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From humble apple core and peels….

Posted by: Tammy

When you peel and apple, cut it up and then throw away the peel and core, you’re throwing away at least three creations!  Don’t do it!  At the very minimum, consider composting them for future soil enrichment.  Find a corner of your property to throw it and other non-meat scraps so that worms and fungus will break it down into wonderful dark organic enrichment for your soil.

BUT if you really want to stretch that core and peel, then consider apple jelly and apple cider vinegar!

Even if you only eat a few apples a week, you can try these great tasting and frugal culinary delights.  Simply save your cores and peels in a single container in the freezer.  I had a small bag of cores and peels in the freezer and just finished peels and coring some more apples for an apple streusel and decided that I would make a batch of apple juice.  All I’ve done is put all of the peels and cores into a large soup pot with water to cover them.  Set it to gently simmer so that the cores and peels breakdown and you can extract all the goodness from them.  I then strain all of the cores, peels and juice through layered cheesecloth.  The peels and cores have given up all their goodness by then, so once I’ve strained them off, the remnants go into my compost pile. I’ll wash out the layered cheesecloth and look at the juice and decide if I want to filter it again.  Many times there is still a fair amount of sediment that I don’t want clouding my finished apple jelly.

To make apple jelly:

Simple buy a package of pectin from the grocer (Ball and Kerr both make pectin).  Follow the directions for apple jelly, using your filtered apple juice from your peels and cores as the liquid to make the jelly.  Follow the directions to seal the jars.  You just stretched your apple to their absolute limit!

To make apple cider vinegar:

You can read up here at the Vinegar Man.

One of my homesteading books says to do the following:

Using a very clean glass jar (like a canning jar), crock, wooden or stainless steel container.  NEVER use aluminum or chipped enamel containers to ferment in.  Fill your container with the apple juice, leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 of the container empty for further additions of any other apple juice over the next few weeks or so and for bubbling fermentation.  Cover the container with a clean cloth and tie it firmly to keep bugs and such out.  Wash and replace the cloth once a week.  Your container will be sitting for a while, you must keep it clean.  Place it in a warm place.  80 degrees Fahrenheit is good but cooler is okay, it will just take longer to work.

During the first stage of vinegar making, fermentation will make it bubbles.  If it doesn’t bubble or you want to speed up the process, add 1 tsp of yeast to the jar to get it going.  While it’s bubbling, it’s working.  When it’s done bubbling, it’s ready for the second step.

Stage 2 means that the alcohol produced during the first stage will now be converted to acid.  When the bubbling is done, siphon, dip or strain the liquid from your container to a dark colored glass, enamel, wood, stainless steel or potter container LEAVING BEHIND THE SEDIMENT.  A wide-topped container is good because the bacteria need oxygen to work.  Fill the container no more than 3/4 full.  Use a cloth cover like before and this time put in in a warm but more dark area.  Sunlight will hold back the reaction.

Hopefully, good acetic acid making bacteria will take hold and convert your alcohol to vinegar.  Watch your container to make sure it doesn’t get smelly and disgusting in which case, bad bacteria or mold has taken hold and you’ll  have to throw away your experiment.  BUT if there is good bacteria, you’ll start to see a gray film floating on top.  This is ‘mother’ and you want this!  Don’t disturb it!  The bacteria you want are living in there and it can be the quick start to further vinegar efforts!  The mother generally stays on top to work and when it’s done, will settle to the bottom.

This second stage can take anywhere from a few weeks to as long as six months.  Hopefully, you’ll get a nice mother as well as a nice vinegar from your efforts.  Save your mother by straining it off and putting it in a clean jar with a NON -METAL cover and covering it with a bit of vinegar.  You can add a piece of the mother into a new batch at the beginning of the second stage to insure good vinegar next time as well.

I’ve put up a fair amount of apple jelly already this year.  I’ve decided to try my hand at making cider vinegar.  I have made red wine vinegar in the past and got some great mother but was not vinegar-wise so to speak and didn’t take off my mother.  My vinegar got too sour so I threw the entire thing away.  Now I’m wishing for the mother but I suspect that if I caught good bacteria before that they’re probably still hanging around the kitchen.  I’ll have to update you guys in the future to let you know how my cider vinegar turned out.

By the way, you can accomplish the same things with all sorts of fruits like pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, grape hulls and whole cherries.  All of these can create the juice for jellies and vinegars.  It’s a wonderful way to stretch what you have and to use up every last bit of goodness your harvests can give you.


2 Responses to “From humble apple core and peels….”

  1. KarenLynn@Lil'SuburbanHomestead Says:

    Great ideas! I am making apple peel and core jelly tonight 🙂

  2. Tammy Says:

    Thanks for the tip, Jennifer! I took that from one of my homesteading books and understood about the aluminum pans but maybe the SS works the same way. I now have 1/2 gal. canning jars which would be perfect for the fermenting process. I haven’t tried making the apple cider vinegar in a bit but I should try again. Have you been successful in getting the peels and cores to the vinegar stage?

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