Tuesday, November 04, 2014

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar

It's been apple season for the past month and we've been so happy to stock up on local apples for drying, pressing into cider, pies and applesauce.  We have our own small apple trees, but since they don't produce enough yet we like to supplement our apple eating with wild harvest, go to pick our own at a local orchard, and buy them at the farmers market, but two other good local sources for organic apples are through these member-based food buying clubs Baileys Local Foods and Sustainable 360

We try not to waste any bit of the good organic apples we grow/purchase/find, so everything, including the peel, gets used.  Organic peel is perfect for keeping in a pie recipe or adding to applesauce to give it a pinker colour, but another perfect use of apple peels is to make apple cider vinegar.  Apple cider vinegar has so many uses - from healthful tonics, making herbal medicines and shrubs (aka. sipping vinegars), hair rinses (as a great hair conditioner use 1 cup warm water with 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar), adding into salad dressings, and more.  Here is a simple recipe for how to make it at home.

Simple DIY Apple Cider Vinegar
Note: this recipe takes 7 weeks to prepare

You will need:
- large glass mason jar with shoulders
- piece of muslin cheesecloth and rubber band
- organic apple peels
- water
- organic sugar

1) Wash apples.  Collect and save the apple peels as you are preparing your apple sauce, pies, etc.  Pack them into your glass mason jar tightly.  Choose a jar that you can fill right to the top with peels.

2) When your jar is filled prepare a simple syrup.  The ratio is approx. 1 litre water to 1/4 cup organic sugar.  Bring water to a boil, add sugar and dissolve by stirring.  When sugar is dissolved pour this syrup over the apple peels to cover completely.

3) Cover jar with a cheesecloth, secured with rubber band.  Let stand for 1 week on your kitchen counter.  Stir once a day (or as often as you think of it).

4) After 1 week, strain the syrup.  Compost the apple peels, and rebottle the syrup in your jar.  Cover again with cheesecloth.

5) Now let this syrup/juice stand on your kitchen counter for 6 weeks, in a cool location out of direct sunlight.  Try to stir it once a day or so. 

6) Taste as you go along, and when the flavour is to your liking then the syrup can be bottled in another jar with lid and stored in the cupboard.  Usually it is ready by about 6 weeks.

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