How's Apple Cider Vinegar Made? Here’s Where You Can Find Out
Apple Cider Vinegar requires three ingredients: apples, sugar, and yeast. Essentially, how Apple Cider Vinegar is a 3 phase process where alcoholic fermentation transforms what would be apple juice to it’s more sour, multi-use counterpart.
A recap: Apple cider vinegar is the end result of a three-stage process—from apple juice to fermented apple cider and lastly to fermented vinegar.
A fast fermentation process produces today’s commercial vinegar, but traditionally, the process is simple and is made through a slow fermentation process.
Phase 1: There are over 5,000 cultivars of apples in the world and the types of apples, amount of sugar and ripeness can impact the quality and flavor of the end product. To make good apple cider vinegar, apples that are high in sugar but not overripe are used. Apples are cored, peeled and grated or crushed to make apple juice.
Phase 2: The apple juice is then poured into a clean container and covered with a cloth to keep out insects and dust. The juice is fermented from several airborne yeasts in a warm place. They convert the apple sugars (dextrose, glucose, and fructose) into ethanol alcohol. This process can take a week or two. For commercial production, adding yeasts speeds up the process.
Phase 3: The ethanol alcohol is then converted into acetic acid by airborne bacteria, called acetobacter, to produce vinegar. The vinegar is made from apples that are high in sugar but not overripe. The vinegar is then allowed to mature over several months to a year. To ensure the success of cider vinegar, some recommend the practice of inoculating the cider with one part mother to five parts cider.
This is intended to be a short, general description of the process of making vinegar, as there are many things to take into consideration when making ACV that can affect the quality and flavor of the end product. If you are interested in making your own vinegar, we recommend acquiring more specific instructions on how to make vinegar from a number of websites and books with instructions that will give you more precise details—from types of apples to use, to the utensils
and procedures to employ in safe and convenient vinegar making.
All vinegars, regardless of the fruit it is made from, contain similar constituents—water (~92-95%), acetic acid and other acids (~4-8%), and small amounts of sugars and flavoring agents natural to the fruit or grain from which the vinegar is produced. From there, kinds of vinegar differ in a variety of ways.
The easiest way to incorporate apple cider vinegar is through the kitchen: use it in salad dressings, as a rub or seasoning, in baking or homemade mayo, or mix it into a diluted drink.
Of all the options, people have taken a liking to diluting apple cider vinegar in water and drinking it daily the most (Plus it’s the easiest!).
Warning: Be sure to implement vinegar in small doses and slowly. Intaking too much vinegar can have harmful effects. Many claims about vinegar and apple cider vinegar are unsupported by science, but they are also not disproved. Therefore, it is up to you to decide what to do when it comes to apple cider vinegar.
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