How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar At Home – From Leftover Apple Scraps!

September 29th, 2015 - filed under: The Food » Recipes

homemade apple cider vinegar diy

Can you believe it’s actually autumn already? It’s true. And even though you couldn’t tell by the current climate here in California, the equinox has come and gone and we are officially Fall-ing.

Which means it’s apple season! And any second, the grocery store shelves will begin to swell under the weight of Honeycrisps and Jonagolds, tart Granny Smiths and crunchy Cripps Pinks. I’ve adored apple season ever since my Portland days, and although we never get quite the abundance and variety down here in the south, I still look forward to this time of year, and all the apple-y goodness it brings. Pumpkin? Meh. Apples? YEAH!

Anyway, enough with the waxing poetic about apples. The point of this post is much more pungent. Ascerbic, even. It’s vinegar. Vinegar of the apple cider variety. HOMEMADE vinegar of the apple cider variety, if we’re being precise.

Because as any DIYer/healthy living enthusiast/home herbalist/natural remedy loving/beauty product making maven worth their salt knows, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is like liquid hippie gold. We use it in our kitchens, in our cleaning, and in our medicine cabinets. We use that stuff by the gallon, and as I always like to say — “Why buy, when you can DIY?”

how to make apple cider vinegar

I’d wanted to do this project for years, and actually I did this project a whole year ago. But it’s a long process that takes a few months to complete, so by the time I was done it didn’t make much sense to post it for you guys — because apple season was already over! So instead I stashed the photos away for an entire year, just patiently biding my time as the seasons continued to cycle.

Until now.

And now, it’s apple season, which means it’s time to start prepping for this project. By which I mean, it’s time to start eating apples.

Go on – eat them!

diy apple cider vinegarapple cider vinegar diy

There ya go!

Now, continue to eat them for a couple of months. Every time you eat an apple, keep the core. If you peel your apples (you heathen), then keep the skins. Throw them in a big plastic or glass container, which you’ll keep in your freezer, tightly sealed. Every time you have an apple core or some apple scraps, open that sucker up, toss in your latest additions, then close it back tight.

Do that for a few months. Do it until you have a few quarts of apple cores/apple scraps.

apple cider vinegar recipe

When you’re ready, withdraw all your apple savings from the freezer bank, and allow them to thaw. Then transfer the whole lot to an extra large (think gallon or so) glass jar, jug, or bowl. Glass only!

Cover the scraps with filtered water. I also added a splash of store bought raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered ACV, to act as a sort of culturing agent — but this is not necessary.

Anyway, you’ll want to cover the scraps with water and then keep them all submerged, similarly to when you make sauerkraut. In some cases you can use a smaller glass jar, or a plate, or a crock rock. But I like to use a simple plastic sandwich baggie filled with filtered water, and set on top. It takes the shape of whatever it sits in, so it’s sort of perfect for the job. (You can see a very illustrative picture of this, here.) However you do it, you want to make sure all the apple bits are fully submerged.

Cover the jar with a cheesecloth or coffee filter to keep the fruit flies away, then stash it in a cool place out of direct sunlight for oh, say, a month or so.

apple cider vinegar at home

That’s basically it.

After 3-5 weeks, you’ll have homemade apple cider vinegar. You may get some white fluffies forming at the top, which is fine (I did). Just skim them off and keep going. Real mold, however, means your batch is contaminated and you’ll need to start over.

By the end of the prescribed time period, the water will have become cloudy. Vinegar! Siphon it into mason jars, poured through a wire mesh strainer to keep any apple scraps out. You may notice gelatinous globules floating in your ACV. Congratulations! That’s your mother of vinegar, very similar to a kombucha SCOBY, and it means your ACV is healthy and happy.

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar can be stored at room temperature, but it may continue to ferment away. So I like to keep one jar that I’m using in my pantry, and the rest of the jars in the back of the fridge. I made this gallon last year and I’m currently working through my last jar. So, for me and my household with moderate ACV use, this made enough to last us one year.

Not bad, I’d say, for a few leftover apple scraps and very minimal work.

So what do you think? Are you going to start freezing your cores? Will you be making some DIY home-fermented apple cider vinegar this year??

I sure hope so!

  • Jennifer

    This is brilliant! I’ve been wanting to make my own apple cider but kind-of thought it wouldn’t be worth it because of the price. Is is just so much cheaper to buy it already made! Now, I will definitely try this method. It is pretty much free!

  • Valerie

    I’d really like to try this. How do you know the difference between “fluffies” and mold?

  • stephie137

    Yep, I’ll be doing this. We go through apples like air around here.

  • Dr. Jennifer Weinberg, MD, MPH

    What a great way to use every part of our food and transform it into a healing elixir! I am pinning and sharing as part of my October favorites on the Simple | Pure | Whole blog! Thanks for the inspiring idea :)

  • Sarah C.

    YES! We eat a lot of apples this time of year (at least one a day for me, and often the same for the kiddo), so this is a great way to get a second life out of our food before giving it a third life in the compost.

    Speaking of fermentation, I don’t remember: did you do a post on fermented sriracha? I’m doing the FODMAPs dealy that we chatted about a ways back, and I really can’t do onions or garlic (they kill me; avoiding them allows me to tolerate just about everything else) but all the store-bought and homemade recipes I can find have one or both. If you have done a fermented hot sauce, or have a tutorial to point me to, do you think it would be possible for me to make a decent one without the garlic? I can live without onions and garlic, but I’m not sure I can live without sriracha!

  • WookieWifey

    I’m scared to death of fermenting and canning and I’m really not sure why. Afraid I’ll keel meself, lol. :)

    This…this bothers me and I needed you to see it. Not sure why, really, other than to thank you for NOT being like this and in hopes that maybe, with your platform, you can get through to other vegans that rudeness, self-importance, cult-like behavior (and, I was raised in a cult, I know a bit about it so that isn’t an exaggeration), and disrespect aren’t the way to bring about change. I’m sure you see a lot of things like this and maybe you can somehow be louder than them and their hatred with your light, love, and awesomeness. I am a big advocate of not having to hurt others or put yourself above others in order to bring about change and I know you are, too, so…here it is.

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  • delightfulisle

    This is awesome! Quick question: toss the seeds or keep them in?

  • Jocelyn

    Oh no I needed this 3 weeks ago when I processed buckets of apples!! Next year!!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Yes, it’s basically totally free! And a fun fermenting project, to boot. ;-D

  • Sayward Rebhal

    It’s a great question! And very hard to answer. I found this article which you might find helpful:

    as well as this little info graphic:

    Hope that helps!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Yay, let me know how it goes for you!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Awesome, glad to hear and thanks so much for sharing, Jennifer!!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    YES! My fermented sriracha is my favorite fermented recipe of all time!! it’s pasted below, and you can replace the “long peppers” with any medium-spicy red peppers. I’ve made it using red jalapenos a couple of times now!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Leave them in!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Oh no! Sorry, man you got your apples early. Well, next year for sure!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Ugh, yes, that is horrible. I have heard of that YouTube channel (Vegan Gains) but have never watched it. Super irrational extremism. Not really my bag. And of course I agree with you – not an effective way of really reaching people. =(

  • WookieWifey

    I just thought maybe you could sometimes use a reassurance of WHY you do things the way you do and how much I, for one, really appreciate it. The science-y end of your posts is so much more effective than any of their weirdness. If it can convince my meat-loving husband to go meatless once a week (and like it) and enjoy a ton of healthy fruits and vegetables he’d otherwise not have given the time of day to, then it can do ANYTHING.

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  • Lynn

    Great article! Thank you! Going to try this. We too go through a lot of apple cider vinegar and can apples every year! I love learning how to utilize everything! I like your “why buy when you can DIY!”