Last Modified on May 07, 2014
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make Apple Cider Vinegar, our most popular home remedy!
Organic apple cider vinegar has so many benefits that people are anxious to try it, but they cannot always buy it locally. If you live where organic apple cider vinegar is difficult to find, try making it at home. Here's a recipe we found on the web to make apple cider vinegar! If you have different instructions, please send them our way!
Making Apple Cider Vinegar at Home
Two factors require special attention when making vinegar at home: oxygen supply and temperature. Oxygen is spread throughout the mixture by stirring it daily and by letting air reach the fluid through a cheesecloth filter, which is used in place of a regular lid. The temperature of fermenting cider should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Lower temperatures do not always produce a usable vinegar, and higher ones interfere with the formation of the "mother of vinegar." Mother of vinegar is a mat that forms on the bottom of fermenting wine that has gone bad.
Do not use a metal container when making vinegar; acid in the mixture will corrode metal or aluminum objects. Glass, plastic, wood, enamel, or stainless steel containers should be used for making or storing vinegar. The same holds true for making or storing foods that have more than 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in the recipe.
Steps for Making Apple Cider Vinegar
The following steps must be followed to make a high-quality cider vinegar:
1) Make a clean cider from ripe apples.
2) Change all of the fruit sugar to alcohol. This is called "yeast fermentation."
3) Change all of the alcohol to acetic acid. This is called "acetic acid fermentation."
4) Clarify the acetic acid to prevent further fermentation and decomposition.
Step 1--Making Cider
Cider is made from the winter and fall varieties of apples (summer and green apples do not contain enough sugar). Fruit should be gathered, then washed well to remove debris. Crush the fruit to produce apple pulp and strain off the juice. Use a press or cheesecloth for straining.
Adding yeast to activate fermentation is not essential, but will speed up the process. Special cultivated yeasts are available for this purpose at wine-making shops and biological labs--bread yeasts are not recommended. To make a starter, crumble one cake of yeast into one quart of cider. This makes enough starter for 5 gallons of cider; double the recipe proportionately when making more.
Steps 2 and 3--Making Alcohol and Acetic Acid
Pour all of the liquid into one or more containers to about three-quarters capacity; do not close the lids on the containers. Stir the mixtures daily. Keep the containers away from direct sunlight and maintain the temperature at 60 to 80 degrees F. Full fermentation will take about 3 to 4 weeks. Near the end of this period, you should notice a vinegar-like smell. Taste samples daily until the desired strength is reached.
When the vinegar is fully fermented, filter the liquid through several layers of fine cheesecloth or filter paper--a coffee filter works well for this. This removes the mother of vinegar, preventing further fermentation or spoilage of the product.
Storing Your Vinegar
The vinegar is now ready for storage in separate, capped containers. Stored vinegar will stay in excellent condition almost indefinitely if it is pasteurized. To pasteurize, heat the vinegar before pouring it into sterilized bottles, or bottle, then place in a hot water bath. In both cases, the temperature of the vinegar must reach at least 140 degrees F to sterilize the product, and should not exceed 160 degrees F. Use a cooking thermometer to ensure the correct temperature is met. Cool the containers and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
Flavoring can be added to homemade vinegar just before bottling. Good examples of additives include green onion, garlic, ginger, or any combination of dried or fresh herbs. To make flavoring, place material in a small cheesecloth bag and suspend in the vinegar until desired strength is reached. This will take about 4 days, except for garlic, which takes only 1 day. For every 2 cups of vinegar, use one of the following: 1/2 cup crushed fresh herbs, 1 tablespoon of dried herbs, 2 large cloves of garlic, or 8 small green onions. Other good flavorings include tarragon, basil, nasturtium, chives, mint, chervil, borage, hot chilies, and raspberries. Adjust the amounts to taste, but be careful not to overload the vinegar. Too much vegetable matter can destroy the acid and ruin the preservative quality of the vinegar.
Some flavorings may not go well with cider vinegar's distinct taste and color. When flavoring store-bought vinegar, use more delicate or decorative flavors. When flavoring store-bought vinegar, you will still need to pasteurize it and use sterile bottles.
Flavored vinegars taste great and have a beautiful color, making them excellent for use in salads. You will be tempted to display flavored vinegar; however, be sure to keep your bottles out of direct sunlight, which will destroy the flavor, acidity, and color of the vinegar.
Uses for Homemade Cider Vinegar
Because the acidity of homemade vinegars will vary, do not use them in foods to be canned or stored at room temperature. Homemade vinegar is, however, excellent in salads, cooking, or freezer and refrigerator pickled products.
Prepared by Christine Nicholas, Intern Doris Herringshaw, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
This information comes from the following website:
The Ohio State University
Extension Human Nutrition
1787 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212
10/12/2013: Debbie from Australia: "Hi,
I was wondering if it possible to change apple cider vinegar which doesn't have the mother in it, by adding some apple cider vinegar with the mother in it?
Does that make sense?
The reason is my mother just bought 5L of ACV before I found out the benefits of having the mother in it, & is disappointed that she didn't know, if this would work could you please tell me how we would go about the change?
10/13/2013: Mike from Denver, Colorado replies: "Debbie: Raw Apple Cider Vinegar contains acids, minerals, and enzymes not in pasteurized acv. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar does not have any beneficial microbes that can start a ferment. The acids prevent any further fermentation. The regular Apple Cider Vinegar is beneficial for alkalyzing only. The raw Apple Cider Vinegar has more benefits. You can make your own home made ferments with water kefir grains and raw organic sucanet. You can get the grains and info online. The microbes in kefir are more beneficial than yogurt. I take 4 cups a day."
11/02/2013: John from Wisconsin replies: "I am making AVC, and it appears both mold and the mother are forming on the surface. Should I try to get rid of the mold? Does the mold ruin the ACV?"
12/10/2013: Mymindisnotme from London replies: "Hello, I'm making homemade apple cider vinegar from whole apples, the water is drying up and the top fruit is no longer under water. Can I top it up with water or should I just leave it be? Thank you."
03/12/2014: Barbara Thomason from Eddy Texas replies: "There is mold on top of my organic wine vinegar, it is attached to the mother. Do I have to throw it away or scoop off top? thank you barb"
12/30/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa: "Hi Everyone, Since Apple Cider Vinegar is the star on Earth Clinic, I thought it would be appropriate to put up the recipe to make your own Apple Cider Vinegar. And now, at the onset of a new year, it would be perfect to start the year right! So, here is a recipe to make your own:
1 cup of Raw apple cider vinegar (the one with the mother in it)
1 cup apple cider
Put in a jar and cover with a coffee filter over it. You can use a rubber band to secure it. Put this in your pantry/ cupboard for about 1 month. At this time you will have a mother at the top or a thin film. Taste it to see if it is strong enough. If so, continue on-
For the next batch, use 1/2 cup of your vinegar in a mason jar and fill the rest with apple cider. This batch will go much faster and will be done at about 2 weeks.
You will no longer need to buy apple cider vinegar. You can share this with others and also the mothers can be given to friends and family for their use. It will help you save money, too! Spread the love!
Best of health to all in the new year 2013! Lisa"Replies
12/31/2012: Ed2010 from Oakville, Canada replies: "Thanks, but how to make the apple cider?"
EC: Hi Ed, please see the other posts on our How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar (including the very top of the page).
07/24/2013: Julie from Gympie, Qld replies: "So, I have got my Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother in... Please do I use any vinegar to top it up??"
09/21/2011: Jane from Wexford, Ireland: "Hello! Do I use dessert apples for making apple cider vinegar or culinary apples? Many thanks, Jane."
06/05/2011: Amrit from Barmer, Rajasthan, India: "can any error in ferment apple cider may cause harm to patient or the person administrating?"Replies
08/02/2011: Nancy from Jamestown, Ny replies: "I use vinegar all over the house for cleaning and in the laundry, so I buy it in gallon plastic jugs. For convenience in the kitchen, I transfer it to a glass jug and top it with a cork. Even hot-washing the jug when refilling, within a week or two a cloudy scum develops in the vinegar. Is this a sign of contamination or just the vinegar continuing to ferment? Is it ok to use this vinegar for cooking? Thanks!
04/10/2009: Malcolm from Metcalfe, Ontario, Canada: "How do I make more vinegar using natural vinegar starter?
I am presently taking two TSP's shortly before meals to suposedly promote the flow of digestive juices to aid the takeup of nutrients: ie. the breakdown of foodstuff into juices my gut can absorb easily.
At home in the 'thirty's', I recall cloudy slimey stuff forming in the vinegar jug that was called
04/12/2009: Karl from St. Louis, MS replies: "The slimy stuff, actually milky/slimy is the "mother". Just add more water and let it sit. Then strain the clear vinegar off, save the mother to use again, and enjoy!!"
05/28/2010: Rose from University City, Missouri, Usa replies: "If I live in a country where Apples are not obtainable, just like different fruits are substituted for grape in wine making, can I substitute some other not so sweet fruits for the tart winter apples? Do you know of a tropical fruit that can be used?"
06/11/2010: Justice Rahman from Dhaka, Bangladesh replies: "I know that 'Date juice' is an ingredients to make organic vinegar as being made in Bangladesh from time immemorial.The process is the same as making ACV. Date Juice vinegar (DJV) cures indigestion."
09/28/2010: Omegatron88 from Wharton, Nj replies: "Yes, in South America we ferment pineapple skin with "spring" water and brown sugar(panela)."
04/02/2012: John from Gaithersburg, Md replies: "For more about making vinegar, go to: http://www.johnmacdowall.com"
12/04/2012: Becky from Indianapolis, In replies: "I've read many recipes that say one can use apple and fruit scraps to make vinegar... And one person above mentioned using pineapple scraps.
Question: If I freeze my fruit while collecting scraps, will it still make vinegar?
Question: I'm at the bottom of my jug... How do I preserve or feed the mother for future use? thanks."
12/04/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Becky, I don't see why you couldn't use the fruit scraps which you have frozen and then defrosted. That shouldn't pose a problem. I'm not really sure about the second question though. Do you want to feed it or preserve the mother? One or the other. Not long ago, I put up a post on making your own apple cider vinegar. I have made homemade coconut kefir and after getting it going, I would never use all of the "original". I would then add more coconut water and let it sit on the counter and by the next day, it would be coconut kefir again. Hope this make sense to you. Here's the link since it also explains how to continue feeding the mother to make more.
As for preserving the mother, just keep it in a jar of the vinegar. You can also give mothers away for others to use. I have done that as well as extra kefir grains as they proliferate.
Best to you, Lisa"
03/16/2013: Sarah from Portland, Or replies: "In response to a comment. Vinegar forms from sugar converting to alcohol then converting to acetic acid (the main ingredient of vinegar). Any fruit that has sugar can be fermented into alcohol then acetic acid. That's why we keep corks on our wine bottles. We don't want to alcohol to turn to vinegar!"
06/18/2007: Bill from Vernon, CT: "Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe
Procedure for Making Traditional Hard Apple Cider (Found at: http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-making.html)
1) Use one gallon (3.8 Liters) of freshly pressed apple juice from your local apple orchard. The juice should be unfiltered, additive free, and non-pasteurized for maximum nutrition and flavor and to allow the natural yeasts in the juice to ferment the sugar to alcohol.
2) Determine the amount of sugar in the apple juice by measuring its specific gravity or density with a simple hydrometer. The more sugar contained in the apple juice, the higher its density. Juice made from North American dessert apples will have a specific gravity between 1.040 and 1.050 and if allowed to ferment fully, will result in a hard cider with around 5.5 to 6.5 percent alcohol content. If, on the off chance you find the apple juice specific gravity less than 1.040, then add some plain old granulated white sugar (sucrose) directly to the juice as follows: Add 2.25 ounces (67.5 grams) of sugar to raise the specific gravity of one gallon of juice by 5 points (for example from 1.035 to 1.040).
3) Unscrew the top of the one gallon juice container, screw on a fermentation air lock, and allow the container to stand at room temperature for 6 to 8 weeks. The air lock will allow the carbon dioxide gas, produced during the fermentation, to escape while at the same time preventing the oxygen in the air from getting into the cider and interfering with the reaction.
4) After 6 to 8 weeks the fermentation will be complete. There will be no more carbon dioxide gas escaping through the air lock and there will be a thick deposit of lees at the bottom of the container. To make sure all the sugar has been converted to alcohol, check the cider's specific gravity, which should be less than 1.005. If the reading is still to high, wait another week and test again. To compute the alcohol content of the completed apple cider, take a hydrometer reading (using the potential alcohol scale) after fermentation and subtract it from the value you obtained before fermentation.
5) Separate the cider from the lees by siphoning the liquid into clean storage bottles using a section of plastic tubing. (Tubing with a 0.5 inch inside diameter will do fine.) You are now ready to make your own homemade apple cider vinegar, just follow the procedure outlined in Vinegar Making Starting from Hard Apple Cider.
Vinegar Making Starting from Hard Apple Cider
1. Fill a thoroughly cleaned wide-mouthed glass jar (a 700 ml mason jar will due fine) with about 500 ml of 5 to 6% hard apple cider.
2. Add 50 ml of unpasteurized and unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar which contains some mother of vinegar (Available at most health food stores).This will quick-start the vinegar making process.
3. Cover the jar top with two layers of cheesecloth, this will allow vinegar bacteria and oxygen from the air to get to the surface of the cider without being contaminated with fruit flies and other pests.
4. Place the jar in a warm room but in a dark place away from sunlight, which will interfere with the action of the bacteria. The optimum temperature for vinegar making is about 29 degrees C (85 F). o After about 2 weeks there will be a gelatinous white film floating on top of the liquid, this is the mother of vinegar, which is produced by the vinegar bacteria as it converts the alcohol into vinegar (acetic acid). o Allow the reaction to proceed for at least 4 to 8 weeks, then, if you started with a hard cider with 6% alcohol content, you should have a vinegar with about 5% acetic acid.
The age-old method for determining if the vinegar is complete is to simply smell and taste it. No odor or flavor of alcohol should be present.
A far more accurate way is to measure the acid content by titration. Inexpensive titration kits can be found at your local wine and beer making shop and are easy to use.
Once completed, store the apple cider vinegar into clean long necked glass containers equipped with plastic screw-type caps, and discard the thick mother of vinegar film or reuse it to start-up a new batch."Replies
01/14/2009: Barbara from St Helena, CA replies: "to make cider first, can I use a juicer???"
01/04/2010: Kamil from New Delhi, India replies: "This refers to the procedure for making Apple Cider found at: http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-making.html). The procedure in step 2 and 3, states not to close the lid of the container. Instead it should be covered with cheesecloth so that oxygen is allowed into it.
At some other place on the same page it is contradicted. The lid should be air-tight so that atmospheric oxygen does not enter into the liquid.
05/10/2013: Little Two Paws from Fipland, Michigan replies: "Not sure what you are referring to, but any time you have bacteria or yeast working, it needs to breathe or will build up pressure causing container to explode. After vinegar is finished working it should be put in sealed bottles."
11/15/2013: Gary Mattix from Spring Hill Fl: "Your recipe says to use cake yeast (wine yeast).I am unable to find cake yeast. I found granule wine yeast, each pkg is 5 g (0176 oz). How many packages do I need to make your recipe for vinegar .I can not find out how many oz's are in a cake of yeast. If you can help me I would appreciate it very much. I would hate to ruin all of it buy putting to much yeast in or not enough. Thank You, Gary"Replies
12/09/2013: Michiganmaple from Harrison, Michigan replies: "You really can't use too much or too little yeast. Yeast is a living organism and if there is too little it will reproduce to the optimum level. If too much it will only work faster."