My ACV (apple cider vinegar) that I started at the end of April is finally finished and ready for use. To be honest, it probably could have been used before now, I just haven’t had time to strain it and remove the SCOBY. It’s a super simple process that can save you a LOT of money on buying the organic, unfiltered, raw stuff.
So…how did I do it?! Well…first, find yourself a project that calls for apples, a good bit of apples. I made some apple butter, which called for skinned & cored apples, so I had a lot of skins and cores left over.
– I filled up a 1/2 gallon glass jar with the skins and cores. You can use whatever size jar you prefer, I used a half gallon milk jug as I wanted to make sure I got it right before I made a bigger gallon batch. Glass is preferred since odors and also bacteria can stick to plastic much easier.
– Once the skins and cores are in your jar, you need a bit of finished ACV (the kind with the mother, ie Bragg’s). I added about 1/8 of a cup of Bragg’s to my skins & cores in the jug.
– Once you’ve added the ACV to the jar with skins & cores, cover the remaining skins & cores with luke-warm (not HOT, not COLD) water. Put on a lid and give the jar a couple of good shakes and inversions so that it mixes well.
– Once mixed, remove the lid and replace with something “breathable,” such as cheese cloth or a dish towel. I used a paper towel folded in half, secured with a rubber band. This allows the forming vinegar to breathe while preventing bacteria and organisms (like flies) to get into your vinegar.
– That’s really about it. Put your baby ACV into a moderately tempered (again, nowhere super HOT, but not in the fridge either) area that is also dark – I kept mine in a kitchen cabinet. Gently shake once a day for the first 2-3 days, and then once a week until it’s ready to go to help mix.
– You’ll know you’re doing it right if you get a beautiful, off-white/white SCOBY (symbiotic culture of organisms, bacteria, and yeast [see below picture]) forming on the top of your vinegar.
– It’ll be ready after 3-4 weeks of sitting, however I like to let mine sit longer. I keep mine sitting with the SCOBY & cores in it for at least a month and a half. The longer you leave it, the stronger & more vinegar-y it will become.
– When you’re satisfied with how long it’s sat, you can gently remove the SCOBY (save it for later, or feed it to your chickens/dogs/etc.) and strain the liquid from the cores and skins. I feed the cores & skins to my chickens and they LOVE them. I’m sure horses or other animals would enjoy them also.
– If you want to keep your SCOBY, keep it in the fridge with some of the liquid from the ACV. Keeping the SCOBY will allow you to start another batch of vinegar without the addition of the mother from another batch in the future. Or, you can feed it as a probiotic treat to your animals.
Enjoy your freshly made, probiotic rich, healthy, and CHEAP vinegar!!