Apple scrap vinegar is the perfect way to use up all the “trash” from your apple harvest, and makes a healthful and versatile vinegar in the bargain!
We’re getting closer and closer to fall. The days are shorter, the yearly bird migrations have begun, and the apples are starting to ripen. Time for apple scrap vinegar!
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We’ve already started making applesauce with some of the fruit that’s fallen from the trees because they’re too small and generally bruised for fresh eating. Then we use the cores, peels and even the bruised or mealy sections of those apples to make this vinegar. Nothing goes to waste! It’s a great thing to do for anyone wanting to be more sustainable on their farms or homesteads.
What is Apple Scrap Vinegar?
The premise of apple scrap vinegar is easy: it turns the peels and cores of your apples into apple cider vinegar through the magic of science! Well, actually it’s the magic of fermentation, the same process you use to make alcohol.
The vinegar is made by covering the apple scraps with water and leaving them at room temperature until the natural sugars in the apple (and any additional sugar added to the water) ferment and form ethanol alcohol. Bacteria then convert this alcohol into acetic acid.
Why Should You Make it?
Apple cider vinegar (the final product of your apple scrap vinegar) has been a home remedy for thousands of years, to clean and disinfectant, to help aid digestion, to fight infection and to reduce inflammation. It’s full of antioxidants, amino acids, and potassium, which helps fight bacteria by flushing toxins out of your liver and kidneys.
For more information: Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Health
By virtue of being a vinegar, it’s also extremely high in natural acetic acids, which scientists say may help improve heart health, control blood pressure and lower weight gain. Acetic acid is also used in many medications to treat problems such as ear infections, thrush, warts and nail fungus.
I mostly use it as an ingredient in cooking and baking, and as a delicious salad dressing or marinade.
It’s also useful here on our farmstead. We use it to disinfect and clean wounds, and as a healthy additive to our chicken’s and duck’s water.
Apple Scrap Vinegar Recipe
(Any time you use apples for any sort of eating or cooking, make sure to save the cores, peels and any bruised parts you cut out. You can store the scraps in the freezer until you have enough.)
- Apple scraps (about a pound)
- 3 cups filtered or non-chlorinated water
- 2-3 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (optional)
- 1 large (about 1 gallon) glass or ceramic jar
- Clean cloth to cover top with
- Rubber band to keep cloth in place
- Add the apple scraps to the jar
- Dissolve sugar in the water (chlorinated water could prevent the proper fermentation from happening, so using filtered water is important)
- Pour on enough of the sugar water to cover the apples
- If you’re using it, add the raw apple cider to help speed the fermentation process
- Cover the jar with the clean cloth or towel to keep fruit flies out
- Let the jar sit at room temperature for one week and stir it at least once every day (more is better)
- After one week the liquid should be darker in color, which means it’s time to strain out the fruit!
- Return the liquid to the jar and continue to stir daily for 2 weeks to 1 month
- Once it tastes as strong as you like, transfer the liquid to bottles and use as desired
Your apple scrap vinegar will bubble during the fermentation process, and a white scum will form on the top of the liquid, which is completely normal. Mold, however, is not good. Make sure that all your apple pieces are completely submerged after you stir them.
The pH in homemade apple cider vinegar can vary widely in each batch you make. If you want to use your homemade vinegar when canning, make sure it has a pH of 4.5 percent acetic acid (pH can be tested with a digital pH tester.)
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