The Apple Cider Vinegar Diaries: Day 1

Apple Cider Vinegar aka Le Vinaigre de Cidre de Pomme …

I just can’t help it. It sounds tastier and more refined in French. Ap-ple ci-der vin-e-gar … it’s all pa-pa-pa and sz-sz and ve-ve-ve sounds in English. Harsh and popping off your tongue, exactly the way I’m hoping my vinegar does not turn out. My friend Carl Legge inspired this adventure — namely making cider vinegar from my windfall Cox apples au d’complet with worms, flies, maggots, and lightly drizzled with bird droppings. Carl makes a lot of interesting things from substances that one might otherwise either overlook or discard. I never discard windfall apples, and there are still several bucket loads of them waiting for me on the ground, but turning a kilo of the worst damaged ones into vinegar was something I’d not considered before now. He assures me that it’s dead easy. Dead is probably a word best not contemplated in conjunction with food because the thought of salmonella did cross my mind whilst I prepared the apples.

25 Sept: I collected about 1.5 kilos of bruised, hole-drilled apples from the ground, washed them with tap water to remove the dirt and pollution, and then chopped them up into 2-3cm cubes, removing the worms, maggots and larvae hiding in the core. From that total I had 1 kilo of apples (skin on). Plus I ate a few chunks. I always nibble what I’m cooking. Tut-tut.

Then I made the sugar-water solution of 1 litre bottled water and 100g granulated sugar. Carl’s recipe didn’t stipulate bottled water but our water is highly chlorinated at the moment because of heavy rain – I didn’t want to risk the chlorine killing the bacteria that would ferment this bowl of bobbing beauties. The sugar-water took nearly 4-hours to cool down to a luke-warm finger-test temperature. I have no idea why. Chemistry is a mystery. Or maybe it’s physics. Whatever – they’re both a mystery. I tasted the sugar-water, and I was pleased to discover that it wasn’t too sweet.

The apple chunks awaited immersion in their sweet watery bath … and I decided to eat dinner. I’d lost track of time with all this playing about with sugar and water and apples and maggots bouncing across the kitchen worktop. The maggots should have put any right-thinking woman off her food, but not me – if my tummy had knees it’d be on them begging for food. Perhaps I was a bird in a previous life…

Anyway — I poured the sugar-water over the apple chunks, set a plate on top to keep the chunks submerged, and then draped a cotton tea towel over the bowl. It’s sitting in the utility room at the moment where it’s slightly warm from the morning sun.

My hope at the moment is that the house doesn’t smell like a distillery or brewery in a few days. I don’t think hubby will approve if that happens but time will tell, and I’m excited to follow this adventure for a few weeks.

… continued tomorrow …

8 Comments Add yours

  1. teawithhazel says:

    welcome back misk..from the sounds of your lamentations about returning you must have had a wonderful time..

    i made the same vinegar from pear peelings and it was a success but it had a funny stringy appearance even when i bottled it and somehow it’s really put me off trying smells really vinegary so i should just dive in and see if i survive..:)

  2. Misk Cooks says:

    Thank you for the welcome back! Very kind. We really did have a wonderful time in Germany and France, and the Black Forest was stunning. I’m still working through a mountain of laundry, but once that’s finished, I’ll start writing up a few notes about the trip. One problem with digital cameras is that it allows you to take far too many photos!

    Oh! Do try your vinegar, and tell me what you think of it, please. My bowl is taking up a sizable space in the utility room, so this adventure had better not turn into a misadventure. šŸ˜€ Lots of time and space being spent on it.

  3. Stefanie says:

    What an interesting experience, to make your own apple cider vinegar! I wonder if it will somehow taste fresher or perhaps more potent than store bought… I hope it goes well for you!

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Hi Stefanie, and welcome! I’m very hopeful that this experience will be successful. Everyone who’s managed to make their own vinegar say it’s dead easy. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who claims failure, so either they’re not fessing-up or it is in fact dead easy. šŸ˜€ The house certainly smells lovely from it, so no complaints there. I hope you’ll return to keep track of my apple cider vinegar adventure.

      Now I’m off to read your blog. I’m intrigued by your profile that says you work with big cats and bear. How wonderful!

  4. Joanna says:

    I haven’t put a plate on mine, I have just given it a poke each morning to circulate the top peelings. Just tried bottling some pears and Brian carefully waterbathed them in the oven and they have shrunk and bobbed up, so they will be being eaten sooner rather than later. We’ve never tried bottling fruit before.

    I’m waiting for the scrumpy smells to start, Carl said it goes through a cidery phase before it gets to the vinegar, I’m not so keen on scrumpy…and thanks again for the lovely surprise, it was really so sweet of you. xxx

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      We were supposed to peel the apple chunks? My bowl of apples is sending a lovely faint scent of apple around the house. So far the aroma hasn’t found the stairway and worked its way to the bedroom. I’d not appreciate the smell of cider wafting about my nose as I sleep. Might wake up tipsy.

      Have the pears bobbed up beyond the water level?

  5. ceciliag says:

    so you just put them into the sugar and water and wait?. i can do that.. in fact i will.. c

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      It seems so, C! This morning I awoke to bubble-action in the bowl. WooHoo! And the scent in the house is lovely.

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