Apple cider vinegar (ACV for short) has been celebrated for its numerous health benefits and culinary versatility for centuries. While you can find apple cider vinegar at your local grocery store, they are often diluted or a lower quality. Plus there is something very satisfying about making it in your own home!
Here in the Midwest, there are so many apples that go to waste on trees in backyards during the fall. Rather than letting the bruised, imperfect, or apples that have fallen to the ground go to waste, you can make up your own apple cider vinegar. The process itself takes several weeks, but the labor required for the project is extremely minimal.
How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar
Making apple cider vinegar requires only three simple ingredients: apples, honey, and water. You can use chopped up whole apples or the good scraps from bruised or damaged apples or even the peels.
Some people will even say you can use the cores of the apples. However it is important to know that apple seeds contain a naturally occurring compound called arsenic which can be damaging to the eyes, skin, kidneys, liver, and lymphatic system.If you use the cores, be sure all the seeds have been removed.
Once you’ve mixed these three ingredients together, you can now sit back, relax and let the fermentation process do the work over the next 6 weeks.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Expire?
Once ACV has fermented for 6 weeks, it has been preserved. It will last indefinitely at room temperature.
Tips For Successful Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- Make sure your jars, knives, cutting board and any other utensils you use are very clean before starting. Introducing other bacteria from slightly dirty materials can cause the apple cider vinegar to go bad during the fermentation process
- Keep your ferment in a warm place. You can use something like a seed mat, yogurt maker, or instant pot with the steamer insert on the yogurt setting if your house tends to run cold. However, I found that my house is usually warm enough in the late summer or early fall. It may just require a slightly longer fermentation time.
- Use fermentation weight to make sure the apples are fully submerged beneath the water and honey solution.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Contributes to weight loss.
- Aids in digestion by increasing stomach acid and has detoxifying properties.
- Improves blood sugar and insulin levels
- Restores pH of hair and scalp when used as a hair rinse.
How To Use & Consume Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dilute with water and sip to aid in digestion (note: do not drink it without diluting as the acidic nature can be corrosive to the teeth and esophagus).
- Use it to soak your grains and break down defense chemicals like phytic acid.
- Add it to your bone broth to draw more nutrients out of the bones.
- It works as a great all purpose cleaner. Just mix with water or add in some other fruits to infuse and lessen the vinegar smell.
- Use it when baking as a substitute for baking powder or buttermilk.
- Mix with oil oil for a salad dressing.
- Use when pickling vegetables to preserve them for months.
- Can be used as marinade to tenderize meats and vegetables and provide great flavor.
- Dilute with water to use as a toner, hair rinse, or as a part of your skincare regimen.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
- 6 cups Apples chopped pieces, peels, cores without seeds (preferably from a variety of apples)
- 6-7 Tbsp Honey 1 Tbsp for every cup of water used
- 6-7 cups Filtered Water warm enough to melt honey but not hot
- Fill mason jar(s) 3/4 of the way with apples.
- Stir honey into the warm water to dissolve.
- Pour the water and honey mixture over the apples leaving 2-3 inches headspace at the top of the jar. Place a fermentation weight if the apples are not fully submerged beneath the water.
- Cover with a cheesecloth, tea towel, or coffee filter and place a rubber band or screw on a mason jar ring.
- Set in a warm, dark place for 2 weeks.
- After 2 weeks, strain out the apples and press them gently to squeeze out all the liquid. If you taste the vinegar at this stage it will have a delightful fermented cider taste!
- You can place the cider in smaller jars and cover once again with a cheesecloth, tea towel, or coffee filter. Let it ferment for another 4 weeks in a warm dark place.
- You will know it is done when it has a strong vinegar smell and taste. Reminder to dilute the ACV with water when tasting. Ferment longer until it reaches a your preferred smell and taste.
- Bottle and store indefinitely.