DIY: Make your own apple cider vinegar

Did you know that you can make your own apple cider vinegar with just some apple peels and cores and water…and a bit of patience?  I didn’t know either until I started doing a bit of research.

We use lots of apple cider vinegar on our farm for its wide array of health benefits for us and for our chickens.  I consider it one of the ‘Holistic Trinity’ of chicken keeping and vital to my and my husband’s health, as well as a key ingredient in any good Pie Crust!  [As the vinegar evaporates during baking it pushes the layers of crust apart to result in a super flaky crust]

Apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ in it, such as Bragg’s, is raw and unpasteurized and has the most benefits. The mother is basically a yeast/live bacteria natural concoction that helps balance bacteria in the intestines of humans AND chickens.  However, it’s not cheap and we go through quite a lot of it, so I started researching how to make my own.

There are tons of blog posts and articles about making your own apple cider vinegar.  I looked for the cheapest, easiest way I could find that seemed to yield good results on a consistent basis.  Mother Earth News published an article that was the most straightforward of any I read and sure enough, it’s not only easy, but you only need apples and water (sugar is optional, although the fruit sugars will suffice)….and some canning jars and cheesecloth.  No special kits or ingredients.

To see the full post, visit Fresh Eggs Daily.

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  1. DorkDuo says

    Oh, this is wonderful and so easy! I knew it could be done and pondered the thought before, but never took the time to research it. This is a MUST try for me real soon.

    Thanks so much!

    • Lisa Steele says

      You can use as many or as few as you want/have. Just be sure they are covered completely with water.

  2. Jennifer D says

    I tried it with apple cores (complete-not juiced) and pulp of 5 apples (from my juicer) however when I did the recipe after I strained the liquid from solids the color was very light and it smelled like hard cider beer (probably from the yeast). I was just wondering why it was light and not dark as in your picture. Thanks

    • Lisa Steele says

      The color definitely deepens as it ages and I also think different types of apples make different shades of ACV.

  3. Laura says

    Jus wondering if this process above is enough to turn the alcohol content from the apple cider into acetic acid? I’m wanting to make my own ACV but don’t want it to have any alcohol in it. Somewhere I read that some commercial brands don’t let it ferment long enough for it all to turn into the acid. I haven’t seen anything about whether the diy methods are long enough for the conversion. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

  4. Jim says

    Hello, @ step 9, would it hurt to strain out the ‘jellyfish’ before sealing for storage? This would make it clear like store bought ACV.

  5. Doug says

    I was wondering how to keep peels and cores from floating to the top of my jar. My last batched molded real bad and i was uncertain so i let it go.

  6. Hakeem Muhammad Zafar Iqbal says

    How can we Waite six months for preparation of apple cider vinegar in any emergency use. So a simple method should be to prepare apple vinegar.

  7. Paula says

    Im on my second batch. Its been about 10weeks and it smells yeasty. Do you know what might have gone wrong?

    • Aubrey says

      I’m not sure what went wrong! Maybe contact the writer from Fresh Eggs Daily via her website to get an answer since this is an older post and she probably won’t see it :/

  8. says

    This is a super piece which I’ve linked to in our group information about ACV. However, it is promoting some deeply held old-wive’s tales about ACV that are probably worth correcting.

    “The mother is basically a yeast/live bacteria natural concoction that helps balance bacteria in the intestines of humans AND chickens.”

    This is completely wrong and while the mother does contain live bacteria (acetobacters to be exact) there is no evidence at all (from properly researched documentation) to suggest that these bacteria have any effect at all on the intestines of birds OR people.

    The goodness in ACV comes purely from the original apples (flavanoids, isoflavnoids and triterpenoids to mention three and some trace elements like chromium) and not from something magical . As for the yeast, they’re quite a weak organism and are unlikely to survive in the alcohol they create or the subsequent acidit created by the acetobacters as they make the ethanoic acid.

    I know there are LOADS of blogs out there that say different – but they’re blogs; not research papers. If you can find research paper published by avian experts that confirms your assertions, please do let me know, in the meantime consider updating your article with the facts.

      • says

        Conversely, since I did the research, perhaps you could actually read the articles you cite: it’s the acetic acid that is being tested here, not the acetobacters. Let me quote you from the articles (emphasis mine).

        “Effect of acetic acid administration in the drinking water on performance, growth characteristics, and ileal mi- croflora of broiler chickens.

        “The objective of the present study was to evaluate the anticoccidial effect of the different concentrations of the acetic acid in the broiler chickens in comparison with the amprolium anticoccidial. ”

        In both case, the test is to see if the acid (at up to 10% in these samples) is a reliable agent affecting pathogens such as coccidosis.

        “Under the conditions of this study, addition of acetic acid as an organic acid into drinking water at the used levels, could not affect the performance and ileal microbial counts of chickens.”

        Which, ironically, backs up the findings I’ve published in my own research. There are elements in ACV in particular which are useful to both chickens and humans, but the acetobacters aren’t implicated – or even present.

        So, Skye, how about you find some research that specifically contradicts my assertion that acetobacters are essentially irrelevant. Bacteria produce acid to be sure; but I’ve failed to culture any significant quantities of these organisms from pure, mother-less unpasteurised ACV.

        Here’s a starting point – the actual little blighters that we’re talking about (not their excreta)

  9. says

    I don’t profess to be a scientist or researcher but the benefits of apple cider vinegar to both humans and animals IS well documented. There’s not disputing that and regardless of what exactly IN the ACV it is that’s beneficial is pretty irrelevant to me (and I would assume most of my blog readers honestly). The fact that ACV with the mother is hugely beneficial to overall health, immune system strength and balancing the ph levels in human and animal digestive tracts is all I need to know. Don’t pooh-pooh old wives tales, most of them are tried and true and if they weren’t effective, the human race would probably have died out eons ago.

    • says

      Well documented by who, exactly?

      Part of my profession requires stringent research, Lisa and I have tried and so far to find any double-blind trial which supports your assertions; and I’ve been through poultry journals from the late 18th century to the present day.

      There are things in ACV which are beneficial to the health of avians and mammals; but they have nothing to do with the claims made here or generally on the web. if they did, the commercial farms would be using it by the tonne (hint: they’re not). The reason we didn’t die out eons ago has nothing to do with OWTs; it has to do with evolution; and in fact, we’ve not been here all that long in real terms.

      As for balancing the pH levels: do you even have the faintest idea what types of acid are in the chicken’s intestinal tract or how the pH varies throughout?

      This bunk descends from the *actual* use on ACV in *humans* where it’s used to treat indigestion; usually as a swift 5ml of pure (4%) ACV or the same amount delivered with a small amount water. Chickens have a completely different digestive system to mammals and I’m not even sure if dyspepsia has been recorded.

      What I object to is the constant criticism of good science in the absence of evidence. So I’ll ask again: show me your proof in a properly designed test, in a scientific journal. Then like any good scientist will do, I will examine the evidence and reevaluate my beliefs.

      Right now the evidence says that OWT is wrong. I don’t doubt that there are SOME benefits from ACV; but the ones that are claimed are, like homeopathy, simply based in bad science.

  10. Georgina says

    Don’t criticize people about their use and experience of homemade ACV. Keep it to yourself or find another website to debate your research .As we say in Afrikaans “skoenmaker hou jou by jou lees”

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