I use a lot of apple cider vinegar! I rinse my hair with it, I drink it and I cook with it, wonderful for salad dressings. I have bought it from various places and I like to buy it raw, unfiltered and with the 'mother'. It turns out, I am told, that the best apple cider vinegar is homemade!
I wouldn't say that I am unhappy with my current apple cider vinegar but sometimes it is hard to find it with the mother, the 'Mother' is strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product it's murky appearance. I have even been in contact with apple farms in the north of France to try and get the good stuff but sadly to no avail. So I was thrilled to learn that it is easy-peasy to do yourself! So for all you other ACV lovers out there here I am telling you that there is a better way. Much much better I am told and the flavour of the homemade stuff is pretty amazing too. What's even better is that you don't have to be vinegar's answer to Mary Berry to get it right. There are no skills involved. Just chopping!
So, I happened to use whole apples but apparently that isn't necessary you can do it with just the peelings and the core so you can eat your apple and ferment it too! It is apple season in SW France at the moment so there are plenty around and luckily for us there is an organic apple farm nearby and you can go along and pick your own.
Also good to know is that the fermentation process depends on season – less during summer, bit longer during colder months. You will know your vinegar is ready when you notice a dark, cloudy bacterial foam this is the Mother and can easily be noticed when holding the vinegar to light. This is the bacteria that we love and cherish! Because it’s full of enzymes and minerals that over-processed vinegars do not have. So without further ado here is the recipe:
Homemade organic raw apple cider vinegar
- 10 small apples (core and peel included, no stem)
- 10 tsp raw sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
- filtered water to cover
- Wash and chop your apples into medium sized pieces (or use the peels and cores of 6-7 small apples after making a pie). Place them in a clean, rinsed and sterilized wide mouth jar.
- Mix the sugar with 1 cup of water and pour on top of the apples.
- Add more water if needed to cover the apples.
- Cover the jar with a paper towel or a cheesecloth and secure it with a band. This keeps nasties away while letting the liquid breathe.
- Place the jar in a warm, dark place for 2-3 weeks – I just kept it in my pantry.
- Strain out the liquid and discard the apple pieces.
- Return the liquid to the same jar and cover it again (same paper or cheesecloth).
- Return the jar to the same warm, dark place and leave it do its thing for roughly 4 to 6 weeks, stirring with a plastic or wooden spoon every few days or so. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t that organised with my stirring (oftentimes forgot), but my vinegar still loved me.
- After the first 4 weeks, you can begin to also taste your vinegar and once it reaches an acidity you like, you can actually transfer it to a bottle with a lid and begin using it.
I have only reached stage 5 so I will keep you updated when my first fermentation period is finished along with some pictures and maybe a first tasting. I used organic apples but if you choose not to make sure you give them a good wash, or discard the peel as it retains a lot of the pesticides and you don't want that in your brew.
That's it for now! Check back in 3 - 4 weeks to see how it's going!