Apple cider vinegar has hundreds, if not thousands of uses. When you use it as much as I do, it can be pricey. In this article, we will walk you through the process of making apple cider vinegar from scratch, as well as some of the beneficial uses for vinegar around the homestead. You won’t believe how easy and affordable it is.
How Can I Make Apple Cider Vinegar At Home?
Apple cider vinegar is a natural product that can be easily made at home. It has a variety of uses, including cooking, cleaning, and health and beauty purposes.
In fact, it is so easy to make that you may be surprised. All you need are apples, water, a glass jar, and sugar (optional).
Here is the quick, short version of making homemade apple cider vinegar (more details below in recipe).
First, wash the apples and cut them into small pieces. Then, place the apple pieces in the glass jar and add enough water to cover them. If you want, you can add a small amount of sugar to the jar.
Next, cover the jar with a cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band. This will allow the vinegar to breathe while it ferments.
Finally, place the jar in a warm, dark place. The vinegar will start to ferment within a few days. You will know it is ready when it has a sour taste and begins to bubble.
Once the vinegar is ready, you can strain it and store it in a cool, dark place. It can be used in a variety of ways, including cooking, cleaning, and beauty treatments.
How Long Does It Take For Apple Cider To Turn Into Vinegar?
The time it takes for apple cider to turn into vinegar depends on a number of factors, including the temperature, the amount of oxygen present, and the type of yeast used.
In general, it takes between 4 and 6 weeks for apple cider to turn into vinegar at room temperature. However, it can take longer in cooler climates, or if the air is not very humid.
It is important to note that we are skipping the cider process with this recipe and jumping straight into the vinegar making. This means that we will not be making hard cider first.
How Is Apple Cider Vinegar Made Naturally?
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process.
Step 1: Alcoholic Fermentation
In the first step, apples are crushed and juiced. The juice is then fermented with naturally occurring yeast, which converts the sugars in the juice into alcohol. This process takes about 10 days.
Step 2: Acetic Acid Fermentation
In the second step, the alcohol is fermented with acetic acid bacteria, which converts the alcohol into acetic acid. This process takes about 2 weeks.
The resulting liquid is apple cider vinegar. It has a sour taste and a cloudy appearance. The cloudy appearance is due to the presence of the “mother,” which is a complex of beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
Apple cider vinegar can be made at home or purchased from health food stores.
When making apple cider vinegar at home, it is important to use organic apples and to avoid using heat or chemicals, which can destroy the beneficial bacteria.
How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar
To make apple cider vinegar naturally, you will need the following ingredients and materials:
- Apples (organic).
- Water (distilled or filtered).
- A glass jar.
- Cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
- Rubber band.
- Apple cider vinegar starter culture (optional).
#1: Wash the Apples
- The first step in making apple cider vinegar is to wash the apples thoroughly.
- It is important to use organic apples, as they will not have any pesticides or chemicals on them that could affect the fermentation process.
- Remove any stems or leaves from the apples and chop them into small pieces.
Step 2: Combine Apples and Water
- Place the chopped apples in a glass jar, filling it about halfway.
- Add enough water to cover the apples, but not completely fill the jar.
- If you want to speed up the fermentation process, you can also add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the mixture.
- Add a glass fermenting weight or another weight of some kind to keep the apples below the surface of the water.
# 3: Cover and Ferment
- Cover the jar with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and secure it with a rubber band.
- Place the jar in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard.
- The fermentation process will take about two to four weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity of your environment.
- During this time, the apples will break down and the liquid will turn cloudy.
Step 4: Strain and Bottle
- After two to four weeks, strain the liquid through the cheesecloth or coffee filter into a clean glass jar or bottle.
- You can discard the apple pieces or use them for chicken feed.
- The liquid that remains is the apple cider vinegar.
# 5: Continue Fermentation (optional)
- If you want to continue the fermentation process and make your apple cider vinegar stronger, you can add a starter culture to the liquid.
- A starter culture is a mixture of yeast and bacteria that jumpstarts the fermentation process.
- You can purchase a starter culture online or use some unpasteurized apple cider vinegar from a previous batch as a starter.
- Add the starter culture to the apple cider vinegar and cover the jar again with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
- Leave the jar in a cool, dark place for another two to four weeks, or until the desired strength is reached. The longer you ferment the vinegar, the stronger and more potent it will become.
Step 6: Store and Use
- Once your apple cider vinegar is ready, store it in a clean glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid.
- You can use it in a variety of ways, including for cooking, cleaning, and health and beauty purposes. See some of our ideas listed below.
Benefits and Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar
As I mentioned earlier, we use apple cider for everything on our homestead.
A couple of examples are
- Bug bites remedies.
- Sun burn relief.
- Flea Repellent recipes.
- Support our Chicken’s immune system.
- Household Cleaners.
- 2 Ingredient Homemade Mustard.
And that’s just some of the ways we personally use vinegar on our homestead.
Apple cider vinegar has many benefits and uses around every homestead. Here are some of the most common ones:
Apple cider vinegar can be used in a variety of recipes, including dressings, marinades, and sauces. Try our herb infused cold bean salad.
It can add flavor and tanginess to dishes, and also has some health benefits.
For example, it can help balance blood sugar levels and aid in digestion.
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural cleaning agent around the home. It is effective at killing bacteria and removing stains, and can be used to clean everything from floors and countertops to windows and mirrors.
Simply mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and use it as you would any other cleaning solution.
We have a recipe for our favorite kitchen cleaner using vinegar and citrus.
Health and Beauty
Apple cider vinegar has many health and beauty benefits as well. It can be used to improve skin and hair health, as well as aid in weight loss and digestion.
Here are some ways to use apple cider vinegar for health and beauty:
- Skin: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a toner to help balance the skin’s pH levels and reduce acne. Simply mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and apply it to your face with a cotton ball. Be sure to avoid the eye area.
- Hair: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural hair conditioner to help remove product buildup and restore shine. Simply mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and apply it to your hair after shampooing. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out.
- Weight loss: Apple cider vinegar can help aid in weight loss by suppressing appetite and reducing sugar cravings. It can also help boost metabolism and promote fat burning. Try adding a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to your water or tea throughout the day.
- Digestion: Apple cider vinegar can help aid in digestion by promoting the production of stomach acid and enzymes. This can help reduce symptoms of acid reflux and indigestion. Try mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drinking it before meals.
Troubleshooting Tips For Making Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar
- Use fresh, unfiltered apple juice: Make sure to use fresh, unfiltered apple juice that still contains the natural yeasts and bacteria that are necessary for fermentation.
- Keep the temperature consistent: The ideal temperature for fermentation is between 60-80°F (15-27°C). Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations as they can slow down or stop the fermentation process.
- Keep the container covered: Cover the container with a breathable material, such as cheesecloth, to allow air to circulate while keeping out insects and debris.
- Stir occasionally: Stir the mixture every few days to distribute the bacteria and yeast throughout the liquid.
- Watch for mold: Mold can develop on the surface of the liquid if it’s exposed to too much oxygen or if the temperature is too high. If mold develops, scrape it off and discard the affected layer.
- Check the pH level: The ideal pH for apple cider vinegar is between 4.5 and 5.0. If the pH level is too high, the vinegar may not ferment properly.
- Be patient: Apple cider vinegar takes time to ferment, usually around 3-4 weeks. If it’s taking longer than this, double-check your process and make sure everything is set up correctly.
By following these tips, you should be able to troubleshoot any issues that arise while making your own apple cider vinegar. Good luck!
Whether you use it for cooking, cleaning, or health and beauty purposes, apple cider vinegar is a must-have item for any homesteader’s pantry.