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Apple Scrap Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile homesteading staple, and when you grow your own apples, you’ll want to use every part of the harvest that you can. Learn how to make apple scrap vinegar, and you will use it in everything from your favorite food and drink recipes to cleaning your windows and coffee pot.

Apple cider vinegar in a bowl with apples beside.

Why I Love Apple Scrap Vinegar

Fall is my favorite time of year. The sun is still warm, but the crisp breeze signals it’s time to pull out the cozy sweaters and fire up the wood cookstove. There, you will find all sorts of goodies simmering and bubbling all day. 

From hearty beef stew or white bean chicken chili, nothing compares to wood-cooked foods’ taste. 

And then there are the apples. We enjoy a bountiful harvest when we tend to our orchards and correctly prune our apple trees. We store big bins of apples in our unheated, uninsulated garage, carefully blanketing them if frigid weather sets in. 

It’s possible to enjoy fresh apples until February with this method. Still, we also preserve our apples using fermentation, such as in this homemade fermented cranberry sauce, apple jalapeño sauerkraut recipe, or sparkling apple cider recipe

Making caramel apples, Apple Brown Betty, or fresh pressed apple cider is always a hit with the kids, and I use the cider to sweeten my home-canned cherries naturally. 

Apple sauce, apple butter, and dehydrated apple rings or freeze-dried apples for snacks are all found in the recesses of my well-stocked pantry, leaving an excess of apple scraps to use up. 

While I can toss these scraps to our backyard chickens or put them in our compost pile, there is yet another pantry staple I can make promoting a zero-waste home. Enter apple scrap vinegar. It is a wonderful way to use up the skins and cores of your apples to make something incredibly valuable in the kitchen.

A woman holding up a bottle of apple cider vinegar.

What Is Apple Scrap Vinegar

It’s important to note that there is a difference between homemade apple scrap vinegar and real apple cider vinegar. While apple scrap vinegar is made from apple peelings and cores, homemade apple cider vinegar is made from the juice of the whole apple.

Apple scrap vinegar tends to have a milder and less acidic taste, which many find more appealing when used in recipes. However, due to its lower acid level, apple scrap vinegar is not suitable for canning recipes such as these homemade pickles. Homesteading Hack: I don’t recommend using any homemade vinegars for canning as you can’t properly test the acidity level.

fresh pressed apple cider from a press.

The Secret to Apple Scrap Vinegar 

I preserved anything I could find at the beginning of our homesteading journey. It’s no wonder I was intrigued when reading Farmer Boy to our children and came across a line about apple-core vinegar. 

Armed with my favorite homesteading books, I had a basic foundational understanding of how it works. The first time I made fruit scrap vinegar, it was okay but not great. 

It wasn’t until we learned how to make hard cider that I realized the trick to good vinegar is a sugar of some kind because the simple truth is that one needs alcohol for good vinegar.  

As for the sugar, it is yeast food, so it doesn’t matter what you use (white or brown sugar, molasses or honey); the yeasts don’t care. However, it does need to be natural sugar (not sugar alcohols), and molasses and honey will impart different flavors in your final vinegar. 

Apple cider vinegar in a bowl with apples beside.

Health Benefits of Apple Scrap Vinegar

There is information floating around on the internet that raw apple cider vinegar may help lower blood sugars to control diabetes, could help with weight loss, and may improve heart health. 

We need more studies to substantiate this, but we know that apple scrap vinegar is a fermented food full of beneficial enzymes and bacteria that support gut health. (Source)

Since the vast majority of our immune system is in our gut, it’s really important to make sure your digestion is working well. Apple scrap vinegar is an easy way to incorporate fermented foods into your diet to boost your immune system naturally. (Source)

It’s important to note that I am not a certified medical practitioner. This post is not intended to diagnose or treat but is for informational purposes only. Please contact your healthcare professional before introducing new herbal and natural remedies into your wellness routine.

Adding apple cider vinegar to a quart jar filled with homemade switchel.

Ways to Use Apple Scrap Vinegar

As mentioned before, apple scrap vinegar is unsuitable for canning, but numerous ways exist to put this pantry staple to work:

An apple being peeled.

Supplies Needed

  • Glass Jar – ½ gallon or 2 quart Mason jars work well for this recipe.
  • Measuring Cup – You can use a quart Mason jar to measure instead of using a measuring cup to add one cup of water at a time.
  • Wooden Spoon – A metal spoon can react with the acetic acid of your ferments, creating a metallic taste. Using wooden or silicone utensils works best.
  • Unbleached Cotton – You do not need a fermenting weight to make apple scrap vinegar. Simply use unbleached cotton, butter muslin, a clean tea towel, or tight weave cheesecloth to cover the top of the jar.
  • String – You can use string (or a rubber band) to secure the cover over your jar.
  • Sterilized Bottle – This apple scrap vinegar can last indefinitely when stored in a sterilized container.
Two small children picking apples off the ground and putting them into a wooden crate.

Ingredients Needed

  • 1 Pound (.5 kg) Apple Scraps, Cores and Peels – You can use any variety of apples for this recipe, but organic apples are best.
  • 1 Cup (208 g) Sugar – While any kind of real sugar may be used (white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, etc.), you CANNOT use alternative sweeteners such as stevia, erythritol, xylitol, monk fruit, etc.
  • ½ Cup (120 ml) Raw Unfiltered Cider Vinegar – Make sure your ACV is unpasteurized or has a vinegar mother. This acts as the “starter liquid” to inoculate your apple scrap vinegar.
  • 2 Quarts (2 liters) Filtered Tap Water – For best results, do not use chlorinated water. 
Apple peels on a counter.

How to Make Apple Scrap Vinegar

  1. Put the fruit and sugar into a 1⁄2 gallon (2 liter) jar. Add 1 quart (1 liter) of the water and the raw vinegar. Use the rest of the water to cover the apples up to the neck of the jar.
  2. Stir the sugar, water, and fruit scraps with a wooden spoon, and you will stir again once a day for the first 5 or 6 days. (Unlike most ferments, you want some oxygen in the mix.)
  3. Cover the jar with unbleached cotton and secure it with a rubber band or string.
  4. Place on the counter or another spot around 70°F to 80°F (21-26°C), above the refrigerator works well. You may see bubbles, which is good. The ferment will begin to slow down in about two weeks. 
  5. After the fermenting bubbles slow down, it is time to remove the scraps. You may see a film developing on top when you remove the cover. If so, work carefully to keep it because this film is the beginning of the vinegar mother. Homesteading Hack: You can set the film aside while straining out the fruit solids, then add it back into the vinegar.
  6. Cover it again and let it continue to sit on the shelf.
  7. Check the vinegar in another month, and you should have nice acidity; however, it may take another month or two to develop fully.
  8. Bottle the vinegar, save the mother for another batch or share with a friend.
  9. You can use the vinegar immediately, or you can age the vinegar to mellow the flavor. 
  10. Apple scrap vinegar will last indefinitely at room temperature.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then snap a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

Cover of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine apples edition.

In the Homestead Magazine

This recipe was featured in issue No. 2 of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. Subscribe to start each month with new ideas and inspiration to make the most of the produce and materials you have on your homestead.

Month over month, you’ll learn new preservation skills that lock in nutrition and flavor at their peak to reduce your grocery bills, feed your family, and fill your pantry with delicious preserved food. Not to mention traditional, proven home-cooking recipes your family will love.

Subscribe today, and gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to master your homestead kitchen.

Woman holding a jar of garlic salve in her kitchen.
Apple cider vinegar in a bowl with apples beside.

Apple Scrap Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile homesteading staple, and when you grow your own apples, you’ll want to use every part of the harvest that you can. Learn how to make apple scrap vinegar, and you will use it in everything from your favorite food and drink recipes to cleaning your windows and coffee pot.
4.80 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 25kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Ingredients

  • 1 pound apple scraps cores, peels, etc.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar raw and unfiltered
  • 2 quarts filtered water

Instructions

  • Put the fruit and sugar into a 1⁄2 gallon (2 liter) jar. Add 1 quart (1 liter) of the water and the raw vinegar. Use the rest of the water to cover the apples up to the neck of the jar.
  • Stir the sugar, water, and fruit scraps with a wooden spoon, and you will stir again once a day for the first 5 or 6 days. (Unlike most ferments, you want some oxygen in the mix.)
  • Cover the jar with unbleached cotton and secure it with a rubber band or string.
  • Place on the counter or another spot around 70°F to 80°F (21-26°C), above the refrigerator works well. You may see bubbles, which is good. The ferment will begin to slow down in about two weeks.
  • After the fermenting bubbles slow down, it is time to remove the scraps. You may see a film developing on top when you remove the cover. If so, work carefully to keep it because this film is the beginning of the vinegar mother. Homesteading Hack: You can set the film aside while straining out the fruit solids, then add it back into the vinegar.
  • Cover it again and let it continue to sit on the shelf.
  • Check the vinegar in another month, and you should have nice acidity; however, it may take another month or two to develop fully.
  • Bottle the vinegar, save the mother for another batch or share with a friend.
  • You can use the vinegar immediately, or you can age the vinegar to mellow the flavor.
  • Apple scrap vinegar will last indefinitely at room temperature.

Notes

  • Bottle the vinegar, save the mother for another batch or share with a friend.
  • You can use the vinegar immediately, or you can age the vinegar to mellow the flavor. 
  • Apple scrap vinegar will last indefinitely at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 25kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 6g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.01mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

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