Every fall we take at least one trip to an apple orchard near us. They have family-friendly activities, wonderful local canned goods for sale, and of course, apples. So many apples! My kids love applesauce so I take advantage of the apple season to make homemade applesauce so that we can enjoy it throughout the year.
Don’t Waste Apple Cores and Peels!
I don’t always peel the apples when I make applesauce but if you do take the time to peel the apples (maybe you even prefer your applesauce that way), you can use the peels and the cores to make apple cider vinegar. This way you have virtually no waste!
It is also totally possible to make apple cider vinegar from the whole apple so don’t worry if you don’t have leftover peels and cores from anything.
When I make applesauce, I typically do large quantities at a time so I have enough peels and cores for a batch of apple cider vinegar. If you only occasionally use apples, you can store the peels and cores in the freezer until you have enough gathered to start a batch.
If you don’t have an apple orchard nearby, farmers markets are another great place to get organically grown apples. Just check with the farmer. Organic apples are ideal for apple cider vinegar, especially if you will be using the peel. If you cannot find organic apples, peel them first. Discard the peel and just use the inside portion.
What Is So Special About Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has many healthy uses. It is made through the process of fermentation and is high in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Hippocrates is believed to have prescribed ACV for a variety of ailments.
ACV for Digestion and Heartburn
ACV is the base of spicy cider which is a great remedy to help quickly knock out a cold.
Amazingly, and contrary to what seems logical, ACV also has a valuable role in preventing heartburn and aiding digestion. In most cases heartburn is actually caused by too little stomach acid which slows down digestion. Food and gasses put pressure on the stomach, causing stomach contents (including stomach acid) to leak back into the esophagus. When you remedy heartburn with ACV it increases stomach acid and helps the body digest the food more quickly. This prevents the build-up and subsequent leakage which causes heartburn. You can read more about natural heartburn relief here.
In addition to its many benefits when taken internally, it is wonderful for the skin. When added to bathwater, it helps to naturally restore balance to the skin’s pH. It also helps kill bacteria and fungus on the skin which can lead to a host of problems, including eczema, dandruff, and other skin conditions.
Because of its great pH balancing benefits and dandruff preventing abilities, it makes a great hair rinse that replaces conditioner and can be used after shampooing with a natural shampoo.
Unfiltered, Unpasteurized, And With “The Mother”
Most of the ACV you find in the supermarket is pasteurized and highly filtered. These versions still work well for cleaning but they are not optimal for internal and culinary uses because most of the benefits are gone once the “mother” is filtered out and the vinegar is pasteurized.
There are a few available that are “with the mother” which means they leave in the beneficial bacteria that develops during the fermentation process in the vinegar. When you make your own ACV you can be sure that your vinegar retains this beneficial “mother.”
- This recipe uses sugar. The sugar is necessary to “feed” the yeast, but most (if not all) of the sugar is fermented out. People often ask if they can use honey. The short answer is yes, but it really does not work as well and causes the whole process to take longer. And to be honest, because the sugar is broken down, there really isn’t anything to be concerned about as far as the effect it will have on blood sugar.
- Make sure all of your equipment and your jar are very clean. It is important to make sure you don’t introduce any bacteria other than what is naturally occurring in the process.
- My favorite apple variety to use for applesauce is Gala so my scraps are usually a majority Gala. However, you get the best flavor if you have a mix of varieties. I use mostly Gala, but I will throw in a mixture of other types for the rest. Some I have used are Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and McIntosh. It just adds some complexity to the flavor.
- White scum is going to form on the top. This is normal. Mold, however, is not good and will spoil your ACV. Be sure that the apples stay submerged under the water. This will help prevent mold. You can use a fermentation weight or even just a smaller glass jar (thoroughly clean the outside) and set it on top of the apples to keep them submerged.
- Gnats and flies love ACV so you need to make sure your jar is well covered. However, it needs to be able to breath and release gasses created from the fermentation process so do not use a solid lid. Cheesecloth or a coffee filter work well.
At some point while making apple cider vinegar, you will probably notice a SCOBY-like “thing” that forms on the top. This is the “mother.” You can remove it or you can just leave it floating in your vinegar.
If you don’t want to make your own apple cider vinegar, it is becoming more common for grocery stores to carry organic ACV “with the mother.” Or you can buy it online.
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar
Before starting to make ACV, there are a few things you’ll need to have on hand first:
- Clean jar – you can use any size jar (I have used a wide mouth quart jar and a half gallon pickle jar)
- Organic apple scraps – enough to fill your jar ¾ of the way full
- Organic cane sugar
- Filtered water
- Fermentation weight or small glass jar
- Cheesecloth or coffee filter
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe with the Mother
- organic apple scraps
- 2 TBSP cane sugar
- 2 cups water (filtered)
- Clean a quart jar very well and let air dry.
- Fill the jar ¾ full with apple scraps. If you are using whole apples, roughly chop them up before you put them in the jar.
- Dissolve the cane sugar into the cup of water.
- Pour sugar water over the apples until they are completely submerged. Add a little additional water if needed to make sure the apples are covered.
- Weigh down the apples with a fermentation weight or with the small glass jar. Any apples that are exposed to the air could mold.
- Cover with the cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with the rubber band.
- Store in a dark place at room temperature. I put mine in a cabinet in the kitchen.
- Leave it for approximately 3 weeks. Check on it every few days to make sure the apples are staying under the water and to make sure no mold is growing.
- After 3 weeks, it will still smell fairly sweet. Strain the apples pieces out and return the liquid to the jar. Compost the scraps.
- Recover and put the jar back in a dark spot for another 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days.
- When the ACV has reached the "tartness" you like you can put a lid on it or transfer it to a different jar with a lid and start using it!
How do you use apple cider vinegar? Will you try your hand at making your own?
Discussion (207 Comments)
Hi, i shall definitely be trying my hand at homemade ACV,ironicly i was in the health food are of the Chemist today and came across a bottle of ACV it did not claim to be organic or include the (mother) but it was €10 for 500mls,seems a bit expensive as i want to soak my hands and feet in it so i would need to buy many bottles, is it just me or does anyone else feel that it is much cheaper to eat and feed your family on really unhealthy food vs healthy food,
That it is. Unless you routinely eat out and do premade conventional stuff. That is as or more expensive than healthy. But you pay for food now or the doctor later! I killed my health with stress, diet, and schedule in college. Almost 2 decades later, I’m paying for it. This is why we like to make and grow our own things when we can!
I put a cheese cloth over my ACV and fruit flies got in! Do I need to throw it out and start over now?
I have the same question. I strained them out and am continuing with the process, hoping for good results!
Hi. Thx for recipe! I doubled the batch to put into quart jar. When I strained it after 4 weeks, I got less than 1 cup of liquid. Any ideas what’s going on? TIA.
Yes. a coffee filter works the best with a rubber band.
This might sound silly but I never go through all my apples at once. Can I freeze my cores until I have an adequate amount?
Hi Ambra, There was a comment in her instructions that I almost missed. She said: ” If you only occasionally use apples, you can store the peels and cores in the freezer until you have enough gathered to start a batch.” Since I live alone I’m soooo happy that they can be frozen. Yaaay!
If I freeze the apples scraps, do they need to be thawed before making the ACV?
Yes!!! It works great with frozen peels and cores as well! =)
Fantastic! Sounds so simple, can’t wait to try it! Have you tried using grapes? Would it be the same process? Can you keep the “mother” and continue to uste it for making more vinegar? I know that in Italy, people keep the mother feed it with fresh wine (left over!) and keep it growing to produce more vinegar.
Yes you can! That way it only takes half the time for the next batch.!
To use the mother for the next batch, how do you adjust the recipe and the directions?
I was sort of wondering this as well because I started with fermenting kombucha years and years ago. I have a very old kombucha scoby (probably 6 inches thick). I was wondering if I could speed the process up a little and use that scoby?
I still have not found out how to use the mother to start a new batch. If you find out can you please post it here?
Just in time! Today I was just given 2 grocery bags of apples, Gravensteins and Grannys. Tomorrow its apple butter and AVC getting started. Thanks for the recipe. O BTW: Instead of doing disposable like cheesecloth or coffee filters. You might try what my grandmothers used to call butter muslin. Today, it’s called unbleached muslin. I buy it 3 yards at a time so I can use it for butter, making mozzarella cheese, jelly, when straining infused vinegars and oils. I like being able to reuse instead of just tossing—gives me more $$$ for other things. 🙂
Next to try making your slow cooker cider too.
You really shouldn’t reuse your muslin after a project. Bacteria can stay attached to the fibers and introduce unwanted bacteria into your next project and ruining it – at best or make you and your family sick, possibly very sick – at worst. It’s cheap! Best to start with a fresh cut each project.
I appreciate your concern about the bacteria. Unbleached muslin has been used this way for centuries as far as I know. After use, you wash it, rinse, then sterilize the muslin. Remember there are good and bad bacteria–which is why vinegar is so easy to make. I helped my mother and grandmothers using the same method. Now, though, I have had my recycled muslin tested and it passed standards, so I will stick with the family method.
how to sterilize muslin?
You can wash with soapy water, then boil it for a bit, wring it out, and hang to dry. Or you can soak it in water and white vinegar for awhile, then rinse and hang to dry. That’s what I do, anyway, depending on what I used it for.
Very pleased to hear you’re recycling the muslin 🙂 I will too, when I have a go at this recipe, as I have a veritable apple orchard in my garden, and have wished for years to find a way to use more of the apples, other than just eating and apple saucing.
What a coincidence, I just started making vinegar last night after making an apple pie! This is my first time and I never thought it would be so easy.
Do you take the seeds out of the core, or just keep them in? Also, can you reuse the scoby? If so, how?
Brandi, I do try to flick the seeds out of the core, but I don’t worry if I miss some. That might be just personal preference. And, yes, you can definitely reuse the scoby. I try to keep mine from drying out by covering with juice, wine or vinegar and storing in a dark place. (I cover with a coffee filter so it can breathe, but then I cover part of the lid with plastic wrap to try to keep evaporation from drying it out.)
What can you reuse the scoby for when you take it out?
It is an excellent compost purifier and is amazing at activating any soil!
My chickens used to enjoy the scoby as a treat.
Yes the seeds have arsenic in them!! Yes crazy as do elderberries. I think it’s better to remove but if one or two slip by no worries.
Easy enough! Sharing with clients as ACV is something I recommend often.
ACV is good for so many things…my overworked, cracking, bleeding heals love a soak in hot water and ACV then a good scrub and slathering of calendula balm. My blood glucose levels and my immune system respond well to a tablespoon or two in a small glass of water (sometimes I add some tincture of cayenne or use it with grated horseradish if I’m stuffy during allergy or cold season). It’s great for washing windows, disinfecting countertops (follow 10 seconds of ACV with 10 seconds of hydrogen peroxide and you’ve got almost all food born bugs covered). Use as a final rinse for really shiny. detangled hair-the smell goes away as your hair dries. The list goes on and on.
Hi Katie …. What are your recommendations for throughly sanitizing all equipment used without using harsh chemicals?
You could use any sanitizing detergent found at a home brew store. I use a product called Bee-Brite.
Try using a dishwasher to sanitize your jars or boiling your jars in a large pan and put a sanitized lid on the jar to keep them sanitized while storing the jars until using them !
Hi, once made, how long will it keep for? I have a huge apple tree and every year end up with way more than I can feasibly use, I give a lot away, but still end up with more than I can put in my freezer, so was considering making a huge bucket full, what do you think? X
I suffer from gall stones so I always keep apple Cider vinegar in my cupboard. One large tot, some honey and hot (not boiling as that will spoil the honey) water, drink – 15 min later the pain should start to ease if not go away! I am eternally grateful to have discovered how apple cider helps in this way. Hope it helps someone else.
Drink the tonic of apple cider vinegar before meals, with 10 cl of unfiltered apple natural juice, this will prevent the formation and growth of gallstones. Apple cider vinegar has multiple benefits that are very useful for health and weight loss. In addition to fighting stomach upset, it helps stabilize blood pressure.
Glad you discovered it for gallstones. Our 90 yr old father had stones, his physician didn’t want to operate, they sent him back home in agony. I drove 2.5 hours with Braggs; by that time he was back in the hospital begging for surgery. I had the nurses give him ACV and they were amazed. We put an ACV wrap on mom’s knee for arthritis, use it for indigestion, colds, sore throats,,,, so many uses!
GiGi Wow Thanks!!!!
Going to try that AVC wrap on my Arthritis knee!