Learn how to make apple cider vinegar, even if you’ve never fermented anything before. It is really easy and affordable. All you need is apple juice, raw ACV, and time!
There are several ways to make 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 isn’t the most reliable option as raw juice is prone to mold and kahm yeast.
- The traditional way to make vinegar is to ferment juice with champagne yeast into hard apple cider. Then allow the free-range acetic bacteria (or vinegar mother) to convert the hard cider into vinegar.
- Scrap apple vinegar is made using the cores and peels of apple juice, mixed with raw sugar to feed the ferment. It’s not as acidic or flavorful as ACV. But it is a good way to use up apple scraps! (I always make a few batches during apple season).
- The EASIEST way to make apple cider vinegar is to inoculate juice with a vinegar mother. Keeping the ferment open to the air allows wild yeasts to help convert the sugars into alcohol, while the vinegar mother converts the alcohol into vinegar.
What is a vinegar mother?
An apple cider vinegar mother is comprised of acetic acid bacteria. It converts ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid (vinegar).
There are plenty of brands of apple cider vinegar that contain a mother. However, not all store-bought cider vinegar is cultured. Less expensive brands are colored and flavored like ACV, but they’re not actually cultured apple cider vinegar.
How do you know which brands are cultured?
What if my vinegar made a rubbery disk?
Discovering a rubbery disk floating on top of your vinegar is totally fine. It is called a vinegar pellicle. And it is a combination of a mother and cellulose.
I actually make quite a bit of vinegar, and I get a pellicle about 1/3 of the time. I usually get a vinegar pellicle with scrap apple or apple cider vinegar. Other fruits seem less inclined to form pellicles.
Save your pellicles! They are perfect for culturing future batches of vinegar. I also like turning my pellicles into snacks. It may sound odd, but they’re quite tasty!
What types of juice?
Vinegar can be made with all sorts of different fruit juices! Simply follow the same recipe using your favorite type of juice!
Pear, blueberry, and peach vinegar are all delicious!
Here are a few things to consider when choosing what juice to use for vinegar:
- Avoid acidic juices. There’s a reason why orange juice isn’t used to make wine, cider, or vinegar! Yeast turns stringy in citrus and pineapple juice.
- Don’t use juice from concentrate.
- Preservatives will slow or stop the fermentation. So use store-bought apple juice that is labeled preservative-free. If that’s hard to find, just use a more natural brand. They are usually preservative-free.
- It’s best to pasteurize raw juice to prevent any mold or other contamination. Often raw juice will spontaneously start to ferment. While the results can be delicious, it’s not always the case. Pasteurize raw juice by bringing it up to a boil and simmering for 5 minutes.
Homemade apple cider vinegar is perfect for flavor infusions. Just don’t add any of the flavors until after it has finished fermenting.
If you aren’t sure how to infuse flavor into vinegar, check out this post on making fire cider. Fire cider is the ultimate flavor infusion! My personal favorite combination is orange rosemary. It’s just divine in salad dressings!
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar
Learn how to turn apple juice into delicious and probiotic apple cider vinegar. It’s really easy to make apple cider vinegar with a mother, and provides an affordable alternative to store-bought ACV.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 3 1/4 cups 1x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Probiotic
- Diet: Vegan
- 3 cups apple juice (pressed, not from concentrate)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (with mother, see section above for details)
- Mix the apple juice with the vinegar in a 1-quart glass jar. Shake the bottle of vinegar to mix the mother into the vinegar before measuring it out.
- Cover the jar with a breathable cotton cloth or coffee filter held in place with a rubber band or a mason jar ring to keep the fruit flies out. It’s important to let the vinegar have access to oxygen to properly ferment, so don’t cap it with a pickle pipe or other air-tight lid.
- Leave the vinegar to culture in a dark location for at least 2 months. There’s no need to stir or check on the vinegar.
- After 2 months, taste it. It should taste sour, like vinegar. Let it ferment for a bit longer if it’s not quite there.
- Pour the finished vinegar into a bottle or a clean jar for long-term storage and use. Store at room temperature in a dark location. It will continue to develop its flavor as it ages. The natural acidity is a great preservative. So homemade vinegar should last for several years.
- Unless you test for pH, you won’t know the actual acidity of your vinegar. So don’t use homemade vinegar for pickling or recipes where acidity levels are important. It’s perfect for salad dressing, sauces, and other culinary uses.
- If you want to filter out the floating bits just strain the vinegar through a fine mesh sieve when botting.
- Simple apple cider vinegar is prone to kahm yeast. Don’t worry about it, as it will die off as the vinegar acidifies. However, if mold grows on top of your juice you have to throw it away and start again. Honestly, I’ve never had mold grow on vinegar… but if you’re concerned, don’t use raw, unpasteurized apple juice. See the section above for details on how to pasteurize raw juice.
Keywords: probiotic, healthy, anti-candida, paleo, keto, gluten-free, low-fat, whole 30, ACV, how to make, homemade, raw, gala, fuji, raw vinegar