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Action 76: Have ago at making your own cider vinegar. Start with a large class jar – the best is demi  john. As you use apples, put the cores into the jar. Add a little water and a sugar lump and leave the jar open so that natural yeasts can start the fermentation process. As you add more apple cores, add more water. I aim for about half to two thirds water to apple mixture. Add more sugar: I add two or three sugar lumps (teaspoons of sugar are just as good but potentially messier) for every cup of water (approx 200ml). Once a bit of froth is developing on top of the apple mixture, I then insert wine valve. If  you don’t have one, then cover the jar with a loose lid or muslin cloth to keep out any fruit flies. 

Once the jar is 3/4 full leave for two or three weeks. Then strain the liquid into a clean jar and cover with muslin. Leave so that more natural yeast can start the souring process. A ‘crust’ may form on top or fine strands of mucus. This is beginnings of the vinegar agent or ‘mother’. This make take several weeks: do t despair. Eventually it will form a glutinous disk that sinks to the bottom of the jar. 

Test your vinegar – if it tastes good, bottle it. Save the mother, keeping it submerged in some of the vinegar you have made. Next time you can add the mother to your new batch of fermented apple juice and the vinegar transformation will be quicker.

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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