Zero Waste: How to Make Apple Scrap Vinegar


The next time you’re making something with apples, don’t throw away your scraps! Make yourself a healthy vinegar from apple scraps, sugar and water instead.

Apple scrap vinegar can be used in all the same ways you use apple cider vinegar, but because it’s not made from cider (which is made using 100% apples that have been crushed and then left to ferment) it’s got a different name.

If you’re making something that requires a lot of apples such as apple pie, apple crumble, apple sauce or you’re juicing them, then great, you’re all set and you can use your scraps right away.

If you’re adding apples to your smoothies or porridge, simply save your scraps throughout the week and keep them in an airtight bag or container in the fridge, or store them in the freezer if you’re collecting scraps for longer.


  • Roughly 1 kilo organic apple scraps (cores/peels), bruised or damaged apples
  • 1 litre of boiled water left to cool
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar (or honey)
  • A clean wide-mouthed vessel
  • Muslin or dishcloth
  • Elastic band

If you don’t have that much lying around but want to try a small batch, try using the peels and cores from 6 large apples, 1 tablespoon of sugar/honey and enough water to cover the apple scraps.


  1. Gather your scraps and set aside.
  2. Boil the water and dissolve your sugar, then let it cool to room temperature before adding the apples.
    Leave about an inch or two of space at the top for the mixture to bubble up.
  3. Cover with some muslin or a dishtowel and a rubber band to allow the air to circulate over the top of the apple mixture. Since the healthy bacteria that create vinegar require oxygen for the fermentation process, it’s important not to seal the container.
  4. Check on your apple ferment every day and give it a good mix a few times. Stirring aerates your ferment which encourages microbial activity and helps prevent mould formation.
    If your apple pieces keep floating to the surface you may want to weigh them down so they’re covered. Mould is not a welcome bacteria in this case!
  5. Your finished vinegar will take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on:
    1. The temperature of your kitchen. Naturally, a cooler room will take longer, a warmer room, less.
    2. Whether you used honey or sugar. Honey can take a little longer.
    Don’t be alarmed if you see a foamy layer developing on the top of the apple mixture or underneath. Your apple scrap vinegar is slowly being created.
  6. When it’s stopped bubbling, the apple pieces settle towards the bottom, and the colour of the liquid starts to darken, strain out the fruit.
  7. Pour the liquid back into the glass jar and replace the muslin/dishcloth and elastic band.
    Now you’re onto the second fermentation which can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. Basically, until the liquid smells vinegary and tastes sour.
  8. Once you’re happy with the taste and you detect no bubbles and fizz, put a lid on it, store it in a cool dark spot and enjoy!


Making apple scrap vinegar at home is a great zero waste technique to help lower your food wastage, plus it’s also a money saver!

You can use apple scrap vinegar in the same ways as you use shop-bought apple cider vinegar. Use it in salad dressings, in condiments, as a health shot, as a cleaner or even rinse your hair with it. It makes for a great alternative to conditioner.

Preferably you would use organic apples since the skins you’re fermenting won’t then contain pesticides etc. However, organic or not, make sure they’re really scrubbed and clean. It’s also okay to use brown or bruised apples, but it is NOT okay to use mouldy or rotten apples. I guess that goes without saying really! 🙂

Important note:

As with any fermentation, pressure will build up in a closed container. Whilst the happy little bacteria create carbon dioxide as a byproduct of fermentation, the pressure can actually cause the jar to explode. Regularly open (aka ‘burp’) your jar to prevent a catastrophe.
This is especially the case with fruit and sugary fermentations, so basically, don’t seal it!
Only seal the container with a lid when the vinegar is as strong as you want it to be and there are no bubbles.


Emily Nöth

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