Apple scrap vinegar: you can drink it straight, use it as a household cleaner, drizzle it over your favourite salad and rinse your hair in it. Let’s talk about how seriously good this stuff is, as well as being crazy easy to make.
While not being new to the wonderful world of fermenting, apple scrap vinegar was something that up until now I hadn’t made. I’d used it in cooking, I had drunk it and I knew my hair benefitted from rinsing with it, but making it from scratch? Nope, I hadn’t gone there yet.
With a stash of apples from the markets, cake plans for lunch, it seemed like a good idea to have a second look at those apple cores and skins, and pips.
Sure, they could have been composted, stuck in the worm farm or off loaded to the neighbour’s chooks. But making a healthy, beneficial bacteria loaded vinegar from the scraps, seemed like a pretty darn good alternative.
So what to do first?
Eat the apples of course, (there is an Upside Down Apple Cake recipe at the end of the post if you are keen for another eating idea.)
When making the vinegar, you can put whole chopped apples in if you would like, or simply just use the discarded parts.
Once you’ve got your appley bits. You’ll need a clean wide mouthed vessel in which to ferment your vinegar in. Being wide mouthed, it encourages a larger surface area for the natural yeasts to work their magic.
Apple scrap vinegar can be used in all the same ways you use apple cider vinegar, but because it’s not made from cider (which is 100% apples that have been crushed and then left to ferment) it’s got a different name.
Apple Scrap Vinegar: what you’ll need
- Roughly 1 kilo apple scraps (bruised apples are also fine to pop in)
- 1 litre of cool boiled water
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
Dissolve your sugar in a little of the water, (make it hot for easier dissolving.) Then cool to room temperature, before adding the apples and remaining water. Leave space of about 5cms for the mixture to bubble up. Cover with muslin and a rubber band. You want that air circulating over the top of the apple mixture.
Each day, check in on it. Observe the changes, smell it and give it a bit of a mix every few days. If your chunky apple mixture keeps floating to the top, find something to weigh it down, the water mixture should be covering the top.
Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, this process can take from 1 week to 4, if it’s cooler, it will be slower. A foamy layer will develop on the top of the apple mixture, and underneath? Apple scrap vinegar will slowly be created.
If you keep checking on it, you are getting to know the changes. Also adding to the understanding of how the whole fermentation process works.
When it’s stopped bubbling, and the apple pieces settle towards the bottom, it’s ready to be strained.
Strain out and pour the liquid back into the glass jar. Replace the muslin and rubber band. This second fermentation can take upwards from 2 weeks to 6 months. Depends on temperature, and depends on your taste buds.
From that initial extra two-week fermentation process, taste it intermittently.
If it’s tasting like vinegar, and rather excellent on your palate? You’re done. If it’s still sweet tasting and not quite there yet, give it another week or so and try again.
Once you’re happy with the taste, cap it, store it in a cool dark spot and enjoy in all your usual apple cider vinegar ways.
So this is a bit backwards, but here’s something to do with the rest of the apple – i.e. the eating part. It’s time for cake!
Upside Down Apple Cake
- 3-4 of your favourite seasonal apples
- 4 eggs
- 250g caster sugar (increase an extra 100g if you prefer it sweeter)
- 250mls grape seed oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cardamom
- 450g self raising flour
- 2 tblsp raw sugar
In a mixer beat sugar and eggs together until they are pale and creamy. Slowly drizzle in your grape seed oil, adding your cinnamon and cardamom as well.
Tip mixture out to a large mixing bowl, and fold through the self-raising flour.
Grease and line a spring-form cake tin. Add extra raw sugar; spread it evenly round the bottom of the cake tin. Thinly slice your peeled apples, putting a layer of them in the base of the tin, (do it in any way you like, fancy or rustic like.) Then pour cake mixture over the top of this.
Bake at 180C for approximately 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool in tin for as long as you can bear it, and then gently upturn cake on to a plate.
Eat with good friends and large cups of tea.
Our friend Brydie Piaf is a photographer, home baker, maker, writer, wrangler of small people and brand-new Novocastrian.