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Making apple cider vinegar  RSS feed

 
Lisa Niermann
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Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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I have a plan to make apple cider vinegar by chopping up apples from our tree (these are the ones with spots, wormholes, and from thinning the fruit, some from the ground), filling a 1/2 gallon ball jar with them, and covering with water. Then I will put a cheesecloth over the top and wait for the magic to happen!
Has anyone used this method? Some of my internet research has found that people first make apple juice with a juicer (which we don't have) then make cider, then the vinegar from that. I've seen others who just toss in the peels, cover with water and go. Some who have used chopped apples have gotten a moldy mess as a result.

Anyone with experience have any recommendations on what works best? Should I add some vinegar with "the Mother" (of a popular raw brand) as an inoculant?
Thanks!
 
Joe Braxton
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Unless you are very lucky, just throwing it together and hoping it will work will usually get you the yucky mess.
You really need to ferment to get the alcohol and then the bacteria can convert it to vinegar.
Luckily, both are really easy to control, so have fun!
 
Saybian Morgan
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Lisa if you must go wild style and try to make vinegar with damaged apples n water, please at least do yourself the favor of adding apple cider vinegar mother to help the process get going. One of the issues your going to have is surface area via the chop method, and that really makes it hard to establish a medium for the correct agents to dominate the brew. By adding a cup of braggs or any other form of organic acv you at least arn't waiting around for vinegar flies to impregnate your mass with the correct bacteria. No vinegar fly no bacteria, no surface area = other iggy guys in the water.

Best of luck, even a blender with water to make a slurry is better than chop and fill when were talking open air fermenting.
 
Julian Hoskins
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from my understanding vinegar mother feed on alcohol to produce vineger, so first you will have to make juice from your apples and ferment it.
I have accomplished this without a juicer by chopping and blending apples into a mush, running the mush though a flour press, then squeezing the juice out of the mush by putting it in a cheesecloth pouch.

after i fill a jug i add a little yeast and wait a few weeks for fermentation to finish.

after you have cider you will need to try and harvest some wild vinegar mother, ive heard the best way to do this is to put some sugar water mixed with yeast into an old water bottle and hang it under a tree and wait for flies to swarm it, after a while there should be dead bugs and a white web type mold, gather and wash this mold off, it is vinegar mother, it will produce vinegar.
Place the vinegar mother into your fermented apple cider and wait until it tastes right, then strain it and repeat for more.


I have never gone as far as producing vinegar myself yet so do not take my words as expertise, this is what i recall reading.

Look up green dean on youtube, he has a video on this.
 
Saybian Morgan
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that way of making apple cider vinegar would probably cost 100 dollars a gallon and heal nobody to any larger extent. I loved the steps and was like wow if you can make it through all those stages without screwing up via neglect, you get to taste your way to your medicine or poison.
I'm not bashing the method, I know the author can do it and that's amazing but how do i feed my family and animals this winter with a critical health resource. I can't spend 6 weeks leaving it up to serendipity and we could all get sick. Inoculating the new batch with a old batch is as apart of human fermenting culture in all it's subcultures.

That guy is most likely building new and unique generations of bacteria in the apple cider vinegar medium that no one could duplicated. Just changing the fly's that end up in the jug introduces all sorts of new interactions. Fermenting "thumbs up" "Permaculture appropriate technology" thumbs down.
I would like to try it thow, I can't seem to ever successfully cultivate mushrooms by intention but as soon as I dump a slimy moldy decaying lump of carbon material anywhere I get loads of mushrooms. So there's a good chance if I follow the instructions poorly and pay no attention it will work just fine.
 
Leila Rich
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Lisa, I do it, but on a larger scale. I went on about it in this vinegar thread .
I've done some pretty casual things with apples and water, and in my experience, the result has always been vinegar.
I imagine adding mother might well speed things up and maybe even improve the vinegar's quality, but my 'hack em up and chuck em in' method works for me.
If it's possible, I suggest going waaay bigger. Vinegar's a handy thing to have around, and if there's 25 gallons out the back, I feel happy using it on the floor, in the washing machine, on my hair...
 
Lisa Niermann
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Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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Thanks everyone, for your input!
Leila, I did see your vinegar thread, but felt I needed more details, such as the straining part...do you just strain the apples/mush out at a certain point, then let it continue on to vinegar? Or just strain it when it's done? Is there an optimal apple:water ratio?
I liked what you wrote in the other thread about using a trash can, however I don't want plastics leaching into my vinegar. Do you use something that is food grade material?
I wanted to start small to get a feel for what works first, before I go big! But I agree, you can't have too much cider vinegar at your disposal.

Time to experiment: mush vs. chunks on a very small scale, maybe I'll try with and without the Mother to compare results.
I'll try to remember to post them here!
 
Jay Green
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Why not just invest a little ingenuity into the project and make your own cider press?

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-cider/step6/Pressing-using-a-car-jack/

There are a few like this on YouTube as well.

After you have juiced your apples, you merely have to place this juice in a container~preferably glass or ceramic~cover the opening with an air permeable covering such as cotton or even a paper towel. Place the jug in a dark place and just let nature happen. The juice will pull mold/yeast spores from the air and will make it's own "mother" in due time. You can stir or swirl it every now and again to aerate it, but it isn't necessary.

Eventually you will have cider(think how quickly cider goes "hard"), then vinegar. After you have a good mother vinegar of your own, you can part it out into new jugs of juice to speed up the process of fermentation.
 
Lisa Niermann
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Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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"Why not just invest a little ingenuity into the project and make your own cider press?"

Haha, I love this! No fancy juicer necessary - just my style!
 
Tim Crowhurst
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Jay Green wrote:Why not just invest a little ingenuity into the project and make your own cider press?

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-cider/step6/Pressing-using-a-car-jack/

There are a few like this on YouTube as well.

After you have juiced your apples, you merely have to place this juice in a container~preferably glass or ceramic~cover the opening with an air permeable covering such as cotton or even a paper towel. Place the jug in a dark place and just let nature happen. The juice will pull mold/yeast spores from the air and will make it's own "mother" in due time. You can stir or swirl it every now and again to aerate it, but it isn't necessary.

Eventually you will have cider(think how quickly cider goes "hard"), then vinegar. After you have a good mother vinegar of your own, you can part it out into new jugs of juice to speed up the process of fermentation.


Alternatively, boil the juice until it has reduced to 1/3 of its normal volume, then turn into vinegar in the usual way. This will give you balsamic cider vinegar. It's best if aged a few years in wooden casks, so make more than you need - it's a good way of using up apples if you have a glut
 
Leila Rich
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I' was sure I posted the other day
Lisa Niermann wrote:do you just strain the apples/mush out at a certain point, then let it continue on to vinegar? Or just strain it when it's done?

I don't strain at all, ever I just push the 'mother' back and dip a jug in. The solids eventually sink. When I was a kid we had a wooden wine barrel that we threw the windfall apples into year after year. I don't remember ever emptying it, but I suppose we did.
Lisa Niermann wrote:Is there an optimal apple:water ratio?

Bound to be! I just add enough water to cover the solids. Considering it's ideally made with pure juice, I keep the water to a minimum.
Lisa Niermann wrote:I don't want plastics leaching into my vinegar. Do you use something that is food grade material?

No. I should, but this one most definitely isn't. I'm going to keep an eye out for an old wine barrel, but they don't come cheap.
When I cooked professionally, we used very heavy-duty, food-grade 30-odd gallon drums for flour...
Lisa Niermann wrote:I wanted to start small to get a feel for what works

If you have the apples and the space, I'd go big straight away! If you are doing a small batch, I think I'd go the full juicing route for maximum vinegar goodness. But really, I don't think I could make too much: I get a (rather tragic) kick out of sloshing it on the floor, down the toilet, in my hair...
 
Lisa Niermann
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Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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Just the info I was looking for Leila, thanks!
I scored a couple of free 4 gallon buckets from the bakery in town, so I'm going a little bigger than the jars.
I filled one almost to the top with apples from our tree and from the ground. Some were damaged and bug-eaten. Then just enough water to cover, then a single layer of cheesecloth.
I am keeping it in a somewhat warm storage room where it is usually dark.
Wish me luck!
ACV-bucket-001.jpg
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ACV-bucket-002.jpg
[Thumbnail for ACV-bucket-002.jpg]
 
Leila Rich
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Good work!
One thing, it will be vinegar infinitely faster if the skins are cut.
Getting a decent knife in that bucket and cutting things up will really move things along, but in my experience, you'll have vinegar eventualy one way or another
 
LaLena MaeRee
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How is everyone's vinegar attempts going? We have relatives with pear trees that I noticed produced yucky looking pears so I asked if I could have them to try and make some vinegar. I don't know if pears will even make vinegar but the fruit would have fell to the ground to rot otherwise, so I figured what the hell! I seen Leila say that cutting skins helps, so I just ran a razor around every single pear. I didn't wash them, some of them were starting to rot, and we even picked up every one off the ground. We are going to do a second bucket, so we can add mother to one and not the other just to see what happens. I did notice a bit of floaty ickies once I got the bucket full, should I rinse them or just wing it? I keep finding that the simpler something is the better it works, so I thought washing them might just be a waste of time. They are also going to sit outside under our travel trailer, as we don't really have a better place for them. Anyways, enough of the details, here is the pictures!~


And my frugal way of covering them, I have old bandanas of every single color given to me by my sister who had bought them in highschool to match her outfits, I used a bungee cord to tie it on, I may change this to hemp twine or something if Joe doesn't like that I stole his bungee, and he probably won't like that I stole his bungee, lol!.

 
Leila Rich
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LaLena MaeRee wrote: I seen Leila say that cutting skins helps, so I just ran a razor around every single pear.

I think my comment about cutting the skin was misleading; I should've been clearer and said that while, in my experience, you'll eventually get vinegar whatever you do, the more the fruit is broken up, the faster things will happen.
Whacking fruit with the back of a spade works wonders
 
LaLena MaeRee
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LOL thanks Leila, I think these should be alright, most of them were falling apart as I cut them, they had started to go soft. I also am in no rush, I just didn't want to see it all left to rot under the tree it fell from mostly. They have another tree too but its pears aren't ready yet, it will give us a LOT more so we will have more buckets of this to start later as well. Maybe I can rig up a wall with a basin under it and let all the boys throw pears at the wall, that might be a fun way to break some up!
 
Leila Rich
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LaLena MaeRee wrote: Maybe I can rig up a wall with a basin under it and let all the boys throw pears at the wall, that might be a fun way to break some up!

Now we're talking!
I'm seeing a big 'target' drawn on the wall above your vessel: boys+competition=hopefully lots of smashed pears in the right place
 
Jane Jones
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I'm so pleased I found this forum! I can see I'll find loads of useful information here.

My husband and I live in England, in a small house with a teensy tiny garden I'm working on transforming to an edible landscape using permaculture principles. Of course, I'll get it all done and it will be time to move back to Australia, but I hope whoever inherits the garden appreciates it!

I want to try making cider vinegar with the small sour apples from what look to be wildling trees on waste ground near us. Hopefully next year or the year after I'll be picking apples from the three new apple trees I guerilla planted there this Spring. Next year- a pear, and mulberries if I can get the cuttings to take.

I plan to chop the apples up, maybe mince them in a old hand cranked meat mincer, chuck the mush in some big food grade plastic jars I have, cover with filtered water then add some mother from commercial ACV to get it moving. I'm a little squeamish about the mother at the bottom of my ridiculously expensive bottles of that well-known brand of raw ACV, and don't want to waste it!

Does that sound like something that would work? My main concern with Winter coming is how to keep it warm enough. We don't heat our house anywhere near the 80 degrees F I've seen mentioned as ideal vinegar making temperature! Has anyone had experience with how cooler temperatures might affect things?

 
Leila Rich
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Jane Jones wrote: My main concern with Winter coming is how to keep it warm enough. We don't heat our house anywhere near the 80 degrees F I've seen mentioned as ideal vinegar making temperature! Has anyone had experience with how cooler temperatures might affect things?
In my experience, vinegar is really tough. Even if it goes 'to sleep' I'd say it will be up and about again whatever you, or the temperature does!

My latest batch of vinegar is very wimpy in the 'vinegariness' department.
I just chopped up another couple of kgs of apples, added them to the wussy vinegar, stick-blended and will cover wih light screen for some months.
 
Matu Collins
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We make apple cider vinegar every year. We are lucky enough to have a neighbor friend with a hand crank press so we have a party

and make a bunch.
My method of making vinegar is to put cider in glass canning jars with cloth in the rings instead of covers , pour a bit of unfiltered vinegar in, and leave it for a while, then pop in the fridge when it seems like vinegar. Not very scientific or exact but it keeps us from drinking all the cider in the first week and the vinegar is great.
 
Jane Jones
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Thanks for the reply, Leila! It did make good vinegar in the end, though unfortunately I accidentally killed the mother

It formed a wonderful thick jelly layer on top, but stuck to the wall of the jar and dried out when the fluid level evaporated as the weather warmed up and I forgot to check on it. Well, I didn't forget. I ignored that nagging little voice telling me I really had to check on the vinegar, for weeks. My bad and a lesson learned.

Matu, that sounds like a fabulous way to do it. I have an old hand crank meat grinder and was wondering if I could pulp apples using it, then strain it. But I took the easy route and just chopped mine and added peels and cores from apples I'd used for cooking or eating. Starting with the juice would give a way better result, I'm thinking. I didn't get to make any last year as we were away from home when the wild apples ripened.
 
Leila Rich
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I've retracted my previous advice to use whole fruit,
after cleaning out a large stinking barrel of apples floating in anaerobic liquid
 
Roger Taylor
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I juiced a bunch of road side apples and put the juice in a jar in the hot water cupboard. It grew a mother, but left unattended, sadly the mother went green moldy. Still, it was a success and I'll try again next year. Another batch I made with some Bragg's added, just went to alcohol.
2015-06-19-Apple-Cider-Vinegar.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2015-06-19-Apple-Cider-Vinegar.jpg]
 
Nick Kitchener
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In the fall, a friend and I extracted 60 L of juice using a modified waste disposal unit similar to this, but we dropped the apples in whole as they were small enough to fit in the intake, and were really juicy.



We didn't wash the apples at all, although we did dose the juice with sodium metabisulphite and let it gas off for about 5 days to a week.
After that, we pitched some yeast and fermented out the sugars, which left us with hard apple cider.

We racked the cider off the yeast lees, and pitched some vinegar and mother that had been sitting around for about 9 months without being fed. At first it didn't do anything, and after 2 months, I figured the mother had died. But then I looked inside the fermenter the other day and found a really healthy new mother.

So it might take some time for the vinegar to get started. Hang in there.
 
Tobias Ber
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hey... we just harvested maybe 15-20kg of kinda sour roadside apples.

i d like to make some ACV. i tried to get a mother started one month ago from organic acv (it had brown dust on the bottom of the bottle, but no slime), which i fed with water and honey. no mother visible yet. so i chucked it into a bottle with some water, some fresh ACV and some blended apple peals. the peals will contain the yeast which will make the vinegar, right? i ll leave the bottle open and shake it often... that will bring oxigen into it and kill of beasties (it s already kinda sour... uhm VERY sour). i d like to start a mother in that bottle... will that work? it is very sour by now.

i have a foodgrade plastic bucket in which i ll try to make some acv. i ll blend apples, peals, cores and throw in the stuff that s leftover from making apple juice. i ll add a bit of aforementioned mixture. i ll just add stuff when i process the apples. like when i make juice, cake or dried apples, i ll just add the peal, cores, leftovers to the bucket. will that work?

thank you for your advice and have a blesses sunday!

tobias

 
Nick Kitchener
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I've never tried this technique, but apparently it works.

BTW, the reason your first attempt at growing the mother didn't work is because the bacteria does not feed on sugar. It needs alcohol. This is why you need yeast. The yeast feeds on the sugar and produces the alcohol, which the vinegar bacteria uses to make ascetic acid.

When I make ACV, I usually make apple cider first using a champaign yeast. I do this because the yeast has been adapted to not impart any additional flavours (it's neutral), to form a solid sticky mass at the bottom of the fermenter once it finishes fermenting (high flocculation), and to ferment a high proportion of sugars available (ferments dry). The result is a very clear, pure, product with little residual sweetness.

Some people prefer a sweeter vinegar, in which case I'd use an ale yeast, and ferment it under cool conditions.

You can mix yeast and vinegar mother together, and the process is faster. I don't usually do this as I actually make apple wine (higher alcohol content), and keep some back for processing into other products.
 
Tobias Ber
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hey nick,

thank you for your answer. would if have worked if i would have fed "the mother" (brown but not slimy stuff from bottom of bottle of organic AVC) with some cheap wine?
 
Nick Kitchener
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Yes. This is actually how I grew my first mother.
 
Tobias Ber
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hey nick,
thank you. how long did it take for the mother to grow?
how much wine and ACV did you take?

 
Tobias Ber
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update: the technique works quite well. but it s important to stir the apple-pulp in the bucket every day or two to prevent mold.
and do not fill the bucket too high, because the solids will rise when the fermentation starts going off.

there is vinegar mother growing in the bucket and in the bottles, it will develop a few weeks after pressing/filtering the vinegar.

the ACV does not taste very well but will be good for household use.

will the taste get better over time?
 
Henry Jabel
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Tobias Ber wrote:update: the technique works quite well. but it s important to stir the apple-pulp in the bucket every day or two to prevent mold.
and do not fill the bucket too high, because the solids will rise when the fermentation starts going off.

there is vinegar mother growing in the bucket and in the bottles, it will develop a few weeks after pressing/filtering the vinegar.

the ACV does not taste very well but will be good for household use.

will the taste get better over time?


If you press it to juice in the first place and ferment it to cider you wont get the mold as it will be killed by the alcohol from the yeast before it takes hold. You dont need to add yeast or anything most of the time, it will ferment on it own with the wild yeasts present in the environment. Once its fermented add the mother and leave it exposed to air.
 
Tobias Ber
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yes.... but the pressing was hard for me. i put it through a blender. after some time in the bucket it got mushy and easier to strain/ press through cloth.

a kind of cidre-press would be of great help, but not available for me
 
Tobias Ber
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the ACV is quite cloudy. i ve used roadside apples. probably they were crab apples (sour and hard). they should be high in pektin which will cause the cloudiness (as far as i know).... but it seems to settle over time
 
Henry Jabel
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Tobias Ber wrote:the ACV is quite cloudy. i ve used roadside apples. probably they were crab apples (sour and hard). they should be high in pektin which will cause the cloudiness (as far as i know).... but it seems to settle over time


You can get rid of the cloudiness by racking for the best result possible do it on a cold high pressure day (or put it somewhere cool). If you rack relatively early on the yeast wont break down over time and it help it be fairly clear.

If its from the side of the road it may not be a true crab at all but rather a pip that developed from a seed with those characteristics. The yeast breaks down pectin as the juice ferments to cider so you shouldnt be getting too much of that.
 
Tobias Ber
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hey henry...

thank you. not sure what kind of apples that are. they re planted in a neat row by the road. the region over here is somewhat heavy on producting apples. so the apples possibly got planted by the town. probably they used some heirloom-varieties. there are a few different varieties on that road. some trees appear to be grafted.
 
Mike Harmon
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I raised bettas a few times and one thing you need when you do this is to raise vinager eels for them when they are babies.
Now I am making kombucha which has a taste very much like vinager and is high in acetic acid which is pretty much vinager.
Because we are making kombucha, I remembered the eels and googled the subject and found in the hey days of making vinager, that it was very frequest the times that vinager was present in the finished product.
Filtering can get rid of the eels but maybe not the eggs. They live up to 10 months. Pasteurization kills them.

But what I wanted to know is how they got there in the first place. An eel can live a long time somewhere in nature to show up from an apple that was put in the vinager fermenting pot in the first place. I googled a source for "wild vinegar eels" and came up empty handed.

They are easy to see. ANd a group of them looks quite like a small peice of the "mother" except it moves

http://thisistrix.blogspot.com/2013/04/making-apple-cider-vinegar.html
 
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