Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar Easily

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular household staple with many uses, from cleaning and cooking to health and beauty. However, store-bought versions can be expensive, and the quality can vary.

ACV has many benefits, from being used as an energizing tonic to a healing elixir. It’s a completely natural product, with all the benefits of apples PLUS the added benefits from being fermented, which include acids and enzymes.

jar of homemade apple cider  vinegar next to some apples

That’s why many people choose to make their own apple cider vinegar at home…

It’s also more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made varieties. Second, you can control the quality of the ingredients, ensuring that only the best apples are used.

Finally, homemade vinegar has a fresher flavor than store-bought varieties. Whether you’re looking to save money or create a superior product, making your own apple cider vinegar is a great option.

In this post, I’ll tell you how you can make your own apple cider vinegar mixture with nothing but apple scraps, water, and sugar.

It’s incredibly easy, has a great taste – and will let you make up a large batch in just a few weeks’ time.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar Made Up Of?

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice. The fermentation process produces acetic acid, which is the main active ingredient in vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar also contains water, trace amounts of other acids, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. While most commercial vinegars contain only 5% acetic acid, apple cider vinegar can have an acetic acid content of up to 6%.

The high concentration of acetic acid gives apple cider vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.

How Long Does it Take to Make Apple Cider Vinegar?

The entire process of making apple cider vinegar takes around six weeks.

The good news is that this is not six weeks of active work. To begin, you’ll only have a few minutes of gathering up your ingredients and mixing them together.

Then there’s some straining, checking on the mixture, and other quick maintenance work involved later on.

Although it takes more than a month for the ingredients to ferment, this really is not a time-consuming process at all.

Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a versatile product that can be used for cooking, cleaning, and even as a natural remedy.

When used in cooking, apple cider vinegar can add a tart and tangy flavor to salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. It can also be used as a natural degreaser when cleaning.

Whether you use it in the kitchen or the bathroom, apple cider vinegar is a versatile product that deserves a place in your home. Here’s some ways I like to use apple cider vinegar:

  • as a hair rinse, adding 2 Tablespoons to 1 cup cool water
  • as a “pick me up recovery drink” after a workout, adding 2 Tablespoons with 2 Tablespoons maple syrup to 1/2 cup water
  • as an aid for indigestion, adding 2 Tablespoons to 1/2 cup cool water
  • in cooking, to add zing and a “sour” note
  • in homemade condiments like mayo and salad dressing
  • adding to chicken bones and veggies, to help draw out the minerals when making broth, using 3 Tablespoons for an 8 quart crock pot size.
  • As a facial toner
  • For aiding in weight loss and overall digestion
  • To help regulate blood sugar in a natural way
  • As a substitute for apple cider or apple juice in many recipes

Apple cider vinegar can also be used to treat various health conditions. For centuries, it has been touted as a natural remedy for everything from colds and indigestion to arthritis and weight loss.

While more research is needed to confirm these claims, many people swear by the healing powers of apple cider vinegar.

The list goes on and on. Buying apple cider vinegar, or ACV is fairly easy and widespread. You can purchase apple cider vinegar at nearly any local grocery store.

What Kind of Apples to Use

When making your own apple cider vinegar, it’s important to use the right kind of apples. For the best results, choose apples that are high in acidity. These include Granny Smith apples, Braeburn apples, and Honeycrisp apples.

In addition, make sure to use organic apples if possible, as they will contain fewer pesticides and herbicides.

How Do You Make Apple Cider Vinegar at Home?

Apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but have you ever wondered how it’s made? The process of making apple cider vinegar is actually quite simple, though it does require some time and patience.

Here’s how to do it.

Wash, Peel, and Core Your Apples

The first step is to wash, peel, and core your apples. You can use any type of apple you like, but a firmer apple will result in a clearer vinegar. Once your apples are prepared, cut them into small pieces and place them in a glass jar.

apple peels and cores in glass jar
apple peels and cores in glass jar

Stir in Sugar/Water

After peeling and coring your apples, the next step in making apple cider vinegar is to stir in sugar/water. This combination provides the perfect environment for the bacteria and yeast to grow, which is essential to the fermentation process.

adding sugar to apple chunks in jar
adding sugar to apple chunks in jar

Once you’ve added the sugar/water, be sure to give it a good stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.

Add More Water

fill jar with apple chunks with water
fill jar with apple chunks with water

Next, add more water to the mixture until the apples are completely submerged.

Cover With Cheesecloth to Keep Out Bugs

cover with cheesecloth
cover with cheesecloth

After adding apples, sugar, and water to a jar, cover the top with cheesecloth to keep out bugs. You can also use a coffee filter or water filter for this.

Allow the mixture to sit for several weeks, stirring occasionally. The sugar will feed the bacteria, which will turn it into acetic acid. This acetic acid is what gives apple cider vinegar its distinctive sour flavor.

Make Sure Fermenting Gasses Can Still Escape

When making apple cider vinegar, it is important to make sure that fermenting gasses can still escape. If the gasses are unable to escape, they will build up and cause the cider to explode. To avoid this, again, use a porous cover like cheesecloth on the container that you are using for fermentation. Do not use an airtight lid. Using a porous cover will allow the gasses to escape and prevent your cider from becoming a sticky mess.

Drain Liquid Off After 6 Weeks

drain off liquid
drain off liquid

Your next step is to drain off the liquid. To do this, I find it easiest to dump the mixture into a separate container, like a measuring cup, then to strain the liquid back through the cheesecloth into a new pint jar.

You’ll be starting fresh and can strain off all the sediment, apple peels, and so on without making a huge mess.

Alternatively, you could use a sieve or colander. You don’t have to strain into a fresh jar, either, if you’re short on supplies. You can strain back into the original jar, but you may want to wash it first to make sure you’re starting with a fresh slate for the last step in the process.

finished apple cider vinegar
finished apple cider vinegar

At this point, you now have hard cider! You can compost the apple peels or feed them to livestock.

Store for Another 2-4 Weeks

Homemade apple cider vinegar is a delicious, healthy addition to any pantry. And, unlike many store-bought vinegars, it’s easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. The key to making perfect apple cider vinegar is to be patient.

After combining apples and water in a jar or crock, cover the mixture and allow it to ferment for 2-4 weeks. During this time, the natural sugars in the apples will be converted into acetic acid – the key ingredient in vinegar.

Finished Apple Cider Vinegar!

That’s all there is to it! After six weeks, you’ll have a large batch of apple cider vinegar ready to go – and ready to be used exactly as you see fit.

jar of homemade apple cider vinegar next to some apples

Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups chopped apple peels and cores
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 gallon sized jar
  • cool water to fill

Instructions
 

  • Simply place the peels and cores of the apples that you have leftover from canning, applesauce, or pie making into a gallon sized jar.
  • Stir the sugar into 3 cups of the water and pour over the apples
  • Fill the jar with water about 2 inches from the top of the jar.
  • Cover with several layers of cheesecloth to help keep out bugs, but allow fermenting gasses to escape.
  • After 6 weeks, drain off the liquid. This will be hard cider at this point. Compost the apple peels/cores.
  • Store in a tightly capped jar for another 2-4 weeks to finish the fermenting process.
  • You now have vinegar!

How Do You Make Apple Cider Vinegar With Mother?

If you want to modify this recipe so that your apple cider vinegar has the Mother, you’ll need to purchase a culture (or get one from a friend).

Add the culture to your mixture during the middle of the process, when you’ve got your hard apple cider ready to go. This will be sometime in the last few weeks.

Cover the jar with cheesecloth and secure. Put in a warm, dark place and wait for the mother to convert the mixture into vinegar. You’ll have a strong vinegar taste and smell when it’s done!

How Do I Know if My Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar is Bad?

Homemade apple cider vinegar can go bad if it’s not stored properly. Here are a few signs to watch out for:

  • The liquid is no longer clear. If your apple cider vinegar has become murky or cloudy, it’s a sign that the bacteria have gone bad. While it’s still safe to use in cooking, the quality will have decreased.
  • It has a strange odor. Vinegar should have a sharp, acidic smell. If your apple cider vinegar smells sour or musty, it’s a sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded.
  • There is sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Sediment is normal in homemade apple cider vinegar (more on this below) but if there is an excessive amount or it turns colors (like black or brown), it’s a sign that the vinegar has spoiled and should be thrown out.
  • It tastes sour or off. Vinegar is naturally sour, but if it tastes unusually sour or unpleasant, it’s a sign that it has gone bad and should not be consumed.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw out your homemade apple cider vinegar and start fresh.

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Keep?

Unopened, apple cider vinegar will keep for years without going bad. However, once you open the bottle, the vinegar will start to deteriorate and develop an off-flavor.

To prolong its shelf life, store the vinegar in a cool, dark place, and be sure to seal the bottle tightly after each use.

You can also transfer the vinegar to a smaller container to reduce the amount of air exposure. With proper storage, your apple cider vinegar should remain fresh for up to two years.

Common Questions About ACV

Can I Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day?

While apple cider vinegar is generally safe to consume, there are a few potential side effects to be aware of. First, because it is an acidic liquid, it can damage tooth enamel if consumed too frequently or in large quantities. To avoid this, it’s best to drink it through a straw, or dilute it with water before drinking.

Additionally, apple cider vinegar can interact with certain medications, so it’s important to check with your doctor before consuming it if you’re on any medication. Finally, some people may experience digestive issues after drinking apple cider vinegar, such as heartburn or nausea. If this occurs, it’s best to stop drinking it and consult with a doctor.

Overall, apple cider vinegar is a healthy addition to most diets, but it’s important to consume it in moderation. Remember, I’m not a doctor, and this blog post and recipe are not intended to provide any kind of medical advice – just information on how to make your own raw apple cider vinegar for home use!

How is Apple Cider Vinegar Made Naturally?

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. To make it, apples are crushed and mixed with yeast and bacteria.

The mixture is then allowed to ferment for several weeks. During this time, the sugars in the apples are converted into alcohol. The alcohol is then converted into acetic acid, which gives apple cider vinegar its sour taste. Finally, the vinegar is filtered and bottled.

While most commercial vinegars are made using artificial methods, apple cider vinegar can also be made naturally at home.

Do You Have to Make a Gallon Of ACV at a Time?

Many people choose to make apple cider vinegar a gallon at a time, but you don’t have to.

You can use any size mason jar. I prefer to use glass jars that are about a pint in size. This allows me to make smaller batches that are ready to be pulled as needed. I don’t use a gallon at a time because it’s more difficult to store and manage a large batch.

If you’re new to making apple cider vinegar, I suggest starting with a smaller batch so you can get a feel for the process and decide how much you need to make at one time.

How Do I Know When My Apple Cider Vinegar is Ready?

The best way to tell if your vinegar is ready is to taste it. If it is still too sweet, it needs to continue aging. If it is too sour, it is ready to use.

You can also use a pH test strip to check the acidity of your vinegar. A pH of 3.0 or below indicates that your vinegar is ready to use. Once your vinegar is fermented, it will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dark place.

Should Apple Cider Vinegar Have Stuff Floating in It?

While some brands of apple cider vinegar do have sediment or “floaties” in them, this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many people believe that the sediment is actually a good indicator of quality. Don’t stress if you have it in your apple cider vinegar – or if you don’t. No biggie either way!

The sediment is made up of healthy enzymes and minerals that can be beneficial for your health. However, if you don’t like the way it looks, you can simply strain the sediment out before consuming the vinegar.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you want to consume the sediment in apple cider vinegar.

Final Thoughts

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to add flavor to your food and get some health benefits in the process. It’s also really easy to make at home, so there’s no need to spend extra money on store-bought versions.

Ready to start making your own apple cider vinegar? Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be enjoying fresh batches in no time!

26 thoughts on “Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar Easily”

  1. Hi Heather, I love your Blog – its filled with so many informative and healthy life-style tips. I’m a senior citizen living on a grape farm in Western NY so am new to the “organic” buzz but find many of the old fashioned things I’ve done for years around the farm and home were actually “organic” but I’m always try to learn more. Presently have given up my household cleansers for vinegar & baking soda and have a batch of Fresh Eggs Daily’s citrus vinegar cleaner brewing. We have an apple tree that is loaded this year. I’ve given lots away to friends & family and they are of a variety that doesn’t store well so I have been giving them to my hens, ducks & geese (who naturally love them). We have enough applesauce made and recently I’ve had to stop baking as my husband is diabetic and his blood sugars need to be lower – so no sweets like apple pie etc. for awhile. With so many apples available, I presume I can make the vinegar by just chopping up the whole apples and following the recipe for ACV? Its a shame to just feed them all to the poultry if I could make something useful from them. What do you think?

    1. Hi Linda and thanks for your kind words! I think that would be a great way to use those apples up! I would chop up what you need to make as much as you can store comfortably. I usually go through about 5 gallons each year, IF I ration it out 😉 you can give them to the poultry AFTER the ACV is done 😉

  2. I usually start the process from scratch, because I only do it once a year when we get the apples off our tree. But, I am sure that you can just use some from the first jar to “kickstart” the next batch 🙂

  3. I love your posts! Just found ya today, from another homesteader on Facebook, The Hippy Gardener. I wondered, is the ACV that you make from this recipe like Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with “the mother” in it? I’ve seen some good recipes that call for Bragg’s particularly. Thanks so much!

  4. I really liked your recipe for the ACV. When you made yours did a mother develop? Were you able to reuse it for other batches or do you have to start every batch fresh?

  5. Hi, Heather! Looking forward to trying this recipe. I am recently retired and looking for ways to making my life more rural! After making the ACV, what is the best way to store it? Thank you!

  6. Would it be safe to use this for canning recipes calling for Apple cider vinegar? I’m swimming in apples… 😉 Love your blog, btw!

    1. Hi tlc,
      In response to your question if this apple cider vinegar would be safe to use for canning recipes, the answer is NO. When you are canning, you use a small quantity which is determined by a standardized strength. Regular white vinegar is 5% strength, whilst the double-strength is 10%. My apple cider vinegar (Filsinger brand) is also “5% acetic acid by volume”. Recipes take into account this standardized strength before determining the quantity within the recipe. Vinegar is not only added for flavour in canning, but its primary purpose is to make the canning process safer and kill all pathogens. Tomatoes, for instance, are not naturally sufficiently acidic to can in a boiling water bath, hence the inclusion of vinegar. Homemade vinegar preparations come in various dilutions and hence cannot be safely used. Same goes with canning recipes calling for bottled lemon juice for preservation purposes. One should not substitute freshly squeezed lemon in this instance since the acidity varies per lemon. Having said this, there are many, many other uses for this vinegar and I can’t wait to try my hand at his recipe. Thanks for the simple directions Heather. A question that I have for you is do you store the undiluted vinegar in the fridge once its made. The natural health food stores brands require it, and I’m wondering what’s been your experience, Thanks…I’ve enjoyed other pages of your site as well.

  7. Hi, Heather. I am trying to make my own apple cider vinegar and am not sure I have it right. The liquid has been drained off and is sitting in a little used cabinet in the dark. I just looked at it and there are two crepe looking things floating on the top. Are they the mothers? Also, it doesn’t smell very good, not vinegary although, I haven’t tasted it yet. Am I doing this right or do I need to dump this? Your infor would be greatly appreciated because I’m desperate for some apple cider vinegar.
    Thank you, Shirley

    1. without seeing it, I would have to only that those are the mothers. And, without smelling it, it would be hard to say, guessing again that it might need to sit a while longer? I would let it sit for another week or so, without a tight lid and try it again. Of course, when in doubt, you could always use it for cleaning vs. consuming.

  8. Just a question about second process where after draining off the liquid you say to then let it finish for another 4 to 6 weeks in Tightly capped bottles to finish fermenting. Wouldn’t that be asking for trouble because they could possibly blow up from the pressure. I make my own kombucha and just started making acv. I just want to make sure I not end up with a huge mess in make cupboards. Thanks in advance.

    1. I haven’t had one do this to me yet. But, if you are concerned, then leave the lid looser 😉 Let me know how it works for you!

  9. I’m very interested in making this. Some questions first. I’ve seen another recipe on a different website to make ACV, which uses 1 Tbsp of sugar to 2 cups of apples and 3 cups filtered water. Your recipe calls for considerably more sugar. My question is this: how does the quantity of sugar affect the quality of ACV or the speed of making it, or any other variance, and what can i expect by changing it? I’m assuming there’s more than just a taste difference involved. Also, if my ACV didn’t form an obvious mother, would utilizing a small quantity of the prepared vinegar help to kick start the next batch. Thanks kindly.

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