Homemade apple cider vinegar is really easy to make. It’s just apple juice that’s fermented through the hard cider stage into vinegar. All you need two is: apple juice, an apple cider vinegar mother, and time.
What is a apple cider vinegar mother?
An apple cider vinegar mother is a combination of bacteria and yeasts that convert the sugars in apple juice into acetic acid (vinegar).
There are several ways of getting mother to make homemade apple cider vinegar:
- If you are using raw, unfiltered apple juice, then you could let it spontaneously ferment from the free range bacteria and yeasts in your home. However, this is isn’t the most reliable way of making ACV.
- You can also mix your juice with champagne yeast to ferment the apple juice through the hard cider stage. Then the free range bacteria will culture the juice as it converts from hard cider to vinegar.
- The EASIEST way of getting a mother is to buy raw cider vinegar and inoculate your juice with a bit of the finished vinegar. However, not all cider vinegar is cultured. Cultured apple cider vinegars are dark coloured and have dark floating bits that settle on the bottom of the bottle. There are several brands of cider vinegar with mother available on the market, including: Viva Naturals, Bragg and Dynamic Health.
Regardless, of the method you use, eventually your cider vinegar will be colonized by the natural flora in your home. I always end up with a scoby-like thing on the top of my vinegar… even though I don’t brew kombucha at home.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 cups apple juice (pressed, not from concentrate)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (with mother) or 1 piece of mother
- Combine the apple juice and mother in a glass jar.
- Cover with a breathable cotton cloth, firmly attached with a rubber band or a mason jar ring to keep the fruit flies out.
- Leave it to culture in a dark cool location for at least 2 months or until ready for use.
-Unless you test for pH, you won’t know the actual acidity of your vinegar, so don’t use homemade vinegar for pickling or other recipes where acidity levels are important. Otherwise, it’s perfect for salad dressing and sauces, etc.
-If you want to filter out the floating bits just pour the vinegar through a coffee filter.
-If mold grows on top of your juice then you have to throw it away and start again. To avoid this, don’t use heavily processed apple juice (e.g. most brands that ship across the country), and culture in a cool (18C / 64F) and dark location.
Below is a picture of fresh juice with the mother at the bottom (lighter coloured liquid). The jar with darker coloured liquid is the finished vinegar. I like to cycle through my cider vinegar by continuously culturing one jar at a time. Though in the fall, I always make a few batches of scrappy cider vinegar.