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Make your own Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Did you know that you can make your own apple cider vinegar pretty easily and very inexpensively, with just some apple peels and cores and water...and a bit of patience?

Well, don't feel bad. I didn't know either until I started doing a bit of research a couple of years ago.

We use lots of apple cider vinegar on our farm for its wide array of health benefits for us and for our chickens.

I consider it one of the "Holistic Trinity" of chicken keeping (along with Garlic and DE) and vital to my and my husband's health, as well as a key ingredient in any good Pie Crust!

 [As the vinegar evaporates during baking it pushes the layers of crust apart to result in a super flaky crust]

Adding apple cider vinegar to our chickens' water a few times a week not only makes the water more appealing to them, it also keeps the waterers cleaner and controls the bacteria both in the water and in the hens' digestive system.

The vinegar boosts good bacteria and is thought to also even combat coccidia, which is present in most chicken runs, no matter how fastidiously they are cleaned.

 [Read here for more on how we use ACV with our chickens...]

Apple cider vinegar with the 'mother' in it, such as Bragg's, is raw and unpasteurized and has the most benefits.

The mother is basically a yeast/live bacteria natural concoction that helps balance bacteria in the intestines of humans AND chickens.

 However, it's not cheap and we go through quite a lot of it, so I started making my own.

This recipe uses the apple peels and cores, so the next time you bake an apple pie, save the scraps (you can even freeze them if you're not quite ready to make a batch) and make your own homemade apple cider vinegar for yourself - and your chickens!


Make your own Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Here's how to do it:

Wash, peel and core 5-10 (preferably organic) apples. Another nice thing is that there's no set amount, you can make as much or as little as you want.

Place the peels and cores in a large glass or stoneware bowl and cover with water by an inch or so. 

(Optional to help the fermentation/yeast process work faster - add 1/4 Cup of sugar for each quart of water you used and stir to mix thoroughly.)

Cover the bowl with a heavy plate The apple scraps need to be completely submersed in the water.

Cover the whole thing with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for a week in a cool dark location.

Between 65-85 degrees is a good fermentation temperature range, and be sure to keep it in a dark place, because UV light destroys the fermentation process.

The mixture will begin to bubble and foam as yeast forms. That's normal and in fact by Day 3, I have bubbling!



Strain out the apple solids and pour the liquid into sterilized canning jars, leaving about an inch of head room.

Discard the solids. Cover each canning jar with a square of doubled cheesecloth and screw just the ring part of the top on.

(Hang onto the flat parts of the lids, you'll need them later) This allows the yeast to 'breathe' and prevents the metal from corroding.


Note: If you see any black mold that has grown on the surface, that's also okay. It will occur if the mixture isn't kept cool enough or the solids weren't kept completely submerged. You can just scrape it off and discard it and continue one with the remaining liquid.

Store the jars on a shelf in your pantry and wait about six weeks.

A film should start forming on the top.

The is the 'mother'.

You can open up the jars and stir or swirl them so the mother settles on the bottom and more will grow on top.

After about a month, the liquid is starting to get cloudy, but is still fairly light without a distinct 'vinegar' smell.

And around six weeks, the color has deepened and there is some residue settling on the bottom.

After six weeks your apple cider vinegar should be ready to use.

There is a distinct 'vinegar' smell now and jellyfish-like masses floating in the jar. Remove the cheesecloth, put on the lid and screw the ring back on. 

Stored in a cool, dark place, the apple cider vinegar will last indefinitely.

 By this point the yeast will have eaten all the available sugars and you will be left with a 'shelf-stable' vinegar.

 The flavor will develop and evolve over time.


Note: If you save some of the mother from each batch and add it to the next batch, the vinegar will be finished more quickly. It's been hard waiting the six weeks for my first batch, but I have several batches started now that will finish at the end of consecutive weeks, so I will always have a batch of homemade apple cider vinegar ready going forward.


Dosage for chickens for better respiratory health, stronger immune systems and cleaner water: 
1 Tablespoon of ACV per gallon of water a few times a week

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Reference Sources:
Recipe courtesy Mother Earth News