Apples have a long history in Ireland and pips have even been found in County Meath dating back 5,000 years. They have multiple uses and are typically grouped into dessert or eating apples which can be picked and enjoyed straight off the tree, culinary apples used for cooking and cider apples for cidermaking (surprise, surprise). The apple tree itself made its way into ancient Irish law as one of the 'seven nobles of the woods' meaning it was a protected tree alongside the likes of the Ash, Oak and Holly. The fine for cutting one down? 5 milk cows - a real hefty fine in those days. The older heritage apple varieties though, are rarer nowadays but a few enthusiasts have been working hard to keep them from extinction.
Sustainable cooking - Learn simple ways to cook sustainably at home by reducing waste.
Vinegars - Discover this simple method of making vinegar, that is incredibly versatile and help remove waste from your kitchen.
Scoby - Learn about scoby and how it can be made into Kombucha.
1x peeler, 1x bowl, 1x large chopping board, 1x wooden spoon, 1x Kilner jar & lid, 1x sieve
If using tap water instead of bottled for this recipe, pour the water into a container and leave for 24 hours - this will allow any chlorine to escape.
Peel down the apples into a large bowl and add the sugar allowing it to dissolve into the peels for a few minutes.
Pour the water into the apples and mix well. Add the apple mixture into a deep glass container and leave for 2/3 weeks stirring everyday, vigorously.
After a couple of weeks, taste the vinegar. If it is acidic enough for you, strain through a sieve or a fine muslin cloth into a clean container. Your vinegar will then begin to mature further and deepen in colour and flavour, making it ready to use however you like!
If you are using the core alongside the peel, it's important you remove any of the pips. If these pips remain in our vinegar they may release toxins!
When using water for the vinegar there are two approaches to consider.
If you decide to use distilled water, this would be ready to use in your vinegar straight away.
If using tap water for this recipe, pour the water into a container and leave for 24 hours, this will allow any chlorine to escape.
Make sure you only use a wooden spoon when stirring your vinegar.
As the weeks pass, you will begin to see a change in the apples. Some froth will start forming on top and the apple peels will change colour.
Once you have left your vinegar to mature you will see something at the bottom of our container called scoby (Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeasts).
To make Kombucha, feed your scoby for 1-2 weeks with tea and sugar, leaving it to ferment outside of the fridge, covered under a tea towel or muslin cloth.
You don't have to stick to apples! You can really get creative, taking inspiration from your seasons, what's growing in your local area or your garden - pears, pineapples, watermelon skins, plums, grapes, strawberries...the list could go on and on. You can also add different aromatics to your vinegars such as honey, mint or rosemary. Fruits which are past-their-best or a little bruised are ideal for fermentation and making vinegars which is why this recipe is such a great way of reducing waste in the kitchen.