We are a christian homeschooling family of 4, living the farm life in north central Alabama. rWe are trying to live as simply and purposely as possible. Follow along as we pilgrim along this wonderful life!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Apple Scrap Vinegar

We use a lot of vinegar. Or, I should say me..... I use a lot of it and I'm always looking for ways to save money. I love Braggs raw vinegar with the mother, but it's a little pricey, even through the food co-op. I also use store brand vinegar for cleaning and such~ the "non-important" things. I love using vinegar in the No-Poo method of shampooing which I've been doing for a while now. I have almost waist length hair, so it takes a lot!
After visiting my local apple orchard this fall, and buying a bushel for all kinds of good things (like fried apple pies!)-- I remembered something about using apple scraps to make vinegar. So, after a little research, I decided to dive into my own brewing.

Take your apple scraps and place them in a food-grade or large glass container about 3/4 full. (It doesn't matter what kind of apples you use. It can even be mixed.) I used a gallon glass container and several 1/2 gallon glass containers because I had a lot of scraps. I didn't have anything large enough to hold them all at the same time! Keep your glass pickle jars for uses such as these! I don't think it much matters about the shape and size, as long as it's safe to use. I try to always use glass for projects because they can be sterilized and they are not porous to hold in bad germs or bacteria.

Now for the sugar/water mixture. Use 1/4 cup regular sugar to 1 quart of purified or filtered water. You can use honey, but it may take a while longer to ferment into vinegar from what I've read. I used regular sugar and it seems to be doing fine. Dissolve the sugar in the water and pour over your apple scraps. Make up enough sugar water to cover your scraps and cover each jar with cheesecloth or a towel. Secure with rubber band. You don't want fruit flies or other flying creatures to ruin your product. I love to use old pillow cases for a covering over the jar and straining. They can be found cheap at thrift stores- much cheaper than cheesecloth- and they are much stronger and allow your projects to breathe. They can be cut up to the perfect size you need for any project.

Covered and fermenting!

This is how it looked after 2 weeks.

Over time, your scraps will start bubbling~~ fermentation!!!! Stir every day or even several times a day. You will need to do this because the scraps will float to the top and they need to be submerged. This keeps everything mixed up well and keeps mold from growing. If you ever see black mold growing, discard and start over! I didn't have that problem with mine. You need to keep your containers in a temp of about 70 degrees. It just doesn't need to get too hot because mold will start growing. If it's too cold, it just slows fermentation.

After a few days, take a taste test. Be brave! It's not quite vinegar, but it sure isn't sugar water anymore!

Straining the vinegar.
 I have read to leave your vinegar brewing for 2 days or for 4-6 months! This varies widely!!! I left mine 2 weeks. At that point, the bubbling slowed and it just looked like it was done. I strained them, rinsed my jars out well and filled them back up with my strained vinegar. A few days after straining, the mother appeared! I GREW A MOTHER!!! You can too!

The Mother..... gross isn't it?
What is a mother? It is an acidic strain of acetobactor bacteria that when combined with oxygen, (hence the reason your container needs to breathe) causes fermentation. It has a jelly like appearence and is quite gross looking.

I am at this point with my own vinegar making. Even though I strained my scraps, it is still fermenting. I will leave them covered with my pillow cases and rubber bands for several more weeks. Possibly months. I will taste every few days until it tastes like vinegar. Then I will bottle up and store.

Strained vinegar.

I do have to say that when you make vinegar, it can be quite odorous! At first maybe a family member may ask, "What is that funny smell?" You may want to tell the whole family your intentions so everyone is well prepared for the odor that will linger. After straining, I did notice the odor got better.

I encourage you to do your own research on this wonderful," I-can-make-this-at-home" product. It makes a great homeschool project too! Try using different fruit. Maybe throw in some cranberries. Maybe lemons?
Next time, I'm going to be a little adventurous!

Blessings to you,

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