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Homemade Organic Apple-Cider Vinegar

Have you been throwing out organic apple peels and cores, then paying a premium for organic apple-cider vinegar? I have, but no more! It's ridiculous easy to make your own apple-cider vinegar using my recipe below. Scale the proportions up or down to suit your containers and the amount of apple scraps you have.

Homemade apple-cider vinegar is practically free. My local Harris Teeter is selling 16 ounces for $4.49 and I can make that much in 5 minutes for the cost of a 1/4 cup of sugar: less than six cents! That's like making $88 an hour!

What's with the cloth and solid lids below? Air needs to come in contact with the liquids during two stages of fermentation. Wild yeast that occurs naturally in the air ferments the apples, sugar, and water into a weak alcohol (cider). Then a harmless bacteria called acetobacter ferments the cider into vinegar if enough oxygen is available. When these processes are done, you use a solid cap to keep the vinegar clean and minimize evaporation.

Compare store-bought organic apple cider vinegar to homemade vinegar. The main difference is the price.

Homemade Organic Apple Cider Vinegar from Cores and Peels

Active time: 5 minutes. Total time: 6 weeks. Yield: about 1 cup.


  • 1 cup apple cores and, optionally, peels
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • water


  1. Find a glass or ceramic container and a glass or ceramic plate or other container that fits just inside the first one. Run the containers through the dishwasher or dip them into boiling water to get them very clean.

    When you have a bowl of organic apples, use the cores and peels to make your own apple-cider vinegar.
  2. Put apple cores, peels if using, and sugar in the larger container. Add water so apple parts are covered by about an inch. Stir. Put second container on top to keep the apple parts from poking up into the air. Cover with a clean tea towel and let ferment in a dark place at room temperature (60° to 85°F) for a week.

    Use a jar or plate to hold the apple scraps under water.
  3. Every few days, stir the mixture and spoon off any mold. Enjoy the bubbles that will start to form and don't worry about the mold: it's normal.

    Bubbles show the apples are fermenting.
  4. Pour mixture through a clean strainer into very clean jar. Cover with clean cloth, such as cheese cloth, a bit of cotton, or a scrap of old pantyhose. Secure fabric with a rubber band or the ring from a canning jar. Store in a cool, dark place for about six weeks.

    Fabric allows the fermenting apple-cider vinegar to breath. Use a clean sheet scrap. You don't need to buy cheese cloth.
  5. When the liquid smells and tastes like vinegar, pour it into a sterilized, narrow-necked bottle and seal with a lid. Vinegar will last for several weeks at room temperature, longer in the refrigerator, and indefinitely if you heat it to 140°F before bottling it. That's it! Use as desired for salad dressings, cooking, homemade vegetable spray, and cleaning.


  • Taste the vinegar with a clean spoon. Notice that it's not sweet at all. The wild yeast have eaten all the sugar as part of the fermentation process.
  • Don't worry about the ghostly mother of vinegar that may be floating in the jar. It's not only harmless, many people believe it has healing properties. I leave it in my vinegar but you can filter it out by pouring your vinegar through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into another very clean container.
  • Speed up your next batch of vinegar by adding a spoonful of mother of vinegar to it.
  • Don't use this vinegar for preserving other food unless you have a way to test its strength. Mine seems to be milder than store-bought vinegar. It might not be fierce enough to keep your food safe over long periods.

Reader Comments (9)

Yea!!!! I was just about to go out and restock on my organic apple cider vinegar. I am going to make some tonight. I still will need to by some to get me through the next 6 weeks but looking forward to making it myself.

Mar 12, 2013 | Registered Commentermamacheese

Terrific, Mamacheese! It's really a good feeling to see two jars of homemade vinegar sitting next to my store-bought bottle -- and thinking "never again!" Let me know how yours turns out. ... Linda

Mar 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Just started a batch. I'm making a spare to use as a produce wash. Great idea!

Mar 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterwearyma

A couple of more days and the 6 weeks will be up on my vinegar and it is looking great. I am anxious to try it. I am starting a second batch but tripling it so I can use for cooking, vegetable wash, rinsing my hair and I have a few herbal cosmetic recipes I want to try this spring and summer. Fun Fun!!

Apr 20, 2013 | Registered Commentermamacheese

My vinegar turne out great-more brewing!!!

May 8, 2013 | Registered Commentermamacheese

I am so excited! My husband is out picking apples from his mother's tree as I type. How can I make vinegar using all of the apple? We have so many and are moving soon. In fact I will just have enough time to complete the first fermentation process and will be taking the jars with me in the car on the move during their second fermentation stage.

Oct 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterageorgegal

Yaaay, Ageorgegal! Just rinse the apples well, cut up a few times to speed up the fermentation, and go for it! The only reason I don't use the whole apple is because I eat the good parts. You can also dry apple slices and make apple butter or apple sauce.

Oct 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Thank you Linda. I will follow your advice! A friend also suggested drying slices which I like. Do you have a recipe for apple butter? I was also thinking apple sauce as >I read somewhere that it can be used as an egg susbstitute in baking. But most of all I am excited to make the vinegar because I take it daily with warm water in the morning, and I plan to start making my own natural household cleansers.

Makes me want to ask my husband to pick more apples!

Oct 19, 2013 | Registered Commenterageorgegal

I haven't made apple butter yet, but I'd start with this apple-butter recipe from Pick Your Own, one of my favorite sites. You might also like my recipe for Smart Stove-Top Apples, which uses a coasting method. Yum, like apple pie without the fuss of crust! At the bottom of that recipe, you'll find links to other recipes that use apples with the peel on.

I love that you'll be using the apple cider vinegar in so many good ways!

Oct 21, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson
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