Or – what to do when you don’t have an apple tree but like making ACV. It’s really this easy.
Lots of people want to start vinegar from the start, but if you don’t have a juicer or want a faster process, making Apple Cider Vinegar can be really, really easy.
This is my existing apple cider vinegar pot, which was ready to harvest a couple of weeks ago (sorry I’m just now writing it up). If you don’t currently have live vinegar growing in your house, you’ll want to go to the store and pick up some live/raw vinegar (“with the mother”) such as Bragg’s. It’s possible (and natural) to get vinegar even without inoculating the cider, but you can speed the process along nicely with a few live bugs. Inoculation also cuts down on your risk of growing surface molds, which are not what you’re aiming for.
You need to go to the store anyway, because you also need apple cider. Hard, alcoholic apple cider. Buy a six pack. Check the carb count on the packaging. You want the driest cider you can find (lowest carbs listed) to get a tangy, acid batch of ACV. Residual sugars will remain if you use a sweeter cider, and while it doesn’t taste bad, it can be better.
The Apple Cider Vinegar Hack
Step one: Add about an inch of live vinegar into your container. In the shot above, I harvested a quart or so of the vinegar from the previous batch and left an inch or so behind.
Step two: Top off with your dry apple cider. Cover with a breathable lid. Put away for a few weeks to a few months to oxidize.
I had a fresh pellicle on this in a few days, but we’re also in the heat of summer. In the winter, sometimes no pellicle forms at all.
The best part of this is that once you’ve got a vinegar pot going, you can keep it going indefinitely, just harvest when you like it and add more alcohol. Experiment with wine, beer, mead, cider – whatever you like to drink.