Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Making Your Own Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, an elixir whose many benefits are enumerated here, is relatively inexpensive, but I like the challenge of making things myself. Unlike other sorts of vinegars which require a starter batch and a several-step process, ACV-making is about as easy as it gets. One needs only apple scraps, water, a jar, a paper towel, and some patience.

How To Make ACV:
1. Let apple scraps (cores, peels, apple bits) sit out for 1-2 days to brown. I'd suggest scraps from a minimum of 4 apples, but you can use as much as you want. 

2. Place scraps in a jar and cover with water. The scraps should come up close to the top of the jar, not float in the water. (I used a peanut butter jar, which winded up yielding such a small amount of vinegar that it almost wasn't worth it. I'd suggest using at least a quart-sized jar to make a decent amount of vinegar.)

3. Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth or a paper towel and secure with a rubber band. Put the jar in a cool, dark place such as a kitchen cupboard.

4. Wait. Vinegar is made through fermentation, so there's no quick way to make it. I allowed my first batch to ferment for a month, which I would say is the bare minimum. It did not come out strong enough for my taste, so next time I will let it ferment for at least 2 months. Just smell it periodically and you will have your answer as to whether or not it has become vinegar yet.

5. Pour through a strainer into a bottle to separate the scraps. The cloudy brown gunk which remains in the water is actually what makes this particular vinegar so good for you, so don't strain too vigorously!

Again, commercial ACV is cheap enough if you'd rather not go through the 2 months of waiting, but I love the idea of making something out of what would ordinarily be garbage!

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