Did you know you could make apple scrap vinegar simply by combining apple peelings and cores with water and sugar, and let it ferment until it turns into vinegar?
The mild apple flavored vinegar is delicious drizzled on fall salads and roasted veggies, in a marinade for meats and vegetables, and added to soups and stews to balance flavors.
This post may contain affiliate links - I may receive a commission if you purchase from the links.
Tips for Making Apple Scrap Vinegar
Use quality apples
The quality of your apples makes all the difference in the flavor of your apple scrap vinegar. Use fresh organic apples, and wash fruit well before peeling. You can use bruised apples, but trim out areas that are rotten or moldy.
Save your apple scraps
Apple scraps can be frozen until you are ready to make vinegar. Save your apple cores and peels from baking, preserving, and freshly cored apples in a freezer bag until you have enough to pack a jar. No need to thaw before making apple scrap vinegar.
Use non-chlorinated water
Chlorine is a chemical used to treat city water to keep it free from bad bacteria that can make you sick. Chlorinated water will also kill the microbes that ferments the apple scraps and turns them into vinegar.
If your tap water contains chlorine, simply fill a container with water, leave it open, and let it sit out at room temperature for several days. The chlorine will evaporate from the water.
Use a food safe container
Look for a container that is easy to cover with a coffee filter to prevent fruit flies from invading, but allows a large surface at the top of the container to be in contact with air.
A wide mouth jar, fermenting crock, or even an enameled stone slow cooker crock will provide a larger surface area with air will benefit your vinegar fermentation.
Avoid metal and plastic containers because they can leach into the vinegar.
Keep everything clean
Before proceeding with your ferments, wash your jars, utensils, and hands with warm, soapy water, rinse well, and air dry on clean kitchen towels. This will help prevent unwanted microbes and bacteria.
Steps for Making Apple Scrap Vinegar
Step 1: Fill a Jar
Place the apple scraps in a large jar. Push down on the scraps to squish them towards the bottom half of the jar.
Add the sugar or molasses. The extra sweetener will work with the natural sugars in the apples to give the bacteria plenty of fuel to kick-start the fermentation process that will convert the sugars into alcohol, and then to vinegar.
Pour water over the apples leaving several inches of airspace at the top. Fill to the area just before the jar curves inward towards the opening.
Step 2: Cover the Jar
Place the coffee filter or cheesecloth over the jar opening, and secure it with an elastic or canning ring (just the ring, not the lid). This will keep out dust and fruit files, but allow your fermenting apples to breath as it develops into vinegar.
Step 3: Let it Ferment
Place the jar in a warm, dark location, out of direct sunlight. 70-75˚F is an ideal temperature.
You should begin to see bubbles on the surface within a few days. Once your ferment begins to bubble, stir daily to keep your apple scraps submerged and prevent mold.
If you don’t think you will remember to stir daily, use a fermenting weight to keep the apple pieces from floating to the top.
Continue fermenting until the bubbles stop, about 2 weeks.
If you do see fuzzy, blue, black or pink mold on the surface of your apple scrap vinegar, discard and start over with fresh ingredients and clean equipment.
Step 4: Strain Out the Apple Scraps
Once the bubbling has ended, strain the ferment through a cheesecloth lined colander into a large bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid from the scraps as you can.
Step 5: Resume the Ferment
Discard the apple scraps and pour the liquid into a new jar. Cover the jar with a fresh coffee filter and secure it with an elastic or canning lid.
Place the jar back in the warm location and let it continue fermenting until it develops a tart vinegary flavor, another 2-4 weeks.
During this time, your apple scrap vinegar may become cloudy as it continues to ferment. It will clear up a bit as the alcohol is consumed and transformed.
You may see a fleshy colored film forming on the surface of the ferment. This is called a Scooby or The Mother, and it’s a natural part of the vinegar fermentation process.
Step 6: Bottle the Apple Scrap Vinegar
Once you are happy with the flavor of your vinegar, cap, and store in a cool, dark location for up to a year.
Ways to Use Apple Scrap Vinegar
For the most part, use apple scrap vinegar the same way you would use commercial apple cider vinegar. The only exception is canning recipes. The pH level in apple scrap vinegar isn’t easy to measure and may not be high enough to can safely. Stick to commercial vinegars with 5% acetic acid to ensure safe preserving.
Flavor Foods: The flavor of apple scrap vinegar is lighter than the traditional apple cider vinegar, making this a great choice for salad dressings, finishing vinegar for roasted meats and veggies, and will add a bit of tartness to drinks and teas.
DIY Household Cleaners: Also consider using apple scrap vinegar in your favorite DIY household cleaners that call for vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with half apple scrap vinegar and half water, give it a shake to combine, and use it to clean your kitchen counters, windows, and bathroom sink.
Homemade Apple Scrap Vinegar
- apple scraps from about 12 apples
- 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar or molasses
- Place the apple scraps in a quart-sized jar. Push down on the scraps to squish them towards the bottom half of the jar.
- Add the sugar or molasses and pour water over the apples leaving several inches of airspace at the top.
- Cover the jar with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, and secure it with an elastic band or canning ring (just the ring, not the lid).
- Place the jar in a warm, dark location, out of direct sunlight. You should begin to see bubbles on the surface within a few days.
- Once your ferment begins to bubble, stir daily to keep your apple scraps submerged and prevent mold. Continue fermenting until the bubbles stop, about 2 weeks.
- Once the bubbling has ended, strain the ferment through a cheesecloth lined colander into a large bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid from the scraps as you can.
- Discard the apple scraps and pour the liquid into a new jar. Cover the jar with a fresh coffee filter and secure it with an elastic or canning lid.
- Place the jar back in the warm location and let it continue fermenting until it develops a tart vinegary flavor, another 2-4 weeks.
- Once you are happy with the flavor of your vinegar, cap, and store in a cool, dark location for up to a year.