How to make your own apple cider vineger

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest – By Maddie

We all know the health benefits of real apple cider vinegar-and just how expensive it is. I decided to make some and used information from a couple of older books. It is easy to do and you don’t need a cider press, just patience as the fermenting and souring process take time.

CAUTION!! Remember that any vinegar you use in canning must be 5% acidic to be safe. Do not use city water because the chlorine will kill your bacteria and yeast. Do not use metal containers – only glass, plastic or ceramic crocks.

  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • 1/2 gallon water – well or purified
  • 1/2 cup each of honey and organic sugar
  • apple cores and peels – any variety will work, but I like to mix tart and sweet
  • 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 teaspoon dry bread yeast – if needed


I started small on my first batch, using a gallon size glass sun tea jar with a spigot and lid. The spigot is handy for draining off some of your product to check (you don’t want to stir up your mix too much) and then to empty the jar when the vinegar is done. I boiled 1/2 gallon of well water and let it cool, then stirred in 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup organic sugar and poured the mix into the gallon jar. Add enough apple peels and cores to fill the jar to within 2″ of the top. If you have any apple cider vinegar (ACV) that is raw and unpasteurized, add 1/2 cup of that and stir to help get the fermentation process started. Put the lid on the jar loosely and set it to the side in a warm area of your kitchen. If your mix hasn’t started bubbling after a week, gently stir in 1 teaspoon of dry yeast. Mold on the surface is OK, just skim it off very carefully so you don’t stir up the mix. If there is a milky film in the mix, leave it – it’s the “Mother” and mean your ACV is alive.

After 4-6 weeks, it should stop fermenting and start souring – unless you decide to try the hard cider first. After 8-10 weeks, you should be able to use your own ACV in your cooking and recipes. If you want to use it in canning, try comparing the taste and tartness with commercially made vinegar that you know is 5% acidic. If it isn’t about the same, you need to let it sour longer. When it is done to your satisfaction, use the spigot to drain the ACV off into glass or plastic containers, add lids, and enjoy. You can filter it through a coffee filter if you wish, but I didn’t mind the cloudiness and didn’t bother. Compost the old peels and cores.

I got braver for my second batch because my apples were getting ripe. I used an old Coleman 5 gallon industrial water cooler with a spigot that I got for $2 and multiplied the ingredients. I ended up with a gallon of nice vinegar that I used in salad dressings.

Be sure you record what you used and the amounts so you can tweak your ACV flavor. I used a mix of tart and sweet apple peels and cores in the big batch and liked how it turned out better than the small batch made with just one type of apple parts. Or your ACV may not start doing anything and your notes will show you what may have caused it.

References: “The Little House Cookbook“, 1979 by Barbara M. Walker – Reader’s Digest “Back to Basics”, 1981


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  1. Crazy Joe in South Jersey says:

    Short , concise , to the point . Good .

  2. mom of three says:

    Sound’s great but I can hear it now by my family, what’s that smell, it looks moldy, just go buy it! Why waste time doing this. I may just go and try it anyway now to look for a suntea jar.

    • Mom of three: The fermenting smells yeasty and really not bad.

      Patientmomma: I don’t see why pears wouldn’t work.

  3. patientmomma says:

    Thanks for the encouragement; I think if I have to wait 10-12 weeks using a 5 gal container would be wise. Could you make this using pear peels and cores????

    • tommy2rs says:

      Pretty much anything you can make into wine will work, so pears work as do most any berries or fruits. Including… wait for it…. tomato skins and seeds. I’ve made pineapple vinegar and it’s really good. Just scrub the skin really well.

  4. If you’re going to boil the water it doesn’t matter if it starts out with chlorine in it the boiling will remove it. As will aeration, just pour the water back and forth between buckets, this will raise the dissolved oxygen and displace the chlorine. For heavily chlorinated water both boiling and aeration might be needed.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Remember if you have chlorine in your water it probably has flouride in it also. I would use well or distilled water.Just sayin’

  5. JP in MT says:

    These are the kind of practical, needed skills I like learning and reading about.

    Thank you!

  6. Thanks for this article.

  7. Glad to write it up. I am all over practical (cheap!) and easy. Writing it also reminded me of Michelle when she used to visit us here.

    • mom of three says:

      I miss Michelle, too she’s a wealth of information.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Maddie, I have a question… Why did you boil the water? We don’t have much fruit now, but have filed the article.. Thanks

  8. cgbascom says:

    What a timely article. My husband and I have started using apple cider vinegar to help control blood sugar and I noticed that I was running out. I had hoped that if I wanted to make it that it wouldn’t be too difficult. I’m going to start a batch before I run out of Bragg’s and then order some more to tide me over for the long wait. Thanks!

    • Curley Bull says:

      cgbascom, how do you use the vinegar for blood sugar? Can I just take a sip every so often? I am interested in anything that might get me off meds.

      • cgbascom says:

        Curley Bull, my husband takes it with a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of honey and mixes it with a little water before each of his meals. I have to stress, though, that he still takes his metformin and insulin, (he no longer takes his glipizide) but he has been able to keep the blood glucose level stable. We also know that it may not last, but as long as he can keep it stable (meaning that it stays within a certain range) it will help keep the kidneys from failing. The goal with this is to keep the food from forming dangerous peaks which his body has trouble bringing down. He still isn’t at the lower range he would like to be, but the after meal spikes are not as high as they had been before he tried this. He’s been at it about 5 weeks, now. He says that the taste is comparable to a shot of whiskey. I think it tastes like…..well, sweetened vinegar, but I take it only in the morning and only between several cups of black coffee, my preferred drink.

        If you can get a hold of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, some of this information is on their label.

  9. Curley Bull says:

    Thank you! I used to drink honey and vinegar. My Grandmother started me on it and I’ve had the feeling for a long time that I should get back on it. I joined the National Guard after active duty and ended up a senior instructor at the NCO Academy. Our summer camp was in August in central Louisiana with 90+ degrees and 90+ humidity plus bookoo mosquitos, chiggers, and ticks. I would drink a half cup of vinegar a day starting two weeks prior to camp and as soon as I broke sweat, I didn’t even get a mosquito bite, much less anything else. Course after 4 days without bath, people didn’t get too close either.

  10. I try not to mix Apple types. I like to know just what went into my vinegar. If it is good, do it again. Not so good, try another type Apple. Mixing apples doesn’t make it easy to repeat the good ones.

  11. I don’t use yeast or ACV starter. I fill my jar with cores and peels, then cover with water. I think I add a tablespoon of sugar, but can’t remember right now (recipe is at home and I’m not). Then I take a coffee filter to cover the jar and hold it on with a rubber band. Stir daily until it starts to form the mother – gelatinous blob on top. Then I let it sit for a while.

    I’ve made it twice – the first time went really well and was mostly peels. The second time, not so great. I’ll make it again when I have peels.

  12. PatrickM says:

    Good article and a good skill!

    There is also instructions on the frugalsquirrel site that includes a tutorial on testing the ph level.

  13. M. Biccum says:

    Local Dollar Store has Apple Cider Vinegar for $1.00 per qt. For $4.00 I can get a gal without the time, hassel or buying yeast or finding a jug to ferment it in. Lazy me. Also, it is easier to handle 1 qt. bottles than a gal. jug. I bottled 4 qts. of very dry plum wine the other day and found it hard to lift a gal. jug with my arm so I am opting out and getting mine at the Dollar Store. I did enjoy reading the article, though.

    • …you’re assuming that the stuff in the dollar store is a clean ferment. How can you be sure? Make your own, or watch it being made.
      You’re also assuming the dollar store will always be there, and it will always have products you need.
      That is a LOT of assumptions…

    • Be sure the Apple Cider Vinegar is raw, unfiltered and not the distilled type that you buy for $1 at discount stores. They are not the same and will not give the benefits that the raw ACV with the “mother” (cloudy material that settles on the bottom). I use the ACV to lower the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and it works very well. 1 tablespoon ACV and 1 tablespoon honey, water to get a 8 oz of ‘cocktail’, 2X a day.

  14. I like the homemade recipe, thanks & a big thumbs up.

  15. bob wilkinson says:

    how can i print this?

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