise.
To enlarge your vinegar mother, you just need to feed it. The only thing you have to do is to put some sugar or honey into the jar. The sugar will turn into alcohol and the alcohol will feed the acetic bacteria and let the vinegar mother grow.