The next time you make apple pie or applesauce or anything that uses a lot of apples, save the cores and peels. Use them to make this vinegar, which is delicious in salad dressings and marinades. It also works beautifully as a base for herbal vinegars.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: Approximately 1 pint
- 1 lb. apple cores and peels (include the peels only if you are using organically grown apples)
- 2-3 Tbsp. sugar or honey
Mix one tablespoon honey or sugar per cup of non-chlorinated or filtered water. The non-chlorinated part is important because chlorine can halt the fermentation process that is step one in turning your apple scraps into vinegar.
Place the apple scraps in a ceramic or glass crock or bowl and pour the sugar-water solution over them. Use enough liquid to cover the apple cores (they will float a bit - that's okay.)
Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and leave at room temperature for one week if made with sugar water, up to two weeks if using honey. During this time, stir vigorously at least once a day (more often is even better). The liquid will get frothy on top as fermentation gets going, especially when you stir it.
When the color of the liquid starts to darken after 1 - 2 weeks, strain out the fruit.
Keep at room temperature, stirring at least once a day, for two weeks to one month until the liquid smells vinegar-y and tastes sour. The healthy bacteria that create vinegar require oxygen for the process, so it is important not to seal the container with a lid until the vinegar is as strong as you want it to be.
Funnel into a glass bottle, cap or cork the bottle and store away from direct heat or light.
Homemade vinegar can only be safely used for pickling if it has at least 4.5% acetic acid. All commercial vinegars are that acidic or more so. You can test your homemade vinegar's acidity by using an acid titration kit, available from home winemaking suppliers.