How to make homemade apple cider vinegar

If you would like to know how you can prepare homemade apple cider vinegar but you are not sure how to do it, in this post we will tell you everything you need to know to make homemade vinegar step by step.

But first of all …

What is vinegar?

Vinegar is a miscible liquid, with a sour taste, that contains acetic acid in a concentration of 5-6% and results from an alcoholic fermentation followed by an acetic fermentation, in which ethanol is oxidized and transformed into acetic acid by an agent biological (bacteria).

The alcoholic beverages most used to obtain vinegar are wine, beer and cider.

Vinegar is one of the oldest known culinary ingredients and preservatives and is used gastronomically mainly as a condiment, to prepare vinaigrettes, as an ingredient in sauces and as a preservative in pickles.

History of vinegar

The word vinegar derives etymologically from the Latin word vinum acre (sour wine) alluding to its origin in remote times, 5000 years BC in Babylon, where it was obtained when wine stored for a long period was transformed into the sour liquid that we know as vinegar.

For centuries and in various cultures such as Mesopotamia, Greek, Roman, etc. It was known, but it was not made consciously, but was the product of the natural decomposition of wine.

Luis Pasteur (1822-1895), the renowned French researcher and bacteriologist, studying the metabolism of bacteria discovered that acetic fermentation was caused by aerobic bacteria (organisms that need air to live) called Acetobacter, which act on alcohol ethyl converting it to acetic acid.

What are the uses and benefits of vinegar?

The most recognized use of vinegar is in the culinary aspect, being a versatile ingredient in meals as a flavor or condiment enhancer, a tenderizer for meats, an ingredient in sauces and dishes, and a natural preservative for foods such as vegetables and meats.

It has also been used as a medicinal agent in the treatment of arthritic and throat pain, an aid in weight loss, a neutralizer of alitosis (bad breath), a stabilizer of blood sugar; It counteracts acid reflux and heartburn, is digestive, relieves superficial burns and skin inflammations, decongests the nose, among other therapeutic properties.

Additionally, it is a very useful element in home cleaning. It has been used as a disinfectant, since among the main virtues attributed to it is that of being a natural antiseptic.

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is a fermented food with a high content of enzymes and probiotics that is produced by the alcoholic fermentation and subsequent acetification of apple juice.

After white vinegar, apple cider vinegar is the most widely used in cooking due to its mild flavor and aroma, and it is widely used in the kitchens of northern European countries, although its use has spread worldwide.

Apple vinager

How is vinegar produced?

Vinegar is basically the result of two fermentations. The fermentable simple sugars (fructose, sucrose and glucose) present in the fruit are the basis for the production of vinegar.

In a first stage, the sugar is transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas (CO2) by the action of germs called Yeasts, resulting in ethyl alcohol, called Alcoholic Must (Wine, cider or beer). This first stage is called alcoholic fermentation.

The second stage known as acetic fermentation, is when the Alcoholic Must by action of the Acetobacter bacteria that combine oxygen with alcohol, forms acetic acid, giving rise to vinegar. The product obtained contains between 5 and 6% acetic acid.

For this acetic transformation to occur, there must be a quality raw material and appropriate conditions of temperature, aeration, penumbra, acidity, concentration of alcohol and nutrients.

When the activity of bacteria on alcohol occurs, a cellular mass forms on the upper surface of the wine, with a gelatinous appearance (mother culture), which takes oxygen from the air to convert the alcohol into vinegar. The process ends when there is no longer a high concentration of alcohol in the wine.

How is apple cider vinegar made by hand?

If an environment is available in which the ambient temperature is between 18º and 24º C, it is estimated that a quality vinegar will be obtained within a period of between 3 and 6 months from the moment in which the fermentation begins.


  • Select 1 kg. Apple, without bumps, stains or any symptoms of rot.
  • Wash them well. Take out the center of each one; only use the pulp with the skin.
  • In a wide-mouth container, dissolve 250 g sugar in 2.5 liters of filtered water, which is then poured over the apples cut into thick pieces.
  • In a separate container, dissolve 2 teaspoons of yeast in a cup of warm water, let stand 5 min. Incorporate the apples.
  • Cover the container with a thin tablecloth, gauze or filter paper to guarantee the entry of air, but avoid the entry of insects or other foreign material. Secure it with a rope or rubber band.
  • The mixture can be left at room temperature (21 to 24 degrees Celsius, ideally) for 1 to 2 weeks in the dark, until bubbles begin to appear as the sugar turns into alcohol. After 3 days you begin to perceive a fermentation aroma that indicates that the formation of alcohol began.
  • Once the first fermentation is finished, the apples are filtered and the liquid is preserved; just go through a strainer and leave decanting in a cool place. Remove sediment.
  • After the first fermentation, the basic conditions necessary to produce acetification are: aeration and temperature between 25º and 30ºC, sufficient initial acidity and adequate alcohol concentration, penumbra and monitoring of eventual contamination.
  • The filtered liquid (cider) is put back into the container covering it as indicated in the first fermentation. Leave in a preferably warm place (25º-30ºC), ventilated and poorly lit.
  • Let the must ferment again for a period of between 3 weeks and 4 months, depending on the environmental conditions of the kitchen and the level of acidity that is preferred.
  • As the bacteria carry out their function, a small amount of sediment will appear at the bottom of the container and the “mother” culture, a gelatinous layer, will form on the surface of the liquid.
  • In the mother formation stage, it is possible that a set of small whitish buds appear on the surface, a layer of harmless mold, but that must be removed before it can consolidate, since it competes with the microorganisms that it is desired to maintain. in the mother for the production of vinegar.
  • Starting from the third week, it should be checked weekly if the vinegar has developed the desired acidity. To do this, it is sniffed, taking care not to smell it directly as it can be irritating. Take a sample that must be shaken and smelled at a safe distance. If you have already developed the vinegar smell, then it should be tested by placing a small amount on the palate. The cider vinegar must present a mild acidic fruity aroma from the apple used to make it. If the desired flavor and acidity is obtained, proceed to the next step. If not, continue fermentation.
  • Filter the vinegar through a strainer covered by a cloth or gauze, transferring it to clean bottles or jars (preferably use glass material) and close them well.
  • Store at room temperature in a cupboard or pantry, protecting the containers from direct sunlight.
  • If preferred, bottled vinegar can be kept in the refrigerator or it can be pasteurized.

How long does artisanal vinegar last?

A fruit vinegar made in optimal conditions and with a minimum content of 5% acetic acidity does not decompose due to its acidic nature, and can be kept at room temperature.

Once the bottle is opened, a gelatinous mass (mother culture) may form on the surface and / or float to the bottom, which can be stirred and still used with the vinegar. It is only formed in vinegars made in a natural way, constituting the best indicator that the product is handmade.

How to pasteurize homemade vinegar?

For larger scale production, it is preferred to pasteurize the vinegar to ensure its stability over time.

To do this, proceed as follows:

  1. Heat the vinegar slightly over medium heat, up to a temperature of about 70º to 80ºC, for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the vinegar with a funnel into clean bottles rinsed with boiling water, as well as their respective lids.
  3. Cover, sealing the bottles well.
  4. Store in a cupboard or pantry, protected from direct sunlight.

And you … what are you waiting for to prepare your own apple cider vinegar?

Bibliographic references

  • Acetification. Preparation of an artisan vinegar

María Antonia Malajovich / Activity guides Biotechnology: teaching and dissemination / Guide 33

  • Winemaking. Preparation of a fruit wine

BioTechnology Guides • Teaching and dissemination / Guide 3

  • The vinegar

Madrid Sommeliers Association

  • Fruit Vinegar


Universidad Privada del Norte. Peru.

  • Fruit Vinegar Production

Metropolitan Autonomous University

Iztapalapa Unit, Mexico

Educational Websites

  • Fermentation for beginners

Chapter 11. Vinegars

  • What can apple cider vinegar do for your health?

Dr. Mercola’s Articles

June 25, 2018

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