We were actually quite surprised to learn how easy it is to make your own vinegar. Why would you even want to do that, someone might ask? Although making our own food takes extra time, we love the idea of knowing exactly what goes into it. Also, by doing it ourselves we have more flexibility and opportunity to try out new combinations and flavours. Finally, we love to give and receive homemade treats, be they crafts, baked goods or other foods and some homemade vinegar in a fancy upcycled bottle makes a great gift for the foodie or cook in your life.
As a bonus, making apple cider vinegar lets us use up some of the less-than-perfect fruit from our trees. Over the past few years we hadn’t sprayed our fruit trees with pesticides at all. Although it’s great to have truly organic fruit, they’re obviously not as perfect as the sprayed ones. Even without an apple tree in your backyard you can look for “past-due” regular or organic apples in your grocery store. Moreover, stores such as Loblaws in Canada are trying to combat the issue of food waste in our society by introducing new brands such as no name® Naturally Imperfect™, giving weird, small and misshapen fruits and vegetables their own place on grocery store aisles. You can learn more about this program in this Global news article. Finally, you can even try to make this vinegar with leftover peels and cores from your organic apples.
In addition to the great taste and cost savings (making your own can be virtually free if you use your own apples or peels and cores which you would otherwise dispose of), unfiltered apple cider vinegar is thought to have a number of beneficial effects including antebacterial properties, may lower blood sugar, help with weight loss, promote heart health and fight against cancer (source: Authoritynutrition.com). It is important to note however, that the following recipe does not technically make apple cider vinegar for which apple juice rather than apple chunks are used in the fermentation process.
To make your own vinegar you will need only three ingredients plus three supplies:
- approximately 6 large pesticide-free apples, thoroughly washed and cut into quarters
- 2-2.5 tbsp of granulated sugar
- 2-2.5 cups of filtered or boiled and cooled water
- one-quart (preferably glass) jar
- one rubber band
- one coffee filter, cheesecloth or clean kitchen cloth
Fill the jar 3/4 full with the apples. Add the sugar and fill the jar completely with the water. It is key that the apples remain submerged under the water or are likely to develop mold which will spoil the vinegar. Either make sure the apples are well-wedged in the jar to avoid them floating to the top, or use a sterile weight of some sort inside the jar to keep the apples submerged.
Stir all the ingredients together and cover the jar with the coffee filter/cloth, securing with a rubber band. Keep the jar in a dark, warm place for two weeks, checking occasionally to shake the jar (will help the fermentation process) and making sure the apples remain submerged and no mold is growing.
After two weeks strain out the solids and recover the liquid with the coffee filter/cloth. Let sit for another 4-6 weeks, tasting it occasionally until you achieve your desired taste. To stop the fermentation process replace the coffee filter/cloth with a lid for the jar and store in a cool, dry place. And there you go! You have handmade raw apple cider vinegar.
For further details and thorough answers to a number of questions on the process, visit this excellent post at Don’t Waste the Crumbs.
Once your vinegar is ready you can bottle it up in a Mason jar or re-purpose a fancy liquor bottle (we used this lovely Stradivarius Grappa bottle) and embellish with ribbon and a decorative tag such as a DIY tree bark gift tag we shared in a previous post.
So, what interesting foods do you take the time to make rather than buy?
Now it's time for some more DIY Christmas gift ideas from our Canadian blogging friends. Get ready for some wonderful handmade gift inspiration for your holidays!
Homemade Candied Citrus Peel from Personally Andrea
Hand Lettered Ornaments from Lemon Thistle
Christmas Breakfast Gift Basket from Craftberry Bush
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar from Sustain My Craft Habit
Cashew Coconut Brittle from Life Is A Party
DIY Serving Tray for the Coffee Lover from DIY Passion
DIY Cookie Cutters from PMQ For Two
Christmas Cupcake in a Jar from The DIY Mommy
DIY Growler Carrier With Dry Erase Label from Hello Creative Family
DIY Wood Slice Ornaments from The Sweetest Digs
Galvanized Letter Tree from New House New Home
DIY Animal Bookends from Lifeovereasy
Industrial Watch Holder from Love Create Celebrate
DIY Gifts for the New Mom from Fresh Crush
Homemade Barbecue Spice Meat Rub Gift from Time With Thea