Fermented Apple Peel Vinegar (+ Switchel)

Posted on October 9, 2012

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Apples, in their many possible forms, are one of my *favorite* foods. I’m extremely appreciative to live in an area of the country that, despite its own share of drought and freezes, has seemed to fare better than other, harder-hit agricultural communities throughout the US.

A new batch of apple peel vinegar

I’ve been drying a lot of apples this fall, and have had so. many. peels. as a result. Incredibly crisp and fragrant, I definitely wanted to find a way to use them up; Sandor Katz provided the solution.

Fermented apple peel vinegar
Fermented Apple Peel Vinegar

Ingredients:

  • apple peels (cores can be added, too; I used Honeycrisp apple peels)
  • unchlorinated water (I used distilled)
  • sugar (sucrose or honey work)

Directions:

Apple peels after one week of fermentation

Place apple peels and/or scraps in a sterile, non-reactive vessel such as a ceramic fermentation crock, glass jar, or food-grade plastic container or bucket (FYI- the more surface area the vinegar has, the faster it will ferment). Add enough sugar-water solution to the container to cover the peels, which should be loosely packed into the container; the solution should be 1/4 cup sugar to each quart of water used. If needed, use a clean weight (which can be a glass jar, ceramic diner plate or saucer, etc) to keep peels submerged in the liquid; I will note that my peels were fine slightly exposed at the solution’s surface in a slightly-cool kitchen. Cover the vessel with a clean, breathable cloth secured with a rubberband to keep dust and flies out. Leave the container at room temperature to ferment for about one week.

Straining the apple peel ferment for a second fermentation

At this point, the mixture will still taste quite sweet (but apple-y). In order to achieve vinegar status, strain out the peels and/or scraps and ferment the liquid for another two to three weeks until the flavor is to your liking; stir the liquid periodically during its second fermentation. Strain the vinegar, if desired, and transfer the finished product to a new, clean vessel(s) for kitchen or table use. Store sealed vessels in a cool, dark, and dry location.

Don’t just want to use that vinegar for salads and sauteing? Feeling adventurous? And thirsty?

Switchel

Makes 1/2 gallon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup apple peel vinegar or other fruity vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (or less) sugar, honey, or pure maple syrup, or any combination of these
  • 1/2 cup (or less) unsulphured molasses
  • 2-inch knob of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • unchlorinated water (I used distilled)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients with one quart of water in a non-reactive pot; cook for 10 minutes, then strain. Add as much water as necessary to make a mixture totaling two quarts. Chill in the refrigerator and serve with or without ice.

Vinegar recipe inspired by “Fruit Scrap Vinegar” and beverage made according to “Switchel” recipe in Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.