We are right in the middle of autumn which means it’s apple season! If you grow chemical-free apples or have a good supply of it, you will be interested to make your own apple cider vinegar. You don’t need any specialised equipment to do this. I follow this recipe and have made our own apple cider vinegar for a few years now. I can’t bear to throw out any part of the apple so I save all the core and some peel (I eat apples with peel on but some recipes ask to peel) and also windfall, to make apple cider vinegar.
The past years, I have only about a 50% success rate. And that’s not because of the lack of fermentation; that is always a sure thing. However, floating apples posed an issue as they get exposed to air. There are many different solutions to this. As I don’t own specialised equipment like fermentation jars or like the idea of putting plastic on top, I just took the chance each time. I suppose you could also stir it daily to submerge any nasties that are trying to establish on the top but I’m not sure if that makes a difference to the fermentation process, probably not. But it’s also not that easy to stir with all the solids in there…
So after trying different saucers, teacups and sieves, I’ve finally found the combination that works well. I use a large moccona jar as the wide mouth jar. It can roughly take about 6 small apples. I fill it with all the peels and cores that I’ve collected (I freeze them until I have enough). I then top that with large slices of one small apple. On top of this, I place another jar (upright) so the bottom sits on the large slices of apple. This smaller jar is pressed down just enough so the top of the apples are submerged. This is then covered with a tea towel and strapped down with rubber band. This keeps the top jar in position, pressing down on the apple pieces to prevent them from floating. I have sterilised both jars in the microwave before starting.
The pictures show the tea towel and jar strapped down, and without the tea towel just as I’m about to strain the apple pieces. I’m happy to report that I have not had to throw out any batch so far and I’m onto the 5th batch 🙂 You know what this means?….I will have apple cider vinegar to share when we can start swapping again, yay!