Scrappy Apple Cider Vinegar from Scratch

Back in the fall when we were pressing cider we also starting another fermenting project and it might be my favourite project yet.

When you press 8 bushels of apples you are left with a ton of pulp.  While we composted about half of it we decided to turn the rest into apple cider vinegar.

After leaving the scraps in a closed tub for two days we transferred them to a carboy.

You can do this on a much smaller scale, one jar or crock at a time.  We just had so much waste so we went big. Probably too big.

Once your vessel is full of apple, add a little sugar.  The amount does not seem to be important, it’s just to kick start the fermentation.   Next fill the container with water to cover all the scraps.  If you are using a crock, you can weigh down the floating apples with a plate as seen here on 17aparts tutorial and here in a Somona Garden’s post.

Cover the opening with cheese cloth to keep dirt out but to allow wild yeasts to help out.

After a week or so, strain out the apple scraps.  We switched to a much smaller and more manageable container size at this point since we started out too big.   This picture shows how it immediately started forming a new yeast mother.

We added an airlock at this point, but you can keep using cheese cloth. I tucked it away in the basement  and then waited another 6 weeks.  Now we have the best vinegar I’ve ever tasted.  We bottled it up and have been using it for everything, marinades, salad dressing, cleaning the house, washing my hair.  It’s great and quite possibly the most useful stuff we’ve ever made.


  1. says

    Laura, I am gobsmacked….How wonderful, soooo jealous of your stash of ‘homemade’ cider vinegar. I am bookmarking this and making myself some this fall. Wow.

    • admin says

      Do it Brenda! This was so easy (heavy but easy) and I’m shocked at home great it is. All my friend’s kids like watching the fermentation as well, a very fun science project.

  2. says

    How wonderful! I actually just started a batch of this not that long ago. It is currently hiding up in my cupboard. I can’t wait to test it out!

  3. says


    as always your photos are so pretty and really easy to follow. Also love your seemlingly endless supply of rockin’ bottles. :)


  4. says

    I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (, a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

  5. says

    I know EXACTLY what you mean when you say it is the best apple cider vinegar you have every tasted. So glad to see yours turned out well and get a peek into your process! Keep in touch!

  6. Caro says

    This is do great!! I’m inspired! I made peach vinegar once when I was 10 (after having spent a week at King’s Landing historic summer camp in NB) and it was amazingly yummy even to my 10 y o palate. Now I want to do the grown up version you’ve described!

  7. says

    Beautiful! Great job! I only know one other person who makes their own Vinegar. I entered mine in the fair last year and won a blue ribbon. Have you tried other vinegars?

    • admin says

      Congrats on your blue ribbon Angie! I haven’t tried any other vinegars yet. A good friend has been making citrus vinegars, mostly for cleaning, and I thing that’s the next project.

  8. Judy says

    what is the difference between this (acv) and “apple vinegar” on the other two sites you suggested? seems to be the same method but different your site and will now be a follower!

    • admin says

      Hi Judy,
      I was wondering the same thing and couldn’t find a definite answer. I think it’s just a personal choice what people are calling it. I went with Apple Cider Vinegar as mine is the by-product of making apple cider. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  9. says

    Does the length of time determine if this is to become vinegar? This is basically the method I used to make hard apple cider, although it was ready in 3 weeks.

  10. says

    Just to answer a few questions about Apple Cider Vinegar or Apple Vinegar and about the length of time it takes.
    Basically, Vinegar is always made by fermenting Alcohol. So the process goes like this.

    Apple scraps are fermented by yeast into alcohol (at this point you have hard cider) >> Then the Alcohol in the cider is then fermented into Vinegar using either yeast or bacteria (if my memory serves me correct its almost always a bacteria at this point)

    So there is no difference between Apple Vinegar and Cider vinegar, its just a name.

    Also Jasonalves is correct in the though that the time would determine if you had Hard cider or Vinegar(Kinda) Because if you are making hard cider in a closed system with an airlock it will ferment to cider but would probably not ferment to the point of vinegar because it would need to be opened and exposed again to the alcohol fermenting buggies to go further. (the sugar eating yeast would be all dead at that point)

    Thank you for the post about making vinegar, I have been fermenting for a while and never done vinegar. I’ve done tons of research but never made it. Its on my short project list.

    If you are all interested in some additional reading Might i suggest these two books.

    Also check out my fermented blog at

  11. JayMay4 says

    My daughter and I juiced tons of Lodi apples in July straight into a carboy and covered it with cheese cloth. It smelled like vinegar for a long time…but now it kinda stinks and there is 3 inches of foamy stuff on the top and about 2 inches of what I would think is mother on the bottom. YIKES! What do we do next??

    Or did we ruin it somehow?


  12. Linda says

    I have 2 week old vinegar and there are little blobs of green mold floating on top! Can it be saved? I see a nice mother growing in the bottom I’d hate to throw it away. I’ve scooped out the mold and put the vinegar in a new container. Thanks for any advise.


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