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.
All our recipes and how-tos for Food + Fermentation are here…
Our friend Brydie Piaf is a photographer, home baker, maker, writer, wrangler of small people and brand-new Novocastrian.
Another wonderful post. Thanks Brydie and Milkwood. With my milk and water kefir, sourdough starter and now vinegar my kitchen is becoming home to all kinds of amazing probiotic organisms. Very exciting.
What’s your opinion on adding a bit of water kefir to the vinegar mix to increase diversity?
hmm. I wouldn’t personally, as ACV is an established and venerated ecosystem that’s stood the test of time as being healthful, so i aint going to vary it into something that may not be as stable and awesome. But each to their own 🙂
Hi, so the apples don’t need to be organic? I always thought that they did for the right fermentation to happen. Tia
well yes, preferably! But given there’s a lot of low-spray and no-spray apples around these days which aren’t technically organic, certified or otherwise, get the best and freshest local apples you can get, and go from there. Which are also the ones we hope you’d be eating anyway.
Hi Brydie, Being new to fermenting, and also having industrial volumes of apples (!) to utilise, I’m curious about the extent to which I can multiply the volume of ingredients and still achieve the fermenting outcome? Does volume change anything?
Oh wow, you can do this with apple waste and no mother? Watch out fruit bowl, here I come!
Would it help the fermentation process by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar with the mother to the mix to ensure the right organisms are in there from the outset?
yep backslopping is usually a good edition 🙂
FWIW I did exactly this last year and I reused the scraps from the first batch to make a second batch no problem, just needed more sugar to feast on.
Hi! I gave this a crack with some apples that have been hanging out in the fruit bowl for a while. My water mixture doesn’t nearly cover the apples (even at 1.5x the water sugar mixture/apple weight ratio) I’m worried that if i increase the liquid content any more my ratios will be really out! Any ideas? Even when pushed down the water mixture doesn’t quite cover… Then they bounce right back up! Thanks 🙂
yep add more water + sugar at the same water/sugar ratio
Great thanks. Will do. Woke up this morning to it under an ant attack… So it’s now sitting in a moat.
I’m trying this at home now, thanks, and it’s going well but I’m confused about the lack of a mother in this… does that matter???
Can you get the fermentation started with a Kefir Grain? I know you can add kefir grains to Apple juice and achieve a mock nice tasting apple ciderish drink….
Hello please can you help , after apple fermented when i drain the apples do i put them into clean jars or just back into jars It came from . Thanks
Once you’ve drained the apples it’s time to compost them 🙂
I really love your apple cider vinegar recipe & can’t wait to try it in apple season!
Thanks…the apple cake sounds delicious too!!
Good luck and let us know how you go 🙂
Just about to go and rescue some scraps from the bin then turn on the oven! Thank you!
Great! And I’m sure there will be many more apple peels to come 🙂
My scraps are sitting on the top so not covered by the water although there is enough water there. I have placed a glass jar on top to press them into the water but that means there is a lot less airflow over it. Any ideas?
Marg I’d give them a quick stir a few times a day? The should absorb the water and sink, in time. Stirring will ensure they don’t go mouldy till that happens. Interesting to consider that different apples have different amounts of air in their flesh, which contributes to this, i suppose? Hmm.
Is this just for scraps which haven’t been near anyone’s mouth?
I’m a bit worried about growing the wrong kind of fermented culture and hoping that there’s some kind of magic that kills any unwanted bacteria on apple cores!
yep we use scraps that havent been in moths, generally – I have been known to cut the chewed bits off a kid-chewed apple and chuck the un-chewed remains in too tho!
Is it okay to use frozen apples scraps?
yep that will work fine 🙂
My cider apple tree just fell, and I picked off the small, unripe apples. Can I use them to make vinegar?
heya, yes you can, but you might need to ensure there’s enough extra sweetness added for the ferment to go – as cider apples are quite tart, and not much sugar. You could add a bit of raw honey, if you like?
I have been brewing kombucha for a while and am now a few weeks into this AVC recipe. There is a mother growing on top! I know I’m going to want to make a second batch and I’m wondering how to incorporate the new SCOBY. Should I adjust the recipe in any way? Should the SCOBY go above or below the apples? Thanks!
hey Michelle – congrats on your new scoby! yep just pop it on top of the liquid, it will fast forward your next batch –
Great post! Was really wondering if there’s any real difference between cider vs scrap vinegar (aside from the additional fermentation) … have you heard anything?
well, one is made on straight-up apple juice (cider vinegar) and one is made on apple scraps, water and sugar – so they contain different things, and have slightly different properties – but they can taste quite similar!