In early autumn, when our apple tree was fruiting, I read an article about making apple vinegar.
I had a go, and it was the easiest preserve I ever made!
You fill large jar/s (sterilised, as per preserving) with apple cores and peelings. Obviously it is easy to do this when apples are abundant and you are cooking with them a lot. That’s the second reason this is so cool – you essentially get something from waste.
Fill the jar/s with cold water so that all peelings are submerged. That’s all the ingredients! Apple bits and water.
Tie thin cotton or muslin around the top. (It needs to breathe. Don’t put a lid on or you’ll end up with a mouldy mess.)
Put away in the back of the cupboard for 3-4 months.
3-4 months later, remove cotton, skim layer of fermented scum off the top with a spoon, then carefully pour through some cotton or muslin into a bowl.
Bottle in sterilised glass containers.
Here’s what it looked like after three months, before bottling. The scummy stuff around the top is an expected and natural part of the fermentation process:
It tastes like a slightly milder version of the apple cider vinegar I buy from health shops. (Maybe it would go stronger if I’d left it longer – I left mine for three months.)
I love how the colour is so much the colour of apples!
Now that I’ve had a go at the easiest possible fermentation product, I’m keen to try some more. There was a post about fermented vegetables over at TEND yesterday. I like the look of that book he mentions.
I have a special cupboard for preserves and because my mother also does preserving it is getting pretty full. The preserves cupboard makes me come over all ‘little house on the prairie’ as it speaks to a time when preserving (and fermenting) weren’t quaint hobbies but a matter of survival over winter.
In my preserves cupboard I have: bottled apples, plum jam, crabapple jelly, feijoa chutney, plum sauce, marmalade and now….apple vinegar.