Do you love raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar? Have you ever thought about fermenting it yourself? It's such a fabulous idea, because making your own apple cider vinegar is really uncomplicated, an exciting biochemical project, and besides, you have the possibility to control the quality and taste yourself.
For this recipe, you would ideally use the pomace from making apple juice. Almost as good are the apple peels and cores that are left over from processing apples and often end up in the trash. By using these parts of the apple, you not only reduce your waste, but you also increase the nutritional value of the vinegar. The peels and cores contain many valuable nutrients, such as pectin, which is good for digestion, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
So, the next time you eat apples, save the peels and cores and use them to make apple cider vinegar. Fallen fruit is also good to use. You'll also need sugar and water, yeast is optional.
Making apple cider vinegar is a two-step process
First, the fruit's own and added sugars must be converted into alcohol by the wild yeasts that are present on the apples and in the air. For the alcoholic fermentation, as is usually the case, it is not necessary to exclude oxygen, so you can simply use any container, which you protect with a cloth and rubber band against dust and fruit flies. This is because the process of alcoholic fermentation of fruits and fruit juices is due to the conversion of simple sugars into ethanol by crabtree-positive* yeasts, especially saccharomyces cerevisiae.
These yeasts produce alcohol even during aerobic fermentation and are found in nature especially on fruits. As discussed among hobby brewers, it is practically impossible to saturate the batch with so much oxygen at home that no alcoholic fermentation would take place. Handy, isn't it?
In the second step, when alcohol has been produced, the acetic acid bacteria play the main role. They are also naturally present in the air and on the fruit itself and need oxygen to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid. Therefore, you can simply continue to use the same vessel.
Apple cider vinegar or apple pieces in sugar water?
On the Internet and on social media, you often see a few roughly chopped apple pieces floating in sugar water, which is then supposed to become apple cider vinegar. This concoction of apple-flavored sugar contains none of the valuable ingredients that would be found in real apple juice, and taste-wise, the result doesn't even come close to good, traditionally prepared apple cider vinegar.
It's a bummer when you miss out on so much. Especially because good apple cider vinegar is not too complex to make. With the pomace left over from pressing, sort of an infusion of apples in water and some added sugar, you have a wonderful way to utilize the leftovers and make a great all-purpose vinegar with lots of flavor and nutrients. Also small chopped apple scraps in large quantities are a great base for making your own apple cider vinegar.
Do you need extra sugar to make your own apple cider vinegar?
In this recipe, sugar is added. The sugar serves as food for the wild yeasts and is largely, if not entirely, broken down during the fermentation process. The fructose from the apples may be sufficient, but will not reliably give you the same, best result, so I recommend the small addition of raw cane sugar or table sugar.
I am frequently asked if honey or maple syrup can also be used. The answer is yes, both can be used as a sugar source for fermenting apple cider vinegar, as both contain a high amount of sugar. However, it is important to note that using them will affect the taste of the apple cider vinegar because the sweetness may overpower the tart taste. Besides, it does not work quite as well and makes the whole process take longer.
Make your own apple cider vinegar
- 1 large jar
- 1 dishtowel or cloth napkin
- 1 rubber band
- 3-4 handsful apple scraps [ organic ]
- 1-2 tbsp raw cane sugar
- 1 liter water
- 2 grams winemaking yeast [ optional ]
- The most important thing when making your own apple cider vinegar is that all kitchen utensils and the jar are very clean. Rinse everything with hot water before you start.
- Fill the glass to 3⁄4 with chopped apple scraps. The most suitable is the pomace from making apple juice.
- Dissolve the sugar in the water. Take 1-2 tablespoons per liter, depending on how sweet the apples are. Fill the jar with the sugared water so that the apples are completely and generously covered.
- Close the jar with the kitchen towel and the rubber band. Place in a warm, rather dark place and stir 1-2 times a day to keep the apple pieces covered and prevent mold from forming. The wild yeasts and bacteria will now begin to ferment the sugar. It's normal if you see bubbles or foam on the surface - these are the gases released during the fermentation process.
- If you want to use yeast, dissolve it in a little water after 2 days and add it. You need 2 grams per liter. 30 minutes after adding, stir vigorously to incorporate oxygen and revive the yeast.
- After 3-4 weeks, pour through a fine sieve to remove the apple pieces and return the liquid to the jar. Cover again with the kitchen towel. From now on, the beginning vinegar should continue to stand dark, but rather cool. Fermentation at a temperature of 4-16 ° C is advantageous for apple cider vinegar, as it leads to a slower fermentation with less loss of delicate flavors.
- When the vinegar has reached the taste that you like, it will be bottled in clean bottles. It can be consumed immediately, but will benefit from further storage. 5-6 months are optimal.
- Ideally, the fermentation process will have created a vinegar mother that you can store in vinegar and add to your next batch of vinegar. A good vinegar mother can be used again and again to make new apple cider vinegar.
Is that kahm yeast on the apple cider vinegar?
A few days after you stop stirring your apple cider vinegar, you may see what looks like kahm yeast is developing. Of course, it's possible that it really is developing kahm yeast - in which case you should remove it with a kitchen towel and add a shot of finished vinegar to prevent re-growth.
However, it is also possible that the supposed kahm yeast layer is a developing vinegar mother, a mixture of microorganisms responsible for the fermentation of alcohol into vinegar.
A vinegar mother develops naturally
It consists of acetic acid bacteria and yeasts, which bond in the form of cellulose threads and form on the surface of the apple cider vinegar. This mother is a natural component of apple cider vinegar. It ensures that the apple cider vinegar continues to ferment and the acetic acid bacteria are increased, resulting in the formation of more acetic acid. In addition, the mother also contains enzymes and probiotic bacteria that can provide health benefits.
It is desirable for homemade apple cider vinegar to grow a vinegar mother. Adding unpasteurized vinegar after 5-6 days can promote growth.
Make your own balsamic vinegar from apple cider vinegar
Homemade apple cider vinegar is already great, but have you ever made your own apple balsamic vinegar? Give it a try and be surprised! Fermenting apple cider vinegar and apple balsamic at home is a great way to add homemade and healthy ingredients to your kitchen. It doesn't require much effort or materials, and you'll be rewarded with delicious and nutritious products.
You need a really good apple cider vinegar for this, preferably the one you fermented yourself. And preferably homemade, long boiled apple syrup.
It can be done even easier, with added sugar.
Good quality - and save a lot of money
For really good apple balsamic vinegar prepare a mixture of 80% apple cider vinegar and 20% apple syrup. Then, depending on the desired sweetness and taste, simply add more vinegar or syrup and let it mature in a closed bottle in the dark. For extra flavor, you can also store your balsamic in a wooden barrel or add a few wood chips for flavor: Chestnut gives a tannic aroma, cherry highlights the fruity sweet note, juniper spices and oak round out the flavor.
If you do not use syrup, put the apple cider vinegar in a saucepan and add sugar, 1-2 tablespoons per 250 ml of vinegar. Reduce to half its volume on low heat. This will take a couple of hours. Once the apple balsamic has thickened, pour it into a clean bottle and let it settle. Again, you can add aromas of woods.
You now have your own homemade apple balsamic!
* The crabtree effect (after the English biochemist Herbert Grace Crabtree; also glucose effect) describes that under certain conditions yeast cells produce ethanol instead of carbon dioxide even in the presence of oxygen. This occurs when the glucose concentration exceeds a certain value.