REMINDER: Today we are making raw apple cider vinegar. It's been quite some time since we picked our apples and the harvest, although not yet including much from the new orchard, was plentiful. Many apples were given to friends and relatives, many more were stewed for sauce, crumbles and pies and yet more were turned into jelly with a combination of foraged berries and blackcurrants. The remaining apples are stored in black bags outside, chilled by the good old Scottish, winter weather. 

winter stored apples to make apple cider vinegar

How to make frugal apple cider vinegar

Our apples have been stored since the beginning of Autumn 2017 so the ones in the photo are now approaching 6 months olds and still taste delicious. To be honest, this is the best success I have ever had with storing apples over winter and it was also the most tardy. The apples were all dry when picked and went straight into plastic carrier bags. Each contains about 2 to 3 kilos. These bags then got tied  up and placed inside a black bin bag and have sat outside ever since. Who knew?! My 2018 crop will be stored in an old fridge that I plan on storing in the barn. (The fridge will not be plugged in or switched on, it will simply provide dry, dark storage space for the apples.)

I took about 15 assorted apples and peeled then chopped them. The peels and cores got set aside and the chopped apples got stewed and baked into a huge apple crumble, with the addition of a handful of sultanas and a good sprinkling of cinnamon. 

Take all your rinsed peelings and cores and add them to a clean bucket. Pour over a cupful of sugar (some people add raw honey but that's not frugal in this household as we don't have our own bees) and then make up to about 5 litres. I used warm water and this time around, simply because I had some, I added a Campden tablet. Previously, I omitted this but the ACV still turned out just fine. The bucket should be covered with a cloth, tea towel or muslin and tied lightly - this prevents anything landing in it while still allowing plenty of air about it. It's the oxygen in the air that oxidises the alcohol and turns it to acetic acid, sometimes referred to as ethanoic acid (acidified ethanol), turning your basic cider into vinegar. I use a 25 litre lidded bucket for fermenting.


That's it... leave your bucket sitting some place warm / room temperature and give the liquid a stir every few days for the next week or two until all the apple cores and peels are sinking to the bottom. Once they have all sunk you can strain off the juice and dispose of the remaining pulp, peels and cores to your compost heap or, if you have pigs, you could feed them the pulp. If feeding to hens, remember to remove the pips, as these can be poisonous. I use 5 litre plastic containers for storing the vinegar and usually have enough to last from one year to the next.

Making apple cider vinegar can be an on-going process for as long as you have apples, so it is worthwhile saving a few buckets or large jars specifically for this purpose. We also make our champagne-style fizz using this same equipment - a bucket and cloth - and similar method, but it gets bottled while fermenting to create the flowery or fruity fizz that goes with a pop when you open the clip top bottles.

The final stage of apple cider vinegar making is a simple case of waiting for the alcohol content created from the fermented apples to acidify into vinegar. It can be left for up to 6 months before bottling - don't be scared to taste it to get it to a stage you like. If it is simply for cleaning, then taste won't be so important but make sure all the alcohol has turned to vinegar before bottling and then it can be stored like any other vinegar. I make it in as large a quantity as possible so I have enough for hens, ponies and domestic use and I store it in plastic cartons or bottles. For hoof scrub, I dilute the vinegar at a rate of about 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water and use a stiff wire brush to scrub the soles of the ponies' hooves.


  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps reduce acid reflux
  • Alleviates indigestion
  • Skin conditioner
  • Hair conditioner
  • Equine hoof wash
  • Dietary additive that improves gut health
  • Treats sunburn
  • Anti-fungal properties
  • Teeth whitener
  • Anti-deodorant
  • Anti-bacterial cleaning agent
  • Helps prevent / treat fleas
  • Fly deterrent - you can combine other ingredients to make up sprays
  • Wart treatment
  • Relief of cold symptoms - mix with some honey
  • Helps detoxify the liver
  • Boosts immunity
  • Once filtered, can be used as vinegar

That's it from me on the raw apple cider vinegar front - I love the stuff and have plans to make gallons more of it in the future, experimenting as I go. With our new apple orchards planted at Frugaldom, we should certainly have plenty of the essential ingredients.

Edited update: 2020 batch now fermenting and I have used 4 large tablespoons of sugar per litre of water. I need more buckets to fit in all the apples, enough to make a full year's supply of ACV. We are getting through gallons of it as hoof scrub but it is a massive saving on buying it, as raw ACV can be expensive.

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