This is undoubtedly the easiest, most frugal, most useful and hence the most pleasurable substance that I have made recently. (And it is delicious) This recipe is adapted from Katz’s brilliant book ‘Wild Fermentation‘ where he calls it fruit scrap vinegar.
I use apple scraps as that is what I have the most of, however other fruit scraps will do, including banana.
When I say apple scraps, I mean the peels, the cores, the bruises, the grubs, and everything in between that is not being turned into sauce, jelly or pies. I do not use the big bruises that are obviously growing mould though. No need to wash the apples first, as the micro-organisms present in the skin aid the vinegar making process.
Vinegar is a two-step process. The first step, native yeasts turn sugars into alcohol, in this case, a weak cider, in the second step, acetobacteria turn the alcohol into vinegar with the help of oxygen.
Step one: C6H12O6 → 2 CH3CH2OH + 2 CO2.
Step two: CH3CH2OH + O2 → CH3COOH + H2O.
- Place apple scraps in a stainless steel or plastic container
- Cover with water
- Add 4tbs of sugar per liter of water added
- Use a plate to submerge the fruit pieces
- Cover with a tea towel
- Stir occasionally, leave for a week
- After a week or so, remove fruit pieces and compost them with plenty of brown matter like paper
- Allow the liquid to ferment for a further 2 weeks, still covered with the tea towel
- Stir occasionally
- It is done when it tastes like vinegar
- Remove the mother and use it to start off the next batch or to turn a failed wine into vinegar (the mother is the white film that may develop, I got two mothers from my first batch!
- Strain your apple vinegar into clean bottles and use for pickling, sauce making or for when you need apple cider vinegar