Apple season is truly upon us this year with a wide variety of apples available to us straight from the trees (if you are lucky to find some) or from the local markets, shops and supermarkets. Although there isn't much to waste with an apple, sometimes there are peels or left overs and guess what you can do with those...yes, apple cider vinegar! Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV as it is often referred to as, is a wonderful vinegar for so very many reasons. It's easy to make and has so many good purposes that we love it's ability to multi-function. Many refer to ACV's health benefits, ranging from: improved digestion (due it's natural fermented nature meaning that is full of good gut bacteria that can help aid digestion); warding off coughs and colds; boosting the immune system; lowering blood sugar levels; being good for the scalp; being a good rinse for the hair, skin and nails...and that's just health... and as with all vinegars it can also be watered down and used as an cleaning product (mixed with citrus peels if you don't like the smell) so that we don't need to use as many harsh chemicals in our homes that damage our environment. There are so many reasons to give it a go and as a use for apple scraps - you don't have to spend more to make it happen!
If you can make ACV from unwaxed/raw apples straight from the tree the apple cider vinegar will be even better, as it may even create it's own *'mother' (a natural vinegar 'mother; is a floating bacteria that forms in all good unpasteurised vinegars - it is not harmful to the vinegar nor us as it is a probiotic culture), but you can in fact make ACV from any apples you can find, simply make sure you wash your fruit in hot water and dry them off to wash off chemicals sometimes used to prolong their life. Also if you are able to add some 'mother' from another unpasteurised ACV that you already have, then it will speed up the fermentation process a little and usually make a better vinegar but it's not impossible to make without this and with some good apples along with scraps, your vinegar may develop it's own mother. So get out apple picking if you can and - either way this apple season - make the most out of your apples! Items required:
Apples -peels, leftover apples chopped up (if shop bought wash thoroughly with hot water and dry first)
Filtered or unchlorinated water (leave some tap water out to use in a bowl overnight in the kitchen and use the next day for the same effect)
A muslin/cheesecloth/coffee-filter & an
Elastic band or string to tie it on with. Sterilised jars with lids (repurpose ones you have). You can sterilise them by sitting them in boiling water for 5-10mins and then letting them dry.
A measuring jug
large bowls (to drain into)
Sterilised bottle/jar - for final product!
Whilst using this nature activity to inspire learning, know you are helping you and your family's wellbeing like this:
1) Get Active - Get moving by going for a walk in an area where you are able to pick some apples. This could even involve planning a trip. Take into mind that harvesting apples may require knocking on someone’s door to ask if it’s ok to take some from a tree in their garden. It’s ok if they say no, there will be more apples somewhere else.
2) Keep Learning - Learn not only about the various apples before you set off and how to identify, but why not also consider the local geography of the area you intend to walk in in order to forage for apples. Discover how this simple old fashioned technique is still as good now as it always has been and how easy it can be to make your own ACV.
3) Be Mindful - I recommend that you taste test your vinegar from week 4 onwards this can be done mindfully simply by only taking a tiny amount on a teaspoon and tasting it on the tip of your tongue.
4) Practice Kindness -Remind yourselves and family that these apples are not there for us only, they are a source of food for many other insects and wildlife too. The trees also provide shelter and home to insects and wildlife too. Only take what you need and know that by making the vinegar that you are making the absolute most of each apple that you do take. If you are helping a neighbour or stranger by picking apples from their tree, why not ask if they would like you to pick some for them too and gift them some apple cider vinegar when it's finally completed.
5) Think Community - Share your tips in the comments below and share the knowledge too.