This month, we want to extol one of our favourites, apple cider vinegar! Apple cider vinegar has many uses around the home, so it doesn't come as a surprise that it is a household-must for us at Sunny Jar HQ. We use it for cleaning, cooking and even in the shower, as a natural conditioner for our hair.
Did you know that you can even make your own? Making vinegar is cheap and easy, all that is needed is a little patience and experimentation. With three simple ingredients, you are well on your way to making vats worth in minutes! It's perfect for rescuing old wrinkly apples from going to waste and making the most of the peels and core, that often end up in the bin.
We haven't tried (yet!) but you can use other fruit scraps as well, such as pineapple.
We love this blog post on how to get the most out of your peel. If you have attended one of our workshops, you will be familiar with our delicious fruit peel teas, that we make by drying the peels in the oven.
Give apple cider vinegar a try with the recipe below! (Adapted from Zero Waste Chef and the Guardian).
How to make apple cider vinegar
Wash your apples.
Try to use organic apples as unfortunately a greater amount of chemicals is found on the peel of most supermarket apples. If not you can clean your apples with bicarbonate of soda solution. (1 tbsp per cup of water)
Peel your apples, remove the core and set aside. Enjoy your apples however you want, you can make an apple crumble, freeze in small bits to use in smoothies or for later consumption.
Make sure to cut out any rotting parts and remove any broken seeds and add to the compost pile.
Put your peels and cores into your sterilised* jar(s) until it is about three-quarters full. Fill the rest of the jar with water** and add in roughly a tablespoon of sugar. To help speed up the fermentation process you can add a couple of tbsp of raw vinegar with mother (the clear gelatinous disc that can be found at the bottom of the vinegar bottle) if you have any but is not necessary.
*We pour a freshly boiled kettle on top of the jars to sterilise them.
**The chlorine presents in tap water can kill some of the good bacteria needed for the fermentation, let your water rest of a few hours before using it to get rid of the chlorine.
Add a weight to the top of the peels to keep them submerged in the water, this prevents the apple from developing mould. Stirring it every once in a while has a similar effect (do not stir once the bubbles start to appear). The vinegar needs to be exposed to air so do not close the lid to your jar. You can cover it with a tea towel or light cloth secures with a elastic band to keep the fruit flies away.
Just sit back and put your feet up! Allow it to sit, try not to move it too much once the bubbles start to appear (after a week). Over time, a gelatinous substance should start to form on the top called a 'vinegar mother' and this will introduce all the good bacteria into the vinegar.
It should start to smell like vinegar after around 2 weeks when the bubbling has subsided (a sign that the fermentation process has finished) which is when you know it is ready to be strained. Keep smelling and tasting it, until it's to your preference. Compost the spent scraps.
If you have chosen to opt-out of adding the sugar the fermentation process could take up to 3-4 months.
The vinegar will keep for about a year and as it ages it should become more acidic. If you prefer your vinegar to have a tarter flavour you can leave it for longer.
According to the zero-waste chef, it is wise to open your jars regularly to avoid the pressure building up inside the jar at least once a month.
How Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar?
Jazz up your food
To achieve a fuller flavour in bland soups and sauces add a little ACV to taste. It is also a pro-biotic and therefore great for your gut health.
Fight against illness
You can gargle an apple cider vinegar solution to relieve sore throats.
Just add 1-2 teaspoons of ACV and salt to warm water gargle for 20 seconds 2-3 times a day. Click on the link to discover more ways you can use apple cider vinegar to aid sore throats
The anti-bacterial properties of ACV make it a good deodoriser and cleaning agent. You can make an all-purpose cleaning spray, by diluting ACV in water in a 1:2 ratio (ACV:water)
Due to its acidity, ACV can naturally add shine to your hair by rebalancing the ph levels after washing. It can also help with product build-up, aid in detangling and relieve dandruff. To make an ACV rinse, simply combine 5 parts water to 1 part vinegar and leave for 3-5 minutes before rinsing.
To make pickles
Apple cider vinegar has been used as an effective pickler for donkey's years, its acidity kills any bacteria that causes the food to rot.
There are many more have a look at this article to read more about the many ways you can use your apple cider vinegar.
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