How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother from Scraps

This post was most recently updated on March 18th, 2020

Did you know that you can make apple cider vinegar at home from the scraps that you don’t eat? ACV is very easy to make at home, and as it is not filtered or pasteurized, homemade apple cider vinegar contains the very beneficial ‘mother’.

Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother

Apple cider vinegar is attributed all sorts of benefits. A popular kitchen staple, apple cider vinegar (ACV) dates back to ancient times, where of course it was all made at home. It’s said to have been used by Hippocrates as a health tonic and by American soldiers to combat indigestion, pneumonia and scurvy.

Apple cider vinegar with the mother is also very expensive to buy, especially the raw fancy apple cider vinegar when compared with run-of-the-mill white vinegar and it is dead easy (and pretty much free!) to make. 

Some Notes on making ACV at home

Important Notes:

  • This recipe does use sugar. The sugar is necessary to “feed” the bacteria, but most (if not all) of the sugar is fermented out. You can use honey, but it really does not work as well and causes the whole process to take longer. 
  • It is important to make sure all of your equipment and your jar are very clean. This process relies on natural yeasts and bacteria on the apple skins, if your jars are dirty this can contaminate the process and it will smell horrible.
  • The flavour of your ACV will depend on the types of apples you use, as will the colour. 
  • White scum is going to form on the top. This is normal, it is a natural yeast called kahm yeast. Mold that is fluffy, grey, green, blue or black however, is not good and will spoil your ACV. Keep your apples submerged under the water as this will help prevent mold. I like to use a fermentation weight or even just a smaller glass jar filled with water and set it on top of the apples.
  • Fruit flies, ants and gnats love ACV so you need to make sure your jar is well covered. However, it needs to be able to breath and release gasses created from the fermentation process so do not use a solid lid. Cheesecloth or a coffee filter work well.

How to make Apple Cider Vinegar from Scraps at home

You need:

Apples (not surprisingly).

You can just use the scraps of 6-8 apples for the vinegar and use the good stuff to eat, make yourself an amazing pie or can/freeze for next time you need some.

A big glass jar

This will need to be big enough to fit your scraps in. Lots of scraps = a big jar and lots of cider, and smaller amount of scraps, a smaller jar and less ACV. 6-8 apples makes a 1L /1Quart jar

A cloth

This is to cover the top of your jar and either a rubber band or some string to secure it.

Water

Sugar

This is to help feed the bacteria and yeast to ensure a good amount of alcohol develops to convert to vinegar.

To make ACV at home you will also need:

  • Time
  • A dark warmish cupboard

Making Apple Cider Vinegar Instructions

1. Prep your apples

Peel and core your apples – you need 6-8 apples for a 1 litre/1 Quart jar.

Apple cider vinegar
I love my corer/peeler combo thingy!

2. Eat your apples

Make something delicious with the yummy bits of the apples.

3. Load up your ACV jar

Put your peels and cores in your jar. Add 2 Tablespoons of sugar for each quart/litre.

Make your own apple cider vinegar at home
I started with a 1L jar but I had lots of bits, so I switched to once of my 3L jars

4. Cover the scraps with water

To keep them submerged place a small jar full of water on top of the apple peels as a weight. You want just enough water to fully cover your apples.

Make your own apple cider vinegar at home
Just enough water that everything is submerged, it might float at first, but it will sink with time.

5. Cover and secure

Cover the jar loosely with a cloth, securing it with a rubber band or piece of string. This allows your ACV to breathe while keeping the pesky fruit flies out.

6. Store to ferment

Sit your jar somewhere at room temperature for 2-3 weeks. If you add a splash of raw apple cider vinegar it speeds up the process and you will only need to leave it for 1-2 weeks.

Make your own apple cider vinegar at home
This is the raw ACV I found at the supermarket. I added a little splash because I had some on hand, but you don’t need to!

7. Strain

After a couple of weeks, strain out the apple pieces. At this stage, it should smell alcoholic – hence the cider bit in the name. Vinegar is alcohol that is then metabolized by bacteria and converted into vinegar.

8. Re-cover and rest again

Re-cover with the cloth top and pop back into your darkened cupboard for further 6-12 weeks. It is ready once it tastes like vinegar and the alcohol smell has gone.

9. Bottle

It should have some floaties in the mix by now, this is the SCOBY (Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)/mother. Simply strain out the chunky bits and store and a clean glass bottle. It is now ready to use however you wish!

Make your own apple cider vinegar at home
The colour of the liquid depends on the colour of the skins of your apples, I have pink ACV as my apples were red.

 

Make your own apple cider vinegar at home
These two bottles are slightly different colours – the one on the right was the bottom of the jar so it has more sediment in it. In hindsight, I probably should have given it a good stir before bottling. Oh well.

I have been having a teaspoon full in a glass of water in the morning. Apparently, it is good for what ails you. And it doesn’t taste bad either, quite similar to lemon water really. Read 23 uses for apple cider vinegar here.

Do you use ACV for anything at your house?

Make your own apple cider vinegar at home

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother from Scraps

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 42 days
Total Time: 42 days 10 minutes

How to make apple cider vinegar from scraps

Ingredients

  • Apples
  • A big glass jar
  • A cloth
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Time
  • A dark warmish cupboard

Instructions

Making Apple Cider Vinegar Instructions
1. Prep your apples

Peel and core your apples - you need 6-8 apples for a 1 litre/1 Quart jar.

2. Eat your apples

Make something delicious with the yummy bits of the apples.

3. Load up your ACV jar

Put your peels and cores in your jar. Add 2 Tablespoons of sugar for each quart/litre.

I started with a 1L jar but I had lots of bits, so I switched to once of my 3L jars

4. Cover the scraps with water

To keep them submerged place a small jar full of water on top of the apple peels as a weight. You want just enough water to fully cover your apples.

Just enough water that everything is submerged, it might float at first, but it will sink with time.
5. Cover and secure

Cover the jar loosely with a cloth, securing it with a rubber band or piece of string. This allows your ACV to breathe while keeping the pesky fruit flies out.

6. Store to ferment

Sit your jar somewhere at room temperature for 2-3 weeks. If you add a splash of raw apple cider vinegar it speeds up the process and you will only need to leave it for 1-2 weeks.

This is the raw ACV I found at the supermarket. I added a little splash because I had some on hand, but you don't need to!
7. Strain

After a couple of weeks, strain out the apple pieces. At this stage, it should smell alcoholic - hence the cider bit in the name. Vinegar is alcohol that is then metabolized by bacteria and converted into vinegar.

8. Re-cover and rest again

Re-cover with the cloth top and pop back into your darkened cupboard for further 6-12 weeks. It is ready once it tastes like vinegar and the alcohol smell has gone.

9. Bottle

It should have some floaties in the mix by now, this is the SCOBY (Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)/mother. Simply strain out the chunky bits and store and a clean glass bottle. It is now ready to use however you wish!

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4 thoughts on “How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother from Scraps”

  1. About half the time my homemade ACV will mold on top and get the wrong smell within the first week, even though I think I’m following the same process each time.
    Any ideas as to what could be happening?

    Reply
    • It depends on what wild yeasts are around – sometimes there isn’t enough good wild yeast to get the mix fermenting in the right way before the mold or bad yeasts take hold. You can minimise this by adding a good glug of some existing ACV to inoculate the new batch

      Reply

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