Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Before we moved off-grid, I would not have thought about making my own vinegar. However, when my husband got some chickens, he discovered that it was good for their digestion to add apple cider vinegar to their water. This product, raw and unfiltered, is rather expensive to buy. So he asked me to make some, and even found me a recipe. I was surprised by how easy it was to make! You can use this vinegar just as you would any other apple cider vinegar. However, it may not be strong enough for food preservation, such as pickling food for canning.

Adding vinegar to chickens’ water is just one use for raw and unfiltered vinegar. A quick Google search will bring up numerous uses. It is such a valuable homesteading item. We use it for many things from making salad dressing to curing heartburn and even hiccups! It’s great for catching fruit flies in the kitchen and many DIYers use it for making their own cleaning products. Whatever you choose to use it for, ACV (as it is referred to by its loyal fans) is an incredibly useful thing and so easy to make yourself.

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

1 cup apple pieces (any combination of cores, peels, or slices)
2 tablespoons sugar

Pint size canning jar with lid and band
Small glass custard cup (or some other container that fits just inside the top of the canning jar)
Apple corer (you could also just use a knife)
Tea towel
Canning Funnel (helpful, but not necessary)
Clean scrap of cotton fabric or cheesecloth

vinegar1Slice and core your apples. Dip the canning jar and custard cup in boiling water to get them really clean. Place apple pieces inside the jar. Depending on their size, one or two sliced apples will fit nicely in a pint size canning jar. Spoon sugar on top of the apples. Add enough water to the jar so that the apple pieces are covered by about an inch. Put the custard cup (or other container of your choice) on top to keep the apple pieces from poking up into the air. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to ferment in a dark place at room temperature (60° to 85°F) for one week. I use a space in one of my kitchen cupboards.

At the end of a week, there should be bubbles at the top of the jar. It’s normal if you see any mold there as well. Pour apples and liquid through a clean strainer into a clean canning jar. This is where a canning funnel comes in handy. Cover the jar with a clean scrap of cotton fabric or cheese cloth. A piece of a clean old t-shirt would work also. Fasten the fabric to the jar with a canning jar ring. Store in a cool dark place for six weeks. The two jars in the photos below are in this step. They show the variation of color when using different types of apples. If you have chickens, they love the leftover apple pieces!


At the end of six weeks, replace the fabric with a solid lid or canning lid and ring. Store vinegar in a dark place. It will keep indefinitely.

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About Joann

After their retirement, Joann and her husband moved to their off grid homestead, along with their daughter and her family. Doing laundry by hand and pumping water keeps Joann young! In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren, and baking lots of goodies in the kitchen.

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  1. This would be great for using the leftovers from making apple sauce and sounds so easy!

  2. Thank you so much will start doing this prices in store just keep going up.

  3. Apples here on our Caribbean island are imported, non-organic, and expensive! But, I’m thinking that half-way ripe firm mangoes may do the same thing. You have given me the idea to try making mango vinegar cider when the mangoes come into season, Joann.

  4. Oops! that should have been mango cider vinegar. MCV 🙂

  5. I am making some now. I am tired of spending so much on it from the stores. Being 4 girls in the home we go through alot to rinse our hair and use it for facial toner as well.We eat and cook with alot of apples so I will use the scrapes and save myself some money. Thanks for the idea.

  6. This is awesome! Getting the raw vinegar is so expensive in the store. I can’t believe how easy and cheap this is! Thanks!

  7. Would adding some of the “mother” from Mrs. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar speed up the process? I assume that doing so would be similar to “inoculating” milk with already made yogurt in order to make homemade yogurt.

  8. I tried making some apple cider vinegar awhile ago from another source and the taste of the vinegar after many, many weeks, was like a strong alcohol! I kept letting it sit and I lost a lot due to evaporation but it got darker in color and started tasting more like apple cider vinegar but it still isn’t tasting like the store bought stuff. Do you think I’ve done anything wrong? Everything bubbled just like the instructions but it seemed like it just took forever. I guess you can’t answer if I’ve done anything wrong so maybe what I’m looking for is if the strong alcohol taste is normal at first. Thanks!

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