How to Make Free Apple Scrap Vinegar

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Updated 09/24/22

In my home, homemade vinegar has been the Holy Grail of scratch cooking. My daughter MK tried a few years ago and came very close, but flies invaded her apple scraps and ruined it. It sure smelled great though as I tossed it onto the compost. I have tried making vinegar a couple of times, but had no idea how to do it, so just guessed and failed.

In my fermentation bible, The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz tantalizingly mentions that you can make scrap vinegar from fruit used to flavor mead—if any sweetness remains—but I couldn’t find any instructions in there on how to actually make the vinegar 🙁

I can buy many foods in bulk near me, but not vinegar. I love to make as many staples as I can. It makes me more self-sufficient and reduces my dependency on Big Food. But vinegar seemed hopeless.

Then I stumbled upon the wonderful blog, Kitchen Counter Culture. Finally! I found instructions for making scrap vinegar. I’ve made it a few times now and am thrilled with the results. It takes very little effort, costs nothing and yields several bottles of vinegar. I’ve only used apples to date, but you can use other fruit scraps as well, such as pineapple.

apple crumble plus apple scraps and peels sit on a wooden cutting board
Scrap vinegar provides a good excuse to bake apple crumble or pie 😉

Apple scrap vinegar ingredients

  • Peels and cores from 6 large apples
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Enough water to cover the apple scraps (about 6 cups)

“But I don’t have six apples!” you may say. You can freeze peels and cores, squirreling them away in the freezer until you have a large enough pile to make scrap vinegar. I do this often. Heat will kill the microbes but cold just puts them to sleep.

I sort of hate to give exact measurements for fermentations. Think of these measurements as rough guidelines. Fermentation is pretty foolproof. The bacteria present on the apples perform the fermentation and the sugar—both the added and the sugar in the fruit—fuels the process. You can add more sugar if you like, but mine turned out with just a little bit. If you want to kickstart your fermentation with a bit of whey or raw cider vinegar, you can do that also, but you don’t need to.

If your tap water contains lots of chlorine, before starting this, pour some water into a vessel and leave it open to the air for many hours, or even a day. The chlorine, which can kill the naturally occurring microbes that perform the fermentation, will simply dissipate.


scrap vinegar started
You actually want to leave this open, covered with a thin cloth and exposed to the air

1. Combine apple scraps, water and sugar in a large, wide-mouth glass or ceramic vessel and stir. Cover with a thin cloth. With most ferments, you don’t want air to come into contact with your food. For vinegar, you do. Also, especially with fruit and sugary fermentations, explosions are a real possibility. Pressure builds up in a closed container while the bacteria create carbon dioxide as a byproduct of fermentation. If you choose to close your vessel, in the next step, you will open it several times a day to stir and this opening will also release built-up CO2. Just always remember this step every day.

day 7 bubbly
Day 7 of fermentation

2. Over the next several days, stir your fermentation several times a day when you think of it. Stirring aerates your ferment, encouraging microbial activity and helping prevent mold formation. I drink too much tea, and stir every time I go into the kitchen to brew another cup. After a few days, your concoction should start to bubble and smell slightly alcoholic. I took the above picture on day 7.

3. Once the ferment starts bubbling, I stir it less often—once a day. Ordinarily, when you ferment anything alcoholic, the last thing you want to attract are Acetobacter bacteria, which turn alcohol into vinegar when you expose your ferment to oxygen. Here, you want exactly that result. For this reason, a wide mouth vessel that exposes the surface area to the air works best. Fermentation times vary, but your vinegar will likely start to taste sour after about a week.

no bubbles
No bubbling
Strain through a cloth-lined colander set over a bowl
Squeeze out as much liquid as possible

4. Strain the fruit. Wait until the bubbling has subsided (about two weeks) to strain. Sally Fallon strains her pineapple vinegar after a mere three days BUT she adds whey, which contains microbes that kickstart the fermentation. At the point of straining, the fruit will have no flavor. Compost the spent scraps.

bottled vinegar

5. Bottle your vinegar if you detect zero fizz. Although you may see no evidence of bubbling, and believe the fermentation has ended, this may not be the case. To avoid messes—or worse, explosions—burp your jars regularly (i.e., open them). If you detect no fizziness, try burping them once every month or two just as a precaution. This vinegar keeps for a year (at least).

As the vinegar ages, the acidity will increase. My first batch is nearly one month old and it’s very acidic, but less acidic than cider vinegar. I have found many purposes for it:

  • Soup. I always add a splash of vinegar to soup. It adds a nice tang to chicken broth, and enhances the flavor vegetable broth. The other night I made “trash soup” for dinner (my coworkers warned me not to call it that on my blog, but I really did make soup from practically nothing). In chicken drippings I had saved, I sautéed a quarter of a cabbage that had seen better days. To that I added about 1/2 cup of whey left over from homemade ricotta cheese and about 1/2 cup of scrap vinegar. The resulting chicken-flavored vegetable soup tasted delicious.
  • Lemon juice replacement. I have used my scrap vinegar in a couple of recipes that called for a splash of lemon or lime juice, such as lentil dal or spicy black beans. Tastes great.
  • My hair. I wash my hair with baking soda followed my a cider vinegar rinse (the no poo method). On the weekend, I replaced cider vinegar with my scrap vinegar. The first time I rinsed with scrap vinegar, I used too much, thinking I needed more because of its lower acidity. Well, that was a mistake and my hair looked a bit fried. The next time I washed it, I used less and my hair looked fine. It had a bit of frizz (normal for me), so I rubbed in a minuscule amount of coconut oil. My hair looked great. (My head is like a salad.) I feel I have taken no poo to a whole new level…
  • Cleaning. I have always cleaned my toilet with vinegar. Now I use scrap vinegar. It works well. I have also mixed my scrap vinegar with baking soda to clean the kitchen sink and wash a pot I boiled dry with beans in it (oops).

I haven’t tried salad dressing yet, but I will. I don’t eat much mayonnaise, but I could try substituting this for vinegar in mayonnaise. My daughter adds a bit of vinegar to her pastry crust recipe—another recipe to try…The possibilities are endless. If you enjoy DIY projects, you’ll understand my excitement.

5 from 3 votes

Apple Scrap Vinegar

Use apple peels and scraps to make vinegar
Prep Time5 mins
Active Time14 d
Total Time14 d 5 mins
Course: Condiment
Yield: 6 cups
Cost: $0.20


  • 1 large jar
  • thin cloth to strain the liquid


  • peels and cores from 6 large apples
  • enough water to just cover the apples and cores, about 5 cups
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • Remove any broken seeds or seeds poking out of the cores. Combine apple scraps, water and sugar in a large, wide-mouth glass or ceramic vessel and stir. Cover with a thin cloth.
  • Over the next several days, stir your fermentation several times a day when you think of it. After a fews days, your concoction should start to bubble and begin to smell slightly alcoholic.
  • Once the ferment starts bubbling, stir it once a day.
  • Continue to stir daily. Fermentation times vary, but your vinegar will likely start to taste sour after about one more week. At this point you may strain the fruit out and compost the spent scraps.
  • Bottle your vinegar if you detect no carbonation. Although you may see no evidence of bubbling, and believe the fermentation has ended, this may not be the case. To avoid messes—or worse, explosions—burp your stored vinegar occasionally if you see any bubbles whatsoever. This vinegar will keep indefinitely.

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203 Replies to “How to Make Free Apple Scrap Vinegar”

  1. Oh man . .. I just stared at my apple scraps from this morning’s pie and after doing a zillion dishes and house chores, I threw them out. Feeling lazy today! Next time: vinegar!!!

    1. Doesn’t sound like you were lazy doing a zillion dishes and chores. I know how you feel though. I’m starting to feel pressure if I have any peels or cores around. I have a ton of vinegar now and don’t need more. So, no more apple crumble for a little while 🙁

      1. I never peel my apples for crumble. I’m going to be freezing the cores until I collect enough for a batch of scrap vinegar.

      2. I’ll have to try crumble with peels. I’ve never made it that way and I imagine it would be just as delicious. I don’t usually have peels either, so I saved up my cores in the freezer until I had enough for my first batch. Great minds!

  2. Thrilling! You inspired me to start some a few weeks ago 🙂 This morning, I am making an apple tart for a birthday party, and got the cores and peels together for another batch. I am so glad that I saw this post as the tart bakes because I forgot to put in the sugar! You saved me 🙂

    1. Yum…apple tart. Lucky birthday party revelers. How is your vinegar coming along? I never thought I would make my own vinegar and I too find it thrilling. It’s hardcore DIY. I’m glad you found the post helpful 🙂

      1. It’s coming along well! I decided the let the second part, where you cover it with cloth, last for 6 weeks so — early December 🙂

      2. After reading your comment, I removed the lids from a couple of bottles and covered them with cloths and will wait several weeks before putting the lids back on. I hope that helps sour them more. Thanks for the idea 🙂

      3. I wound up using this method since it mentioned that it cultivated the mother of vinegar:

        I will then use the mother to start a red wine and white wine vinegar if all goes well! I already seem to see what looks like the mother.

      4. Wow! You’re getting a mother? That’s awesome. Thanks for the link. It’s very similar. I’m making kombucha right now and if I let that ferment long enough/neglect it, I’ll get vinegar. A twitter friend told me she uses her kombucha vinegar for canning. Will you use red wine to make your red wine vinegar? Do you know if it is best to use quality red wine or will the cheap stuff work just as well???

      5. Whenever we have a little wine left over I usually freeze it to use in cooking, so instead I’ll take it and try to make it into vinegar. My husband and I enjoy wine, and usually get a $20 – $30 bottle to enjoy once a month or so, so I’ll probably use something very nice to drink to make my vinegar!

        For my apple scrap vinegar, one batch is honey crisp apple, and another granny smith apple. I can’t wait to see if there is a difference in the flavor of the vinegars.

      6. Cool! Please let me know how all of your experiments go. I think my days of buying vinegar have come to an end 🙂

    2. Hello, thank you for sharing your experience with apple scrap. I have some that’s one week two and it has a white film on top. Not sure if I should toss it out?

      1. Hi Clar,
        That might be kahm yeast, which is harmless but annoying. You may have already tossed your vinegar but if you make it again and kahm yeast forms, scrape off what you can and continue to do so if it reappears. When my vinegar or other liquid develops kahm yeast, I line a seive with thin fabric to strain the apples, kahm yeast and any sediment. Also, stirring the next batch frequently will help prevent it from forming.

  3. You might be interested in a book called “Stillroom Cookery” by Grace Firth. She has a guideline for making vinegar, but suggests using vinegar and/or a mother (if you have one) for making vinegar, not water. She also lets it sit for several months.

    1. Thank you! You are a fountain of knowledge. My library doesn’t have this but I found a good used copy online and have ordered that.

  4. This is awesome!! I can’t wait to try it! I’ve got 2 bags of apples, so now I know what to do with the scraps when I use them!

    1. Great! Thanks for checking it out and let me know how it goes. Happy peeling 🙂

  5. Thank you! I have always wondered how to make vinegar!

    1. You’re welcome. Thank you for checking it out. This differs from cider vinegar (so far, it’s not as strong, but the acidity will increase over time), but it’s so useful. And fun to make.

      1. I am going to make some this week with my apple butter scraps. Thanks!

      2. You’re welcome 🙂

        Mmmm…apple butter. Do you have that recipe on your blog? I’d love to try it.

  6. This is such an awesome idea. I’m definitely going to try it! Thanks
    And love your blog!

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 The vinegar is fun, easy and free. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy fermenting.

  7. This is great! My daughter eats at least 2 apples a day so I will be sure to save them. We go through a lot of vinegar so I should really try making my own. Thanks as always for this useful post 🙂

    1. Great! You’ll have lots of scraps for vinegar then. I’m glad you liked the post 🙂 Let me know how it goes and thank you for the comment.

  8. I love this! A home-made staple from the waste-to-resource school of thought. I must try this as I use gallons of apple cider vinegar, like you in cooking, cleaning, on my hair… I think the main challenge will be to amass enough apple scraps as I never peel apples.

  9. U r amazing!!! I’ve really come to love vinegar & we use quite a bit around here. Will add to my wintertime to-do list (it’s there with “homemade butter” and my newly added, “homemade baguettes”).

    1. Thank you 🙂 I still have to try making butter. I’ll add that to my list. How do you make your baguettes? I bet they are delicious. Do you have a baguette pan?

      1. Just got a baguette plan from Le Creuset–holds 3 loaves. Will let you know how it goes. I have big baking plans for the fall/winter!

      2. Ooohh, I love all things Le Creuset. I make my sourdough bread in my Le Creuset Dutch oven. I had a metal baguette pan but I think my daughter took it to school with her. Yes, please let me know how it goes!

  10. Wow, Anne, you always ‘bubble up’ with new ideas! This one is great! I don’t use much vinegar in our Indian recipes, but can use this for other purposes. Thanks a lot, and for visiting my blog too. Hope your daughter is feeling better.

    1. Thanks, Jasmin 🙂 If I could get some ferments into my daughter, she probably wouldn’t be sick but she thinks they’re all “weird.” She will eat fermented pickles I buy at the store though. I hope you had a nice weekend.

  11. The recipe from Sandor Katz for apple scrap vinegar is in his first book, “Wild Fermentation.” I highly recommend it. I like it even better than “The Art of Fermentation.”

    1. Ah, I see. Yes, I should get his first book too. I just love him and would like to read his instructions for this. Thanks so much 🙂

    2. Brenda, would you say more about why you like Wild Fermentation better? I’m contemplating buying one of the books for a gift. Thanks!

  12. Wow, I just started a batch of this yesterday after reading a few other posts online. The main one I saw: had pics of apples at the bottom, but mine were floating. I was worried about mold, but I thought I had to leave it undisturbed. Thanks for the tip about stirring, the ones at the top were starting to darken, but now I think it will work :).

    1. I’m glad you found the tip useful. My apples all float to the top too. I have a hard time keeping them down. I find that’s the most difficult aspect of anything I ferment (and that’s not all that difficult either…). I’d love to try making the cider vinegar in the link you sent. I’ve had only a tiny little mother form on my vinegar. She’s more like a young aunt really. I hope your vinegar turns out 🙂

  13. […] I was going to write about a ginger bug, but now I’m starting Rejuvelac, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinegar as well. Also, I’ve been reading so much online that when I went back to browse Fermentation […]

  14. Reblogged this on Becoming a Minimalist and commented:
    Just what I was looking for!

    1. Thank you so much for the reblog. I’m glad you found the post useful 🙂

  15. A great idea! I’m already saving whatever vegetable scraps I have left over from cooking in the freezer, and every now and then wehen my container is full I make a batch of vegetable broth. Citrus peels go in straight destined vinegar regularly for aromatizing our ‘cleaning vinegar’. Collecting apple scraps for making vinegar? Definitely happening here soon – I’m so curious. Do you think the vessel has to stand inside, in a warmish climate? I’m a bot worried about the whole kitchen smelling like vinegar all the time and I’m thinking about putting it on the balcony… Thanks for your advice! Cheers – Tobi

    1. Hi Tobi. I do the same thing with my vegetable scraps and have vinegar-orange peel cleaner brewing right now 🙂 I used my scrap vinegar to make that for the first time and am not sure how it will turn out. I’ll know in a few more days. The scrap vinegar should brew at room temperature. How cold is your balcony? I haven’t tried fermenting anything outside, and would hesitate to do so. (It’s a bit cool here right now, but may be warmer where you are…) I don’t think the smell is bad but I always have food fermenting so my kitchen may have some strong smells—all good food smells though (I think so anyway). I hope that helps.

      1. Hey Annemarie – right now, it’s Winter in Germany and my balcony is just above freezing temperature – so I think I’ll give the kitchen counter a go. Just this morning, I put my first apple scraps in the freezer and I’m excited to get started soon. I’m only wondering about what qualifies as “highly chlorinated water”. Where I live, the drinking water contains 122 mg/L Chlorides – it doesn’t smell the least bit of Chlorine though. What do you think? Thanks for sharing your experiences! Cheers – Tobi

      2. Oh well then I wouldn’t put it outside. The microbes won’t like the cold. You could store it out there when it’s done though, as long as it doesn’t freeze. The refrigerator is really just a fermentation-slowing-down machine.

        Gee, that’s a really good question. I would guess if it doesn’t smell, it should be okay. I look at this resource quite often and didn’t find much info, except how to get rid of the chlorine:

        I can find only info on the residual chlorine level here, which is 4 mg/L. Apparently that is considered safe but is not enforceable! It’s only a guideline the government sets. I’m learning all sorts of things today! Any chance you meant 1.22 mg/L?

  16. I’d love to make this because my eldest son eats plenty of apples and it would be good to use the cores before composting. But I am worried about fruit flies. We have enough in our house already and I can imagine that making our own vinegar would just attract them even more. Do you have any hints about getting rid of the fruit flies? We live in Sydney. It’s pretty warm here all year round.

    1. I haven’t had too much trouble with fruit flies but I do see some when I let my kombucha ferment too long. They also like my compost bucket. I’ve set up a trap in the past that worked really well. You pour a few tablespoons of vinegar in a dish (I used balsamic), cover it with a piece of tinfoil and poke holes in the tinfoil. The flies will fly in but can’t get out and drown. I’ll have to figure out how to do this zero-waste if I have a fruit fly problem again 😉 I hope you like the vinegar if you try it!

    2. I’ve just grown fond of the little buggers attracted to my scrap jars. I had a few in the house as late as February because of the vinegar, and I found myself charmed by their tenacity.

      1. Hahaha! I haven’t had much of a problem with them, but that is admirable, sort of the-little-bug-that-could-ish 🙂

  17. Will most definitely be trying this. BIG thank you.

    1. Thank you for reading, Aggie 🙂

  18. […] about it. No more endless bottles of shampoo and 100 different conditioners. I’m going to try making my own vinegar soon, so that should eliminate a bottle from the apple cider vinegar. It will be […]

  19. […] My personal favourite and so super super easy! There is a huge amount of recipes all around the web, and I mainly just made it up as I went along, but you can follow the steps from Zero Waste Chef in the recipe here. […]

  20. I want to find organic bulk white vinegar, but I really don’t think it exists. I figured if ANYONE knows about making your own white vinegar it’d be you.

    It seems you just make this. Do you know if it can be used pretty interchangeably (like, can I use it in laundry)? I love the idea of using scraps to make vinegar for the zero-waste aspect and because it’d be much much cheaper then the organic stuff in stores, but I’d love to know if this measures up to the white stuff.


    1. I have seen bulk cider vinegar in one store but not white vinegar. I haven’t made white vinegar, only scrap vinegar and vinegar from kombucha (you just let it ferment for weeks and weeks for VERY strong vinegar). I prefer to use the scrap vinegar for cleaning as it basically costs nothing, whereas I use very good tea for kombucha. I clean the toilet with my homemade vinegar, or combine it with baking soda to clean the tub and sink. I have also used it on my hair as a vinegar rinse. I haven’t used it in the laundry though. I’ll have to try that. How much white vinegar do you add to the laundry and what does it do? My outer cloth shower curtain has some mold on it and I have been wanting to add vinegar to the washing machine to try and get rid of it. I hope that works and that all of this helps.

  21. […] Save all the apple peels and cores in one big glass jars. Add a tablespoon of sugar, fill the jar with water and now have homemade scrap vinegar brewing away. You can find a detailed post on scrap vinegar here. […]

  22. […] QUI c’è una ricetta fantastica per autoprodursi l’aceto con torsoli e bucce di mela. […]

  23. […] dovrai ricorrere a uno sciacquo con aceto di mele. Tipo 1:10 in acqua, non a litrate! (sul sito di Zero Waste Chef c’è una ricetta per fare l’aceto di mele da bucce e torsoli, se ne mangiate molte vi consiglio […]

  24. […] yeah! Here’s the method I used. And here’s a link to a site I really like that has a bunch of home vinegar […]

  25. Sounds great! I am pretty new to homesteading and we just moved to Costa Rica for a while, so I am looking for all kinds of healthy, do-it-yourself and organic recipes.
    It’s very hot here, so I am wondering whether I have to store the vinegar in the fridge once it’s fermented and bottled?

    1. That might be a good precaution, Iris. I have a bottle of vinegar on my shelf right now that I made out of kombucha (I just let it ferment forever) and I open it every once in a while when I think of it (say, once a week or so) to let any built-up carbon dioxide escape. Sure enough, a little bit always does and I bottled the stuff months ago! So it’s still a little bit active.

  26. I’ve enjoyed your cooking & making foods yourself. Very conscious of using all things wisely. I would like to add that I have left open a carton or jug of orange juice for later use. By time I got back to it…a few days later, I had the most amazing orange juicevcider I’ve ever tasted. I can’t seem to reproduce this recipe. I wonder if I hv enough bacteria built up in a container with about 1 cup poured out? Perhaps I need to open the container wide to introduce more bacteria into the orange juice? If you have tried this I’d appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for that Betty Rose. I haven’t tried this myself but the next time you make it, I would save some of the finished fermented orange juice and pour it into the new batch. That will help kickstart the fermentation. But that doesn’t help you make the first batch. Sally Fallon has a recipe for orangina in Nourishing Traditions. Do you have good, cultured yogurt? Where I live, I buy Saint Benoit. It contains only milk and cultures. Strain some of that and use the whey. This is what Fallon puts in hers: juice of 12 oranges (not sure how much liquid that is, the book doesn’t say), 2 tsp salt, 1/4 whey, 1 1/4 quarts filtered water. Leave it covered on the counter for 2 days at room temperature before moving it to the refrigerator. I hope that does the trick 🙂

  27. Am excited to see how this turns out! I want to use vinegar in pepper jelly making. It calls for 7%. How do I determine that? Some says 5% in the stores.

    Also, can I use Apple pieces that have had lemon juice on them? I made apple rings and am dehydrating them and had little bits left.

    Also don’t want to waste the lemon juice….dressing and marinades😀

    1. Sorry to be so slow in my response! I am not sure how to determine the acidity. This isn’t super strong vinegar. It’s definitely vinegar though. If you figure out how to measure the acidity will you please let me know? For stronger vinegar, you can brew kombucha and just let it ferment for several weeks. I make that also.

      The apple peels with lemon on them should work just fine. The lemon also has good microbes all over it too 🙂

      Lemons are gold I think! Good for you to use them up!

      1. If the acidity is important then maybe you can do some science: do you know a chemistry teacher?!

      2. This is so awesome. Thank you!

  28. So excited to stumble across this post on how to make your own apple scrap vinegar. Like many of your other readers, I don’t peel my apples when making pie, crumble or smoothies but do accumulate a fair number of apple cores. Lovely to find a use for them before they end up in the worm farm. Thanks very much for the recipe!

    1. I’m glad you stumbled across it too, Anita. This is one of my favorite things to make. I feel so resourceful when I bottle it. I hope you and your worms both enjoy the end products 🙂

  29. Hello!
    I have my apple cores in the freezer. should I let them thaw before using them or can I put them in the water while they’re still frozen?
    And did I understand it correctly that usually it’s done after a. week or two? And then I have to burp it regularly? Can I just leave the bottle open a little instead? thanks!

    1. Hi Muriel, yes it will take a week or two. It depends on your kitchen. I usually let the cores thaw a bit but I don’t know if that actually matters. I doubt it. I haven’t tried leaving the bottle open but I like that idea. I would secure a little cloth over top. Some of the liquid might evaporate over time but I’m thinking that might make it more concentrated (and thus more awesome) 🙂 I should revise this post. After a while, I rarely burp mine. I guess when I use it, I’m inadvertently burping it.

  30. […] Picture and recipe […]

  31. I can use brown sugar?

    1. I haven’t tried that but I think it should work. The fruit peels and scraps contain sugar and you only add a little extra.

  32. […] Make Vinegar – […]

  33. Thanks for the recipe! I made this scrap vinegar, and after two weeks of daily stirring, I took out the fruit and left the vinegar on my counter. I went out of town for a week, and came back to a vinegar with a bit of white I-don’t-know-what floating at the surface. Is it mold? Is my scrap vinegar scrapped? Thanks for your help and input!

    1. It might be a bit of mold. You can try scooping it off. Straining it is probably easier though. That happens to me sometimes. If it is blue or green or grey, I wouldn’t use it though. I have read that whitish mold is okay if you scoop it off.

  34. […] are many other ways to use up leftovers, and at the moment I am working on making Apple Scrap Vinegar that I found through Zero Waste Chef! I think I will have to do another post on the topic of food […]

  35. […] as white, but it takes longer for the smell to go away.) You can even make your own vinegar using apple scraps or […]

  36. Is this okay to use in sub of white vinegar for cleaning products like for floors or counter tops? Since it has sugar in it I’m not sure if that will attract bugs or make it sticky…

    1. Oooh, that’s a good question, Christy. By the time it’s has turned into vinegar, it will have little to no sugar left in it. It should be okay. I imagine you dilute the white vinegar to clean, and I would do that with this. It’s not as strong as white vinegar, so you’ll have to play around with the ratio. I love using it with baking soda to clean sinks and straight to clean the toilet. ~ Anne Marie

  37. I remember making the scrap vinegar with pineapple, but can I use other fruits too like melon and banana?

    1. Hmmm, I think so. My friend Annie makes scrap vinegar out of all sorts of stuff: and I remember reading about her making it out of potatoes for cleaning. I can’t find that post though…

  38. […] bad about wasting all the peels and cores. Fortunately, I found inspiration from the amazing zero waste chef, whose blog explains how to make apple scrap […]

  39. […] Make Apple Cider vinegar our leftover apple pie scraps. […]

  40. Hey! I am making a few at the moment: one is mango and the other is citrus. My citrus ones have got white mould on the top eeeeek. Should I throw the lot or scrape off the mould and keep fermenting and then just use it for cleaning and what not…..

    Andy advice 🙂

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi there. Sorry, you have probably decided what to do long before now. I think that’s a good idea to use your vinegar for cleaning. I would also try to scrape off the mold and hopefully you can get most of it so it doesn’t keep growing in there.

  41. Hi! Thanks for the recipe, I’m just starting a waste reducing journey, and I’m excited to try making vinegar! Does tap water work ok?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thanks for checking out the post 🙂 I was SO excited when I found out how to make this. Tap water will probably be fine. If you have a lot of chlorine, that could kill the microbes. If you can smell the chlorine in your tap water, pour some into a vessel and let it sit open to the air for a day. The chlorine will dissipate. I have never had a problem with though–I’ve only read about it. Enjoy your waste reducing journey. ~ Anne Marie

  42. […] great post by zero waste chef on how to make your own vinegar.   I love the […]

  43. Wow–what a wonderful idea to make your own vinegar! I go through a lot of vinegar for my hair, and it would be so much cheaper to just make my own–not to mention less food waste, since I eat plenty of apples. Next time I have apples, I’m going to start saving the cores in the freezer! Oh… and the fruit left over from my husband’s mead, if possible. Awesome!

  44. […] will want to ferment everything! As I mentioned before, I make a scrap vinegar as inspired by the Zerowaste Chef. I also make Sauerkraut, fermented chilli for hot sauce, yogurt and sourdough. Fermented foods are […]

  45. Hi! I have some apple scrap vinegar that I have had out covered on the kitchen counter to sour for about two months. I’m about to bottle it. It has a little bit of mother on the top plus some sediment on the bottom. I just wondered how to use this mother? Can I strain the vinegar through cloth into a clean bottle and then use the sediment/mother collected there to kickstart a new bottle? I’m not brace enough to taste my vinegar yet but plan to use it for cleaning! First time home fermenting here in my Scottish home! I bake my own bread a lot so I think the yeast in the atmosphere is higher which would help the fermentation! Any help gladly received!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      You can use the mother in your next batch! That’s awesome yours formed a mother. If you aren’t going to make vinegar right away, I would keep the mother in a small container with a bit of vinegar to float around in. As for the sediment, yes, I would strain the vinegar into a clean bottle. Congratulations on your successful first fermentation 🙂 I bet you’re right about the yeast in your kitchen. I have that same theory about my kitchen.

  46. […] lots of tips. Washed peelings can be saved up to make stock, and fruit scraps can be used to make scrap vinegar or […]

  47. […] lots of tips. Washed peelings can be saved up to make stock, and fruit scraps can be used to make scrap vinegar or […]

  48. Can i use full apples?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Oh sure! Whole apples are fine. Just slice them up and toss them in.

  49. Frank Duvenhage says: Reply

    Hi ZWC! Started a batch of your apple scrap vinegar three weeks ago, was out of town for 4 days. Mold started ontop. Can i save it or start over?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Frank,
      Oh no! It’s been a while since you commented so you may have tossed it already (sorry I’m slow sometimes at responding…). It may be kahm yeast, which is harmless. You can scrape it off and the vinegar will be okay. Then again it might be mold. If it’s mold, it will look like mold–black or green or white and maybe furry. I’d say if in doubt, start over. You will have only wasted a bit of fruit and water.
      ~ Anne Marie

  50. I’m definitely trying this tonight! Do you have a recipe for your apple crumble by any chance? Might as well put those apples to good use. 🙂

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Isabelle,
      I use a Martha Stewart recipe for peach crumble and just substitute apples for it. This isn’t exactly the recipe but it’s very close: I don’t add water and I use butter not oil. Also, I don’t add extra sugar to the fruit.
      ~ Anne Marie

  51. […] Make Apple Cider vinegar our leftover apple pie scraps. […]

  52. I’d love to use this to replace the vinegar I use for cleaning! I can’t seem to find vinegar in bulk that isn’t top dollar. But I don’t use a lot of cleaning solution anyway so my fear is that it might go off. How would I be able to tell? And does it matter if it has expired because I won’t be eating it?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Flora, I have kept mine for at least a year and it doesn’t go bad. I have even found baby scobys it it to make more vinegar! You can also use kombucha vinegar to clean. You brew kombucha to the point of vinegar. I use both for cleaning and sometimes put a bit in the washing machine with my laundry too. ~ Anne Marie

  53. […] learned we should never throw fruit scraps out with the plethora of uses there are for them! Here is a recipe for apple scrap vinegar (also works well with pineapple).Use cherry pits to make a […]

  54. Kristina Martens says: Reply

    I forgot to stir! Its been sitting for a few days. Also have only the cores of six apples no peeling and used much less water. Should I pitch and start over? Thanks. For the help and awesome inspiration!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Kristina, If it doesn’t have any mold on it, I would start stirring it now. It should be fine. Stirring helps prevent mold. ~ Anne Marie

  55. Hi Anne Marie, first of all: Thank you so much for this inspiring blog! I guess everyone on their journey towards zero waste sooner or later hits your site and is amazed by all the thought and trials you save them from having to go through. That’s at least my case…
    Wanting to start making vinegar soon I have one question: Can I use previously frozen fruit for this? Or does freezing kill all the microbes? I eat one or two apples a day and would like to collect the stems in the freezer to have a big batch of them to start the vinegar with.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Mara, Thanks for the kind words 🙂 Absolutely you can freeze the peels and cores until you have a pile big enough to make the vinegar. I do this often. Only when I make a pie or crumble do I have enough for a batch. Heat will kill the microbes but cold doesn’t. I think they take a little nap 😉 ~ Anne Marie

      1. Great, thanks for the quick answer. And even what I wanted to hear… 🙂 Vinegar, here I come!

      2. The Zero-Waste Chef says:

        My pleasure. Enjoy!

  56. Hi Anne Marie! Do you know if I can dechlorinate water by boiling it?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Ada, just pour water in a vessel and leave it open to the air for a day. The chlorine will dissipate. If you have a lot of chlorine in your water, you will be able to smell it. If you don’t smell any, you should be okay. ~ Anne Marie

  57. Thank, Anne Marie, for your detailed directions on all things fermentation, including apple-scrap vinegar. I’m in day 8 of making my first batch, so we’ll see how it goes. I added some kiwi scraps to the batch. After reading your blog, I’m reassured that I’m ‘doing it right.’

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      My pleasure, Janice. Enjoy your vinegar 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  58. Thanks for posting this! Do I need to refrigerate after bottling the vinegar?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Leah, you don’t need to refrigerate it. I keep mine at room temperature. I have had some bottles for well over a year. The only thing that may happen is a vinegar mother (a scoby) might grow in the vinegar. You can add this to the next batch. ~ Anne Marie

  59. Carolina Villareal de Hurtado says: Reply

    do you make new apple cider vinegar from leftover scraps?

  60. Hi! That looks great! On instagram I read that you also tried to use mango scraps. Did it work? How many mangoes did you use? Thanks!

  61. […] reference, I do already have some red wine vinegar and apple vinegar – I recently made a roasted garlic vinaigrette (the most expensive ingredient being the red […]

  62. Does this work with any fruit? If I eat mostly berries and sometimes bananas, those wouldn’t work well, would they? Lol.

  63. Thank you for this recipe! I’m trying it out with windfall apples from my tree. I peeled them and used a few of the less-dodgy-looking fruits too. Is there any reason why next year I shouldn’t just stick the whole lot in? Do I need to separate the peel and the fruit?

  64. This is probably a dumb question but do you ever worry about consuming bad bacteria and getting sick from home fermenting? I have not tried fermenting anything yet because of this fear I have. Obviously it’s safe because you and many others do this all the time. Just hoping you could explain my fears away. Thank you so much. You inspire me daily to do better.

  65. Hi there,

    Is there anything you can replace the sugar with? Could i just start off with a bit of ACV and get the same result? We don’t keep sugar in the house and I would hate to get some just for this!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Kelsey,
      If you use lots of apple scraps, you may be able to skip the sugar as the peels and cores contain quite a bit. You could try to add a bit of ACV as long as it has the live mother in it.
      Good luck!
      Anne Marie

  66. Hey Anne!

    Once my vinegar is done, I’m a little worried about having to burp it constantly just to be safe, if i refrigerate it… is that a safe way of ensuring no explosions, no pressure building etc?

    Thank you kindly!


  67. ***Apologies Anne-Marie I got your name wrong !

  68. Hi Anne-Marie,
    I’ve just filtered my scrap vinegar. It does smell vinegary, but it’s very gloopy – do you think it’s still OK?

  69. […] verre et les couvrir de bourbon pour un alcool aromatisé. Ou sinon, le classique des classiques : le vinaigre de cidre. C’est certainement la variété de vinaigre que j’utilise le plus, une petite […]

  70. I read that homemade vinegar shouldn’t be used in pickling. The acid level may not be right.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Jen, I’ve read that too. I don’t use this for pickling. ~ Anne Marie

  71. Hi Anne Marie,
    Can I wash the apples before peeling, or does this wash away the microbes? Is just a rinse better?

  72. Hello
    I am.not sure about what I am.doing. I started Apple vinegar 2weeks ago, after one week it started to have an alcoholic smell. Now week 2 is ending and the smell is softer / and a bit strange. Do I let fermentation going to far? Thank you! 🙂

  73. Dear Ann Marie,

    I do quite a lot of fermenting and sourdough baking, but I do have a question. I went on a six-week trip recently and left my sourdough starters in the fridge, my scobies in a hotel, and a 3 l jar of fruit scrap vinegar (with the scraps in – it all got a bit hectic before leaving and I didn’t have time to drain it) covered with a piece of fabric. All is well and good with the starters and scobies, but…the vinegar has a rather otherworldly looking cover of velvety, brownish-grey bubbles. It smells like vinegar, but also like sourdough starter that has been left on its own for a while. It doesn’t seem to be mold – no hairiness, no bright colors, no black. My questions are: Is this normal? Is it ok to strain and use? Dare I cook with it? Perhaps better to use it for cleaning?

    If you could opine, I’d be much obliged. Thanks for your unending inspiration!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Jennifer, I’ve never left my scraps to brew for that long. “Velvety” doesn’t sound right when describing scrap vinegar. I would strain and use it at least for cleaning. It sounds like it’s yeasty and vinegary, so those are good signs. I would have to see it to give you a proper diagnosis 😉
      ~ Anne Marie

      1. Thank you, Anne Marie, for the reply. You are a champ! I’d love to pop over with my vinegar, but, alas, I live in Poland. Cleaning product it is, although I might take a tiny taste.

  74. Is regular ACV different then scrap vinegar? My scrap vinegar kinda smells yeasty… not so desirable. Will it evolve into something that smells more like regular ACV? It has been a couple months, just sitting on my counter. Thanks! So grateful for your posts.

  75. Adriana Gutierrez says: Reply

    FYI – most water treatment plants use chloramines, which cannot be removed by agitation or evaporation. Best to use sprimg water or well water.

  76. […] so next I want to take on making my own apple cider vinegar (ACV).  The Zero Waste Chef’s Apple Scrap Vinegar recipe did a really good job of explaining the whole process. The same method can be used to make […]

  77. I started this a few weeks ago. Something that could be yeast appears to have formed. They’re small granules, definitely not mold. Is that bad? Does that mean it’s gone past the fermentation stage?

  78. Once you make the vinegar, do you have to store it in the fridge?

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Lady Jane,
      You coulc but you don’t need to. I always keep it at room temperature in a cupboard.
      ~ Anne Marie

  79. Can I use only apple cores since I eat apples regularly for lunch and don’t ever bake apple pies? Thanks!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      He Lexie,
      Sure, that will work. And you can freeze them until you have enough to make the vinegar. Then just thaw them at room temperature and start the vinegar.
      ~ Anne Marie

      1. Oh this is really useful to know! I was about to ask the same question re the lack of peels. I’ve been making apple cider vinegar infused with rosemary and use it for everything…but now I can take it back one more level and make the apple cider vinegar! Thank you for this post!

  80. Hi! My jar has been brewing (is that the right word?!?) For about 3 weeks and there are still lots of bubbles. Should I go ahead and strain it? Or just let it keep going? Did I use too little water or something?

  81. […] can easily be zero waste and reduce food scraps if you make your own. Learn how with the Zero Waste Chef blog. ACV is an acetic acid that contains lactic, citric, and malic acids. These properties work […]

  82. […] aí que lembrei de uma receita de vinagre de maçã do blog Zero Waste Chef, da Anne Marie (aqui). Eu fiz faz alguns meses já, mas tinha esquecido dentro de um potinho na geladeira (não me […]

  83. […] could take full credit for this amazing waste-reducing recipe, but I can’t. I found it on the Zero Waste Chef around a year ago, only two months after I’d thrown out industrial quantities of apple peels […]

  84. […] premissas dela são #1 sem embalagem, #2 nada processado e #3 sem lixo. Você encontra receita de vinagre de maçã, comidas mais “normais”, compotas, ginger ale (uma bebida de gengibre fermentada), sour […]

  85. Morgan Begeman says: Reply

    I followed your recipe and started my apple scrap vinegar. After its strained and bottled when will it grow a vinegar SCOBY? I saw your instagram story recently and you had the cutest little discs growing in your vinegar.

    1. Hi Morgan,
      It sometimes happens quickly, within a few weeks, and sometimes takes many months. But it happens to my scrap vinegar almost every time. I hope you get some babies!
      ~ Anne Marie

  86. Laurissa Winner Ohl says: Reply

    I have a bunch of unripe pink lady apple that fell from my tree. Would these be good to use for the apple cider vinegar? Any other suggestions for a use for them?

    1. Hi Laurissa,
      Yes, I think so. I would add extra sugar if they are super tart. And cram in lots of apple in each jar.
      ~ Anne Marie

  87. Hi! I like ACV bc of its health benefits, and I purchase it with the mother, is this similar? Or what’s the differences between Apple scrap vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Also does this have the mother? And can I put a scoby in this to ferment faster?

  88. Hi! Is it important that the apples are cleansed in some special way before? Like do you scrub them?
    Thanks for the instructions!

  89. […] like this recipe that uses apple peels and cores—a great use for what’s left when you make a big batch of […]

  90. […] If you want to get some more goodness from the apple peels and cores, you can make Anne-Marie Bonneau’s apple scrap vinegar. […]

  91. Hi, Thanks for your wonderful recipes. i love your page!Just wondering if it’s possible to make this scrap vinegar from frozen apple peels? I’ve got a great haul from my tree but need to purchase a Kilner big enough to house the brew 🙂

    1. Hi Aline,
      Thank you! Absolutely you can freeze them. I do that often and it works well.
      Anne Marie

  92. I was wondering if I can substitute honey or maple syrup for the sugar?

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I haven’t tried that but I think it will work. If you add a bit of raw honey, the vinegar will get some more wild yeast in it. If you try honey or maple syrup, will you please let me know how it goes?
      Thank you,
      Anne Marie

  93. My first try is smelling like cyanide. I probably have some broken apple seeds in my vinegar, oops. So I will not consume this batch, but use it for my hair.
    Will try again though! I like such processes.

  94. On day 3 of piña scrap vinegar! Smells alcoholic and first day of bubbles 🙂

  95. Hi! Should I put some weight on top of the scraps so they stay submerged or they need to be floating in order to produce the vinegar? I’m confused. I started one batch yesterday with weight on top. Should I let them float? Thanks for your help and sharing your knowledge.

  96. You mention using apple or pineapple scraps to make this vinegar, do you think orange peel scraps would work too?

    1. Hi Fiona,
      I have only tried it once with lemon rinds that I had juiced. I think the juicy bits helped. I’m not sure if just dry peels would work (I haven’t tried it so I don’t know). I also added extra sugar when I did this to make up for the lack of sugar in the lemons. It did make vinegar. It wasn’t as strong as the apple vinegar. I’ve had preserved lemons poking through the liquid get a little mold on them so make sure to stir it often and submerge the peels in the water.
      ~ Anne Marie

  97. Amritha Sengottuvel says: Reply

    Hi, my store bought apple cider vinegar with mother has developed a scoby like thing after a couple of months, now I’m excited to make something with it 😁 What can I do with it?? Is this the same as the scoby used in making kombucha?

    1. I was just wondering the same thing (with the apple skins I’m fermenting) but I don’t know – did you ever find out?

    2. Actually – I saw further down in this thread that a scoby may form and can be used for kombucha. Bonus!

  98. […] con questa ricetta che ho scovato sul blog di Zero-Waste Chef si ottiene un aceto delicato, floreale e fruttato dalla bassa acidità a costo zero, come fringe […]

  99. […] can make your own homemade apple cider vinegar from the peels and cores of apples. Save them up in the freezer and then boil up and strain. As a […]

  100. […] can make your own homemade apple cider vinegar from the peels and cores of apples. Save them up in the freezer and then boil up and strain. As a […]

  101. […] can make your own homemade apple cider vinegar from the peels and cores of apples. Save them up in the freezer and then boil up and strain. As a […]

  102. I came back to here specifically to find this again due to the Coronavirus, and I’m so grateful you have archives of wonderful advice. This will help me make the most of things as I pickle many foods and do not want to go out again to get more vinegar!

  103. […] Apple scraps: You can turn apple scraps into vinegar. Bonneau explains how to do this here. […]

  104. […] Apple scraps: You can turn apple scraps into vinegar. Bonneau explains how to do this here. […]

  105. […] Apple scraps: You can turn apple scraps into vinegar. Bonneau explains how to do this here. […]

  106. I used your recipe to make tons of apple cider vinegar throughout winter apple season and have used it for cleaning the floor, but I haven’t been brave enough to consume it!? Is it possible for the vinegar made to not be pure vinegar and make us sick?

  107. Miriam Kearney says: Reply

    I have a similar question about the vinegar with scoby – could I just take the scoby out of the bottle and mix it with this recipe? Would it help, speed things up, create more beneficial bacteria? Just wondnering. Thanks for the recipe and your newsletter. Stay well.

  108. […] e de quebra reaproveitar os restos das maçãs (que adoro), aprendi a receita abaixo no blog Zero Waste Chef, da maravilhosa Anne Marie Bonneau, que vive em São Francisco, CA, EUA. Como ela mora em casa e […]

  109. […] learned we should never throw fruit scraps out with the plethora of uses there are for them! Here is a recipe for apple scrap vinegar (also works well with pineapple).Use cherry pits to make a […]

  110. […] bottle either in my bag or in my desk drawer. It is just home-made apple scrap cider vinegar as per Zero Waste Chef’s instructions on her blog. I also use this spray as a face spritz for when I am flushed in the face. I find the vinegar is […]

  111. Debra Kammueller says: Reply

    Is the live mother in this apple scrap vineger?

    1. Hi Debra,
      It usually forms in there. Often, a scoby will also form in there (which gives me a little thrill). I’ve used those to make kombucha.
      ~ Anne Marie

  112. […] If you’d like a way to reuse all of those apple peelings you are left with, you can also try out The Zero Waste Chef‘s recipe for Apple Scrap Vinegar. […]

  113. I’m assuming we don’t need to worry about the seeds at all in the cores? I ask because I’m curious if the cyanide is an issue to think about.

    1. Hi Rachael,
      When I see seeds poking out of the core or broken seeds, I remove them just in case. I will update my post and mention that. Thanks for bringing it up.
      ~ Anne-Marie

  114. Susan Fisher Anderson says: Reply

    I fermented mine two weeks, then strained & continued another month. Now it tasted really sweet though I’m sure it’s acidic. Should I continue fermenting or am I done? Both jars have a scoby, & bubble a little.

    1. Hi Susan,
      I would let it sit in an open jar with a cloth securely fastened to the top if it’s still bubbling. It will lose the sweetness eventually. You could put it in a warmer spot to speed things up. I love it when I get those bonus SCOBYs 🙂
      ~ Anne-Marie

  115. Is there a reason for making the recipe with 6 apples? Could you cut it in half and have it still work?

    1. Hi Helena,
      You can scale this recipe up or down. The basic formula is to put a bunch of peels and cores in a jar, add a bit of sugar and then just cover with water. It will still work, whether you make a big batch or a small one.

  116. Anne – Marie Thanks! I am also using the baking powder as shampoo and apple cider vinegar as conditioner, and was very happy to see that you were successful in using this vinegar for that purpose as well.

  117. Krista L Cameron says: Reply

    I strained my bubbly apple cores/peels after two weeks and it stopped bubbling so i jarred it and it still smells/tastes like apple cider after 4 weeks. Should i let sit longer with the cloth cover as suggested above or is it a lost cause? Thanks!

    1. Hi Krista,
      So it tastes a bit sweet, not alcoholic? I don’t think it’s at all a lost cause. I would try putting the cloth back on and letting it sit for a while. I’d probably add a spoonful of sugar also so the bacteria and yeasts have more food. I hope that helps!
      ~ Anne-Marie

  118. Should I or should I not mix different scraps?

    1. Hi Ronan,
      I have mixed apple and pear scraps and it works well.
      ~ Anne-Marie

  119. In lieu of leaving the tap water out to dispel the chlorine, can I instead heat it in an electric teapot to speed up the process?

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