Thursday, July 7, 2016

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar

How to make your own apple cider vinegar

Making your own apple cider vinegar is so easy, you don't really need a recipe, just a large jar, some organic apples or apple scraps, filtered water, raw sugar and patience.

To start, sterilize the jar you'll use.  To make life easy I use these fermenting jars available from Amazon and cover them with cheesecloth. 

Next, wash and cut the whole apples in pieces that fit easily into your jar.  You can also use apple scraps for this, so if you're making applesauce or pies, use the peels and cores.

Now fill the jar 3/4 will apple pieces, add about 3 tablespoons of raw sugar to about a cup of water and stir to dissolve, fill with more filtered water, if necessary, to cover. Secure a piece of cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar with a rubberband.  Unlike sauerkraut, vinegar needs to breathe, so don't obstruct the airflow.

While the vinegar is fermenting, you'll see whitish bubbles around the top of the jar and a cloudy mass will form in the liquid, this is called the "mother".  Both are completely normal.  Discolored bubbles,slime or mold are not normal and mean your batch is contaminated and needs to be discarded.

Put in a warm, dark  place (it needs a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees F)  leave for 3 weeks then strain out the apple pieces, put the cheesecloth back on and return to the warm dark place for about 6 more weeks.  Stir it with a plastic or wooden spoon every few days, tasting it each time.  When it reaches the taste you want, strain out the mother if you like (save it in a little of the liquid for your next batch of vinegar) and transfer the vinegar to capped bottles.  It will keep indefinitely if you pasturize it (heat it to 140 degrees in a water bath canner) .  If you prefer it raw, the FDA has determined an "official" shelf life of 3-5 years.  It doesn't require refrigeration, just keep it out of direct sunlight.   These bottles are perfect for your home brewed cider, they are reusable and keep the sunlight out (I also use them for my home made extracts)

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