Cooking with autumn’s bounty of apples—whether you make a big batch of applesauce or a bumper crop of apple pies—can result in a lot of peels and cores destined for the compost. Knowing how to make apple cider vinegar at home is an easy way to repurpose the scraps! Because the amount of acidity in homemade vinegar is inconsistent, it should not be used for other canning projects, but it’s delicious anywhere else you’d use apple cider vinegar. (Try it in the Broiled Scallops with Apple Gastrique recipe.)
*If you don’t have a 1/2 gallon (1.9 L) jar, use a food-safe bucket and a plate to weigh down the apple scraps.
- Preserving technique: Ferment
- Yield: 1 1/2 to 2 qt (1.4 to 1.9 L)
- Time to make: 10 minutes
- Time to wait before eating: 4 to 6 weeks
- When to eat: Within 1 to 2 years
Don’t worry about apples rotting on your shelf ever again! Peel, core, and chop 2 or 3 apples and toss with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey and 1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice. Blend ingredients, add more honey and lemon to taste, and store in airtight container in fridge for 3 weeks or longer. Cook to thicken if desired. If you use a high-speed blender, you can de-stem and quarter the apples and purée with skin and cores intact.
1 cup (250 mL) apple wood chips
1/2 cup (125 mL) honey
4 cups (1 L) filtered water, plus extra
Peels and cores from 12 lb (5.4 kg) apples
1 – 1/2 gallon (1.9 L) wide-mouth jar*
1 – 1/2 cup (125 mL) Mason jar to use as a fermenting weight
3 – 12 in (30 cm) square pieces of cheesecloth
In well-ventilated kitchen, toast wood chips in large frying pan over high heat, moving pan frequently until wood just begins to smoke. Lay 2 pieces of cheesecloth on clean counter (in layers), place wood chips on top, and tie into a “tea bag.” Make sure all wood is secure so none escapes into your vinegar.
Dissolve honey in water.
Fill 1/2 gallon (1.9 L) jar with apple scraps. Place wood chip bag on top to prevent apple scraps from floating. Pour in honey water, adding more water to fully submerge apple scraps if necessary. Place 1/2 cup (125 mL) Mason jar on top to keep scraps submerged. Cover with clean piece of cheesecloth and place in warm spot in kitchen.
Skim off any residue that appears daily. Taste after 1 month, and ferment for up to 4 weeks more. It’s done when you like the taste. Store in fridge for maximum life.