Apple cider vinegar is simply apple cider that has been allowed to ferment past the drinking stage. Apple cider vinegar is great to use in homemade salad dressings and other cooking and is claimed to have healing properties for everything from skin irritations to weight loss. Making apple cider vinegar at home is not at all hard to do and requires very little equipment, but it does take a bit of time.
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Things you need
- Fresh apple cider
- Wide rubber band
- Air lock
- Bread yeast
- Siphon tube
- Glass jars
Purchase only fresh apple cider, which can be found at Farmer’s Markets and some health food stores. Make sure that apples are the only ingredients, as any additive such as ascorbic acid will kill the natural yeast growth needed to make vinegar.
Transfer the cider to a clean crock or jar if it is bottled in plastic. As the vinegar works, plastic can expand and crack.
Cover the crock or jar with cheesecloth and secure the cloth with a wide rubber band.
Let the apple cider sit in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months. Natural yeasts in the air will turn the cider to vinegar. Taste after 3 months and if ready, use a siphon to rebottle the vinegar into glass jars with a tight fitting lid. The cider can take up to six months to become a full-bodied vinegar.
Follow step one above. If the cider is purchased in plastic, transfer the liquid to a glass bottle.
Add 1 tablespoon bread yeast to the cider. Put the top on the bottle and shake to distribute the yeast evenly. Remove the top.
Secure a winemaking airlock to the bottle. Set the bottle in a cool, dark place and let the vinegar work for at least a month.
Check after a month to make sure the cider has turned to vinegar. Siphon the finished vinegar to clear jars and close with a lid.
Tips and warnings
- Depending on the temperature, humidity and other factors, apple cider vinegar may take up to several weeks beyond the times listed. Begin taste testing at the listed time and continue to let it work until ready.
- Wine yeast can be used for cider vinegar and will give the vinegar a more refined taste.
- The stage between apple cider and apple cider vinegar is called apple jack. Apple jack was a popular beverage in the 1800s and the early 1900s.
- Make sure all your equipment is clean and sterile to avoid unwanted bacteria in the vinegar. Rinse the crocks, jugs, bottles and airlocks with boiling water before use.