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How to make Cider Vinegar

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There are always some free apples for the taking in autumn, writes Elizabeth McCorquodale, whether from wildings, community orchards, or through social media sites like Freecycle, and making up a batch of apple cider vinegar is a cheap way of acidifying soil or making your own spot weedkiller. You can of course use it for salad dressings and it is good for the chickens too.

Method
  1. Half fill a 1-gallon jar with chopped apples (any variety, with cores, skin and blemishes intact), add 1 heaped cup of sugar, then top up with water.
  2. Cover with cheesecloth to keep out fruit flies, then leave it to stand for 1 month (or so).
  3. As soon as it tastes/smells like vinegar, strain it and store in sealed bottles or jars.

If you have a good supply of apples, you can make a very respectable quantity to last through the year!

8 Comments on "How to make Cider Vinegar"

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  1. Dee Buck says:

    made the error of printing out and item 2 inches long, seven pages later i got it what a waste of resources.

    • Ruth Tott says:

      Sorry Dee. Next time please use the PRINT button at the top of the article as this only prints the page you want not all the other stuff.

  2. terry phillips says:

    When you have bottled the apple cider vinegar, put the bottle in the coldest part of the fridge for a couple of days. This will kill any wild yeast left in your vinegar. This is quite important, as the vinegar will carry on working if you don’t do it and could well explode if left in a warm place. Apple cider vinegar is really worth making, even with apple cores and peelings. keep a tub working all the time if you can. You can use it to make your own chutneys. And it is a really useful tonic for chickens at any time of the year. terry phillips

    • Tori Richardson says:

      You cannot chill yeast to kill them, they will only ‘hibernate’. There will be yeast present from the fruit (or fermentation if using cider) but it is the acetic acid bacteria that converts sugars and alcohol to acid to make vinegar.
      Keeping vinegar cool aids maturation and slows the above reaction if it is still occurring – which will be the case if you bottled a little early.
      With vinegar, bottling a little early or adding a tot of alcohol is actually good. Vinegar’s biggest enemy is leaving it open to the air after this process has finished, as the aerobic bacteria will continue to work breaking down the acid and producing carbon dioxide. A little left over alcohol for the bacteria to slowly work on ensures your brew stays acidic!

  3. Helen LP says:

    Would this be any good to use in pickling? We have inherited 4 apple trees and struggle to use all the apples but we pickle often and need apple cider vinegar which isn’t always obtainable near us …

    • Ruth Tott says:

      I’m not too sure Helen. Personally I wouldn’t.

    • Tori Richardson says:

      Helen,
      Natural cider vinegar can be used but should always be heated to a simmer (88-90 C) before use for pickling etc. to kill remaining bacteria, yeasts etc. as they can spectacularly spoil your pickles! Got this wrong with eggs once; it was the most repulsive thing I’ve ever had to clear up!
      Another concern is the level of acid present. If you have left your vinegar open too long, the acidity levels will have dropped (see my comments to Terry, above).

  4. terry phillips says:

    I have been using apple cider vinegar quite successfully this year to make chutneys. As it is clear with no colour, you could use soft brown sugar as we do to get a richer colour. Try a small batch of pickled onions and see how it goes.
    Have you tried drying apple rings with your spare apples? These are totally delicious.

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