Homemade Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
We use apple cider vinegar for a lot in our house. I have a deep affinity for all vinegars and fermented foods, but this post is reserved for the glorious Apple Cider Vinegar.
Most of the ACV you find in the supermarket is filtered and pasteurized. Filtered apple cider vinegar will still work nicely for cleaning but has been ridded of all the beneficial bacteria that develops during the fermentation process. This good bacteria is referred to as “the mother”. The apple cider vinegar "mother" is defined as a colony of beneficial acetic acid bacteria. If you’re familiar with Kombucha, this “mother” is similar to the kombucha SCOBY.
Apple cider vinegar is the product of double-fermenting apples using a ‘mother’ culture and low-heat processing. Unpasteurized ACV has potent beneficial bacteria.
Two important points of care when making vinegar at home: oxygen supply and temperature. You allow oxygen to the mixture by stirring it daily and by allowing air to reach the liquid through a breathable lid. The temperature for ACV fermentation should stay between 60 and 80 degrees. Temps below 60 will not produce a usable vinegar. Temps above 80 disturb the formation of the “mother”.
A wonderful thing to behold is that producing your own unpasteurized ACV is incredibly easy and uses food that may otherwise be wasted. It is also super cheap to make, like <$3 for a half-gallon cheap. And considering store bought ACV of comparable quality runs about $5 a pint, this saves me over $100/year.
WHAT YOU NEED
jar (1 quart or larger)
cloth or coffee filter
Rubber band or canning ring
Organic cane sugar
Clean your equipment and your jar thoroughly. Be careful to do this to make sure you don’t introduce any bacteria other than what will occur naturally in the fermenting process.
Fill your container ¾ the way with organic apple scraps (such as cores and peels) (or) chopped up whole apples. If you do not have access to organic apples then peel your apples and do not use the peels. I save my apple scraps in a container in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch.
Add enough water to cover the apples
For every cup of water you used add 1 tablespoon of sugar
Stir until sugar is dissolved
Set a weight on top of the apples to keep them submerged. I use a smaller glass jar. Just make sure that whatever you use is cleaned well and is not metal.
Cover the jar well to keep out any gnats that are drawn to it. But be sure to use something breathable, like a cloth or a coffee filter, so that it can release the gasses created from the process of fermentation.
Store in a dark space, like a cabinet, at room temperature (between 60 - 80 degrees)
Every few days, stir and check that apples are submerged and that there is no mold
After three weeks, strain out the apples and recover the jar of now only vinegar
Put jar back to ferment for another two weeks, stirring every few days
And there you have it!
If you are hesitant about adding too much sugar (or any) to your diet, then take note that in this process the sugar is necessary to “feed” the bacteria but almost all (possibly all) of the sugar is fermented down. So this sugar that you add at the beginning of the process will only remain in trace amounts to have little to no effect on blood sugar levels.
A film is likely going to form on the top of the liquid. This is totally normal, and to be expected. This isn’t mold. But if you DO spot mold growing on the top of the liquid it will spoil your batch. Be certain that you keep the apples submerged in the liquid. This helps prevent mold. This is why it is crucial to set a weight on top of the apples to keep them under.
Drinking large amounts of vinegar can lower potassium levels, so don’t go overboard, people! Keep it to like a tablespoon a day.
Drinking pure apple cider vinegar can damage your tooth enamel and burn your throat. And pure ACV can be way too harsh for skin. So be sure to dilute it before using. I usually dilute 1 tablespoon ACV to 1 cup water if ingesting, and 50/50 for topical use.
WAYS WE USE ACV
For thousands of years, vinegar has been used to flavor and preserve foods, as a healing agent, and to clean surfaces. But, to be clear, there is definitely a lack of evidence from science-based studies about apple cider vinegar for therapeutic health purposes. This is a common problem for many natural or “alternative” therapies. However, I believe you get to determine what is beneficial for you. And I, among many others, have found benefits from the use of apple cider vinegar. And at the very least it is a tasty flavoring agent! Here are some ways that I use ACV;
For cooking and making sauces
Apple cider vinegar has a sweet but tangy flavor that adds a tart pungent burst to recipes
We make a homemade BBQ sauce with apple cider vinegar, and a few different salad dressings. I’ll post recipes in the coming weeks.
As a remedy
ACV is an old folk remedy to relieve symptoms of occasional Acid Reflux. This may be a folk remedy but it has some logic. Heartburn is experienced when stomach acid escapes out of the stomach up into the esophagus. Drinking a bit of vinegar diluted in water is thought to balance your stomach pH by neutralizing stomach acid. Thus settling acid from escaping up into the esophagus.
There is no guarantee for its effectiveness, but ACV is generally accepted as safe to ingest in small doses and I do know that this has helped me with my occasional heartburn suffering.
Aid in supporting Gut Health
Vinegar is created through fermentation, meaning that they contain living microorganisms, as long as they have not been pasteurized. As has been all the rage for the past few years, ingesting probiotic foods, such as vinegar, can support a healthy micro-biome.
But there is definitely a lack of evidence from science-based studies about apple cider vinegar for therapeutic health purposes. This is a common problem for many natural or “alternative” therapies. That said, dietary fiber has plenty of evidence for creating a healthy gut environment, so eat plenty of garlic and onions! And fermented foods you could add for this benefit are solids like kimchi, pickled vegetables, or sauerkrauts.
Topically - as a skin toner, hair rinse, and for skin irritations like bug bites
Apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic. Candida cannot grow in acidic environments, so using apple cider vinegar on your skin (or ingested) can help to control yeast levels. ACV helps to naturally restore balance to the skin’s pH. It also helps kill off bacteria and fungus on the skin which can lead to things like eczema and dandruff. Fortunately, I don’t have personal experience with either of those things, but I still use diluted ACV as a skin toner. After I wash my face in the evenings I wet a cotton ball with diluted ACV and with it I dampen my face. I started doing this religiously four months ago and it has been an absolute game changer for me in the blemish arena. I highly recommend this. Now you may be wondering “does your face smell like salad dressing!?”. And the answer is - Yes. Yes, it does. But only for about two minutes, tops. And one final pro-tip, close your eyes while doing this or the fumes will burn them.
ACV also helps with bug bite or poison ivy relief. It really does. This is tried and true from yours truly.