Make FREE Apple Cider Vinegar From Scraps (it’s easy)

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Do you have an apple tree in your yard? Perhaps you have access to loads of apples in the fall from your local farmers’ market or nearby orchards. Making applesauce is a great idea, but you can also take it a step further to get the most out of your apples. 

Making apple cider vinegar from scraps is one way to ensure that you are letting no part of the apple go to waste. Apple cider vinegar has a myriad of uses and is excellent for health and wellbeing. The best part of all is that you can make it for FREE.

Scrap apple cider vinegar is not the same as typical apple cider vinegar found in the store that is made by first creating apple cider and then changing the cider to vinegar. Scrap vinegar is less acidic but still quite beneficial in many ways.

Free Apple Scrap Vinegar

Here is how to make your very own apple scrap vinegar at home.

What you  need

  • Apple peels and or cores
  • 1 Tbsp sugar per one cup of water
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • Glass jar – quart size is great

How to make it

  1. Fill the glass jar ¾ full with cores and peels.
  2. Add sugar into the water and let it dissolve. Pour it over apples until they are completely covered. Leave just a couple of inches at the top of the jar.
  3. Cover the jar loosely with a coffee filter or piece of scrap fabric secured with a rubber band. Set the jar in a warm and dark place for two weeks.
  4. Stir the content every two days. If a brown or gray film develops on top, skim it off.
  5. After two weeks, strain off the liquid and dump any scraps into your compost bin or feed them to your chickens.
  6. The vinegar should have a sweet aroma.
  7. Cover the liquid again and set the strained liquid aside for another 2-4 weeks.
  8. The apple cider vinegar is complete once it has that signature vinegary taste and smell. If it needs more time, set it aside for a bit longer.
  9. Once you are happy with the taste and smell, put a lid on the jar and store the vinegar in the refrigerator. It won’t go bad.

If you happen to see a gelatinous blob on top of your vinegar, that is great. This is what is known as the “mother.” You can use this to jump-start future vinegar batches. 

How to use homemade apple cider vinegar

Here are some of my favorite ways to use homemade apple cider vinegar. Keep in mind that you can substitute this vinegar in any recipe calling for plain vinegar.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

This delicious dressing is easy to make and healthy.

What you need

  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

How to make it

Place all ingredients in a clean mason jar and shake for one minute. 

5-Minute Ketchup

With no dangerous high fructose corn syrup, this homemade ketchup is healthy and delicious.

What you  need

  • 3 cans organic no-salt tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder (no fillers)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup filtered water


  • Blender
  • Mason jar with lid (for storage)

How to make it

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender, except the water.
  2. Slowly add the water and blend until you reach the desired thickness.
  3. Pour into a mason jar and cover.
  4. Keep refrigerated for up to one month.

Use your homemade ketchup anywhere that you would use regular store-bought ketchup, even in recipes such as homemade barbecue sauce for chicken and ribs.

Apple Cider Vinegar Exfoliating Scrub

Not only is homemade apple cider vinegar great in the kitchen, but it is also a powerful tool in your beauty routine as well. This simple exfoliating scrub will leave your skin radiant and soft.

What you need

  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • Coconut crystals

How to make it

  1. In a small jar or container, combine the apple cider vinegar and the raw honey.
  2. Add enough coconut crystals to hold the materials together and make a scrub.
  3. To use, apply to clean skin, gently scrubbing. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse off.
  4. This scrub will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Cough Away Remedy

Your cough won’t stand a chance against this powerful natural apple cider vinegar remedy.

What you  need

  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


  • Small jar with lid for storage

How to make

  1. Measure out each ingredient for the cough remedy.
  2. Place all ingredients into a small jar with a lid.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Make sure to shake well before each use.

When using this cough remedy, take one tablespoon for adults and one teaspoon for children. Take as needed.

Traditional Fire Cider

Fire cider is a medicinal concoction that has been used for generations to support healthy digestion, keep seasonal infections away, boost circulation and get rid of sinus congestion.

What you need

  • ½ cup peeled and diced horseradish
  • ½ cup peeled and diced garlic
  • ½ cup peeled and diced onion
  • ¼ cup peeled and diced ginger
  • ¼ cup peeled and diced turmeric
  • 1 pc habanero chili, split in half
  • 1 pc orange, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • ½ pc lemon, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbps chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped thyme
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 to 3 cups raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
  • ¼ cup raw honey, or more to taste

How to make it

  1. Place all of the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices in a clean 1-quart jar. Fill the jar with vinegar, covering all the ingredients and making sure there are no air bubbles. Cap the jar. If using a metal lid, place a parchment or wax paper between the jar and the lid to prevent corrosion from the vinegar. Shake well.
  2. Let the jar sit for 3 to 6 weeks, shaking daily (or as often as you remember).
  3. Strain the vinegar into a clean jar. Add honey to taste. Refrigerate and use within a year.

Don’t let those apple cores and peels go to waste; make apple cider vinegar instead! We all like getting something for free, right?

Happy Growing,

-Susan, CBHC and Master Gardener

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