Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a staple at my house. We use it for everything from medicine, to cooking, to health and beauty. It truly is indispensable. While I was making a medicinal ACV drink for my husband who was plagued by congestion, allergies, and sore throat, I noticed we were almost out of ACV! AHHH!
So I got to thinking, as is oftentimes dangerous for me, and I thought, “What if I just made my own?”
I knew that ACV is basically just fermented apples. But how do I get the “mother” or the good bacteria, cloudy muck at the bottom of the jar of vinegar? The answer is fairly simple. You just let it grow!
There are several recipes online. I decided to go with one that is very similar to the Kombucha recipe I use.
- Cut up an apple (or use cores/peels) and place the pieces in a clean and sterilized mason jar.
- Add one Tablespoon of sugar
- Cover with pure, filtered water
- Screw on lid and shake well to dissolve the sugar
- Remove lid and replace it with a coffee filter or muslin cloth so that the mixture can breathe. Secure coffee filter with mason jar band, or rubber band.
- Let sit in cool dark place for about 3-4 weeks
- Shake daily (remember to put a sturdy lid on it before you shake it as the coffee filter is not water proof 😉
You should begin to notice some bubbles after a few days. This indicates that the fermentation process has begun. After a few more days, you’ll get this white foam that rises to the top of the jar; this is the beginnings of the “mother” or good bacterial stuff. If the foam is any color other than white (green, black, brown) this indicates mold growth which is bad, and probably means your utensils or jars were not properly sterilized. Scrap it and start over.
The “mother” by the end should be a thick layer of goop, for lack of a better word, that forms at the top (or sometimes bottom) of the jar. This can be reused for future batches.
You can then taste the vinegar after about 4-6 weeks to see if it’s the strength that you desire, and once it has reached your desired strength, you can pour the vinegar through a muslin cloth lines strainer to filter out the apple pieces and store the finished vinegar in a clean, sterilized jar. It should keep indefinitely. The “mother” from previous batches as a sort of starter (much like sourdough bread starter) that accelerates the process of fermentation.
These are the websites from which I gleaned a lot of helpful information: