Are You Tarting It Up?

Fermentation mania continues ....

Last fall I started juicing with celery , parsley and apples to help cut down on the inflammation that was happening in my body. The tell tale signs that occur - stiff joints, soreness, rosacea and indigestion due to eating gluten.
Love the celery juice, but sometimes the end result when you get the vegetables and fruits by the crateful is that there are just so many apple scraps!!!!

I don't peel the apples when I juice, I just have a ton of apple cores left. And then there are some days where I just try something different and use carrots instead of apples to switch up the flavor.
One day I was staring at the mountain of apples and apple scraps and thought hmmm what to do? I'm inundated with more apples than a sane person can consume. Voila! Why not tart it up vinegar style??? So as not to waste any of the apples and apple scraps, I decided to make apple cider vinegar with them.  After all there's only so much juice and apple sauce one can make with it.

Why Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
ACV has many fabulous uses and health benefits. It is made through the process of fermentation with lacto bacteria and acetic acid. It is high in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. And it comes in handy with topical applications, internal applications, culinary applications as well as herbal making applications.

Topical application
It is wonderful for the skin as it helps balance and restore the skin's pH. It also helps kill bacteria and fungus on the skin which can help resolve skin problems such as eczema, dandruff, and other skin conditions.

I make my own skin toner and add ACV to my witch hazel, aloe vera and blend of herbal infusions and essential oils. It helps calm my skin down especially on flare up days with my rosacea. 

Not to mention being extremely useful where it has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.

Due to its great pH balancing benefits and dandruff preventing abilities, it makes a great hair rinse that replaces your regular conditioner and can be used after a shampoo rinse or an oil rinse (for those of you going shampoo free). And you can add more drops of essential oil to cut down on the vinegar after smell for those of you who don't want to smell like a salad dressing. :)

Wound Cleaning and Internal Remedies
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago. While not necessarily apple cider vinegar, the use of vinegar has been documented as a treatment method especially when made as an oxymel (i.e. honey and vinegar blended together with herbs to infuse). See some of the references below:

Hippocrates, "On Fractures", Part 11: "But if there be no fever, we must give emetics, as has been said, and administer the other remedies which are applicable when the fever is not of a continual type; but if continual fever be present, we must not give strong medicines, but enjoin abstinence from solid food and soups, and give water for drink, and not allow wine but oxyglyky (a composition from vinegar and honey?)." (

Hippocrates, "On Injuries of the Head", Part 14: "And in making the incision you must separate the flesh from the bone where it is united to the membrane and to the bone, and then fill the whole wound with a tent, which will expand the wound very wide next day with as little pain as possible; and along with the tents apply a cataplasm, consisting of a mass (maza) of fine flour pounded in vinegar, or boiled so as to render it as glutinous as possible. (

Hippocrates, "On the Regimen of Acute Disease", Part 7: "And further, barley or tares may be infused and boiled in diluted vinegar, stronger than that it could be drunk, and may then be sewed into bladders and applied; and one may bran in like manner."

---- Part 16: "But if it appears advantageous to use a great deal of this drink during the whole course of the disease, one should add to it merely as much vinegar as can just be perceived by the taste, for thus what is prejudicial in it will do the least possible harm, and what is beneficial will do the more good. In a word, the acidity of vinegar agrees rather with those who are troubled with bitter bile, than with those patients whose bile is black; for the bitter principle is dissolved in it and turned to phlegm, by being suspended in it; whereas black bile is fermented, swells up, and is multiplied thereby: for vinegar is a melanogogue. Vinegar is more prejudicial to women than to men, for it creates pains in the uterus."

---- Appendix, Part 20: "If he labors under difficulty of breathing, if it is the summer season, and if he is in the prime of life, and is strong, blood should be abstracted from the arm, and then he should eat hot pieces of bread, dipped in dark wine and oil, drink very little, and labor much, and live on well-fed pork, boiled with vinegar, so that he may be able to endure hard exercises." (

Hippocrates, "On Ulcers", Part 4: "When the ulcer is clean, but both it and the surrounding parts are inflamed, lentil is to be boiled in wine and finely triturated, and, being mixed with a little oil, it is to be applied as a cataplasm; and the leaves of the hip-tree are to be boiled in water and pounded in a fine powder and made into a cataplasm; and apply below a thin, clean piece of cloth wetted in wine and oil; and when you wish to produce contraction, prepare the leaves of the hip-tree like the lentil, and the cress; wine and finely-powdered linseed are to be mixed together. And this is proper: linseed, and raw chaste-tree, and Melian alum, all these things being macerated in vinegar."

Culinary Preservation and more
Vinegar has also been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in food and spoiling it. You can choose to preserve and pickle vegetables with apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. I pickle my vegetables with a blend of apple cider vinegar, palm sugar and spices which gives it a very different deep molasses sort of a flavor. 

Of course, you can use ACV as a tea with honey and cayenne pepper in the morning to put a pep in your step. And adding apple cider vinegar in the ubiquitous vinaigrette as a salad dressing as well also works wonders. Also, if at any point in time , you've had too much greasy food for a meal, just taking a tablespoon of ACV with warm water helps cut down the nausea and indigestion.

Alright, let's talk about shrubs. Have you tried shrubs? And no I don't mean the woody plant like hedge that's by the side of the road. Well, ok, I have no issues if you want to chew on shrubbery , absolutely no judgement calls there ... just maybe think about pairing it with the drink version and then come tell me which is better?

Shrubs are drinking vinegars that can be used to make beverages. If you've never had a shrub before, it's a fabulous refreshing tart drink to have, especially in the summer. It's usually a combination of infused vinegar (usually fruit), and syrup that's added in a glass with soda/seltzer water. And for a alcoholic version, folks add vodka. Here's where the herbal infusions come in when using ACV.

Some shrub combination suggestions - You could make blackberry vinegar shrub cocktail, or lychee vinegar shrub cocktail with ginger and basil syrup. All fabulous to try !!

Herbal Remedies and Infusions
ACV has been used to make herbal infused tonics in the herbal world. The particular herbal remedy I make is an oxymel which really is just a blend of vinegar with honey. The word Oxymel comes from the Latin oxymeli meaning “acid and honey”.

Traditionally, an oxymel recipe would be used by the herbalist to administer herbs that might not be so tasty to take on their own. Such as use of bitter herbs like burdock root or dandelion leaves or blends of garlic, onion and herbal remedies which are a tad bit too potent to take. Today, oxymels can also be administered if alcoholic tinctures or glycerin tinctures are not desirable or tolerated by some individuals.

I personally use ACV to infuse and extract medicinal properties from berries and herbs. E.g. Hawthorn berries, motherwort, rosehips and raspberry leaves infused in ACV  and honey makes a great base to help ease PMS symptoms and help tonify the uterus.

And if you've ever come across recipes for fire cider to help during the cold and flu season, and have made it, then you've technically made a version of an oxymel! And you have just used ACV to infuse and extract all the lovely medicinal properties of the ingredients like onion, garlic, horseradish and chili pepper.

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Clean glass jar – I used a gallon jar
Organic apple scraps – enough to fill your jar ¾ of the way full
Unpasteurized, unheated, unfiltered honey
Filtered water
Pickle weight or small glass jar
Cheesecloth or coffee filter


organic apples (blend of sweet, tart, bitter apples) chopped to 1/2 - 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/2 gallon filtered water


1. Clean a gallon jar very well and let air dry.
2. Fill the jar ¾ full with apple pieces. Including core and seeds.
3. Dissolve honey into water.
4. Pour honey water over the apples until they are completely submerged. Add a little additional water if needed to make sure the apples are covered.
5. Weigh down the apples with a pickle weight or with another small glass jar. Any apples that are exposed to the air could mold.
6. Cover with cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with the rubber band. Store in a place convenient in kitchen that you can remember to stir every few days.
7. Leave it for approximately 3 weeks. Check on it every few days to make sure the apples are staying under the water and to make sure no mold is growing.
8. After 3 - 4 weeks, it will smell fairly alcoholic. Strain the apples pieces out and return the liquid to the jar. Compost the scraps.
9. Cover and put the jar in a dark spot for another 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days. Taste at the end of 3 weeks
10. When the ACV has reached the tartness (sourness) you like you can transfer it to smaller jars with lids and start using it!

This recipe is for a gallon size jar of apple cider vinegar. If you are making a smaller jar like a quart jar,  just make sure your apple & scraps fill the jar ¾ of the way and are covered with honey water made with about 1/4 cup honey.

When the ACV is finished you can save "the mother" that has floated to the top (aka the scoby like when you make kombucha) or just a small quantity of the finished ACV to start a new batch that will ferment more quickly. 


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