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Ashley English Recipes

Apple Scrap Vinegar

Recipe from Southern From Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes, Ashley English, Roost Books 2018)

Makes: 6 to 8 cups.

You Will Need:

  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 whole apples, chopped (leave the peels on and the cores and seeds in, and use a variety of apples)

To Make:

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  2. Place the apples in a large nonreactive pot, ceramic pot, or glass bowl. Pour the sugar water over them. The apples need to be fully covered; if they’re not, make another batch of sugar water and add just until the apples are covered.
  3. Use a large rubber band to secure a triple layer of butter muslin or fine-weave cheesecloth over the top of the pot or bowl. Place in a dark, warm location (such as a pantry, cupboard, top of the refrigerator, or out-of-the-way countertop) for 1 week. If a white, cloudy film forms during the fermenting time, that’s fine. If gray, white, green, or other-colored mold or scum forms, your ferment is likely contaminated and it’s best to compost this batch and begin anew.
  4. After a week, strain the mash from the liquid using a fine-mesh sieve placed atop a bowl. Leave the mixture to strain, covered with a cloth, for at least 8 to 12 hours. Discard or compost the apple pieces.
  5. Return the liquid to the container used for fermentation. Replace the cheesecloth or butter muslin, making sure to secure it tightly, and return to the previously used fermenting location.
  6. Leave the vinegar to ferment for 3 weeks. Begin tasting it then. If it still tasty fruity and not vinegary, leave it for another week. Once the flavor it to your liking, strain it again through a fine-mesh sieve. Store the vinegar in a lidded container at room temperature. It will keep indefinitely.

NOTE: Homemade apple cider vinegar is not safe to use in home canning. The acidity level of vinegar must be 5% or greater to be considered safe in home canning, otherwise it is not properly acidified and botulism spores can grow, rendering the food unsafe for consumption. Homemade apple cider vinegar levels are highly variable, whereas store-bought offerings are consistently at 5% or greater. Use this vinegar in dishes around the kitchen, but not for long-term preservation. Alternatively, if you’d like, you can purchase pH strips and test the level of each batch of homemade vinegar you make to see if its level is 5% or greater.

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