How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Several months ago we were elbow deep in apples. I made more crisps than a person responsibly should. Left with a pile of apple peels and cores, I didn’t want to simply feed it all to the pigs. That’s when I learned how to make apple cider vinegar!

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is made by adding fruits, water, a type of sugar, and yeast, together and letting it ferment. Sound familiar? Yep! It’s basically the same thing as wine. To keep your wine as wine, you prevent any exposure to air. If you want vinegar, you let the mixture become exposed to air.

The bacteria in the air turns into a type of acetic acid which then makes the vinegar “mother”. A vinegar mother is a somewhat goopy mass that can be transferred from batch to batch in order to keep the same flavors.

raw apple cider vinegar rough and tumble farmhouse

What is Vinegar Used For?

Vinegar these days, especially apple cider vinegar, seems to be used as a cure-all for just about everything.

Vinegar is high in potassium which helps promote the growth of cells and tissues. It also has legitimate antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Here are just a few ways people use apple cider vinegar:

  • Leg Cramps
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Sore Throat
  • Tuckered out
  • Fungal Infections
  • Sunburn
  • Increasing hair body and Shine
  • Cleaning

Vinegar might not be the best medicine for you if you have problems with heartburn or stomach ulcers. It also should always be diluted when used as it can be corrosive to teeth.

How Long Does It Take to Make Apple Cider Vinegar?

The entire process took me just over two months, though depending on how long you want the vinegar to age it can go on longer than that.

Supplies and Ingredients to Make Fruit Scrap/Apple Cider Vinegar

Thankfully vinegar can be made easily at home with things you probably already have in your kitchen.


  • 1 Pound of Fruit Scraps
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Quarts unchlorinated water
  • 1/2 Cup Unfiltered, Unpasteried Raw apple cider vinegar


  • 1/2 Gallon Mason Jar
  • Measuring Cups
  • Cheesecloth
  • Strainer
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Canning Ring or rubber band
  • Mason jars, swing top bottles, or other storage container.
making fruit scrap vinegar rough and tumble farmhouse

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How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

First put the fruit and sugar into a half gallon mason jar. Next pour in one quart of unchlorinated water and the unpasteurized vinegar. Pour in the last quart of water.

apple cider vinegar rough and tumble farmhouse
You can see the froth and bubbles that let you know it is fermenting!

Use a wooden spoon (do not use metal) stir it up! Or as I did, shake it up! Cover it securely with a cheesecloth, milk filter, paper towel, or other breathable fabric. Tighten it down with a canning ring or rubber band. Make sure it is snug! Fruit flies love to sneak in there.

Stir daily for 5-6 days.

Over the next two weeks the vinegar will ferment. Optimally you want it around 70-80 F. If your kitchen is much hotter or colder the fermentation process will take less or more time. Bubbles should start to form and it might get a little frothy at the top.

Once you see bubbles start to slow down and the froth recedes, fermentation is about done. This took mine closer to three weeks.

You might notice a layer of goopyness or thin white gel on the top. This is the vinegar mother forming. Just before you strain, scoop her out and save her for returning to the jar with the vinegar. Check out my video below to see what this looks like.

Strain the vinegar through a colander lined with a cheesecloth. Put the vinegar back in the jar (with the preserved mother) and let it sit for about one month.

After a month has passed taste the vinegar. Should be pretty strong but delicious in flavor.

bottled homemade vinegar rough and tumble farmhouse

At this point pour it into bottles or mason jars and store it for use. The flavor will mellow with time.

How to make Flavored and Herbal Vinegars

Homemade vinegar is amazing on its own. If you want to get a little fancy (hello Christmas gifts) here are a couple variations you can try.

Basic Herbal Infused Vinegar

If you want to add an herbal twist to this vinegar it is simple! Take a pint or quart mason jar and fill it about 3/4 full with dried herbs. Do not use fresh herbs, only dried. Fresh herbs have water inside which can cause issues with bacteria and moisture.

Pour vinegar over the herbs to cover them completely. Shake it up! Shake and check on it each day. The vinegar should always be over the top of the herbs so add more vinegar if needed.

After about four weeks strain and use or bottle. It is recommended that you keep herb and fruit vinegars in the fridge.

Some great herbs for a vinegar infusions:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Dried Garlic
  • Lemon Balm

Flavored Vinegars

You can add additional flavors like raspberry, peach, apricot, etc, by adding in some juice or the fruit istelf.

For raspberry vinegar, squish up one cup of raspberries and put them in a mason jar. Add two cups of vinegar, cap tightly, and let sit for four weeks. Strain out the raspberries and bottle. Store in the refrigerator.

Alternatively you can mash up the raspberries, heat them on low with a few tablespoons of vinegar until they get juicy. Strain the juice off and pour it into the storage bottle. Fill the rest with vinegar. Store in the fridge and shake before use.

diy vinaigarette rough and tumble farmhouse

Quick Vinaigrette Recipe

In my video below I demo how to make super quick honey mustard vinaigrette!

  • 4 Tablespoons Vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Coarse Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir until blended. Or even easier, add them to a mason jar, cap it (metal lid and ring, plastic will leak) and shake it up. So delicious! Add herbs as you see fit.

making vinegar dressing rough and tumble farmhouse

Looking for another way to use your fresh vinegar? Try a batch of Fire Cider!

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How to make apple cider vinegar - Rough and Tumble Farmhouse


Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends

Colorado State Extension

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