Easy Zero Waste Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

Easy Zero Waste Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

Remember a few weeks back how I shared a recipe for homemade applesauce? Well, the recipe called for peeled and cored apples. And instead of wasting them, I figured I’d use it as an opportunity to make apple cider vinegar! Granted it was my first time doing so, and I made a mistake. But I learned from that mistake and wanted to share it with you, so you won’t. And next time, I’ll know better too. Here’s how to make easy zero waste apple cider vinegar.

Easy Zero Waste Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

Easy Zero Waste Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

What makes this recipe zero waste?

Using apple scraps makes this zero waste. I like the idea of making apple cider vinegar only when I’m making other apple related things that call for the skins and cores removed, like pie, turnovers, etc. This ensures no part of the apple goes to waste and gives the scraps a second life!

When you’re done using the scraps in this recipe, make sure to compost them to prevent further waste. If you have chickens, you can also feed them the scraps! This ensures everything comes full circle and nothing gets sent to landfill.

I also recommend getting the apples plastic-free at your local farm or farmers market. There won’t be any annoying plastic stickers on them either this way!

Easy Zero Waste Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe


  • At least 2 cups of assorted apple cores and peels (whenever possible, use organic/pesticide free apples for this. I got mine from my local farmers market)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • ~3 cups of filtered/distilled water (or however much you need to fill your jar)

The tools:

  • An upcycled jar of some sort (make sure it’s VERY clean)
  • Scrap fabric or swatch of cloth (I used a cloth napkin)
  • Rubber band (to secure the fabric on top)

Note: Do NOT use anything metal. This includes lids. Instead choose to stir things using a wooden spoon.


  1. Fill the glass jar ¾ of the way with apple peels and cores.
  2. Add the water and stir in the sugar until it’s mostly dissolved. Make sure the apple scraps are completely covered, but leave a few inches of room at the top of the jar.
  3. Cover loosely with scrap fabric secured with a rubber band. Set in a warm, dark place for approximately two weeks.
  4. Stir it every few days. See any brownish/greyish scum on the top? Skim it off.
  5. When two weeks are up, strain the scraps from the liquid. Compost the scraps and set the strained liquid aside for another 2-4 weeks.
  6. Once it has that unmistakable vinegar smell and taste, it’s ready. If it’s not there yet, let it sit a while longer. When you’re happy with it, cap it and store in the fridge as long as you like. It shouldn’t go bad.

P.S.: If a gelatinous blob forms at the top of your vinegar, this is a “vinegar mother” which is great at jump-starting future vinegar batches. You can remove it and store it separately, or let it float in the vinegar as you store it.

What I did wrong: Mold started to develop on top of my ACV. Unfortunately, I had to dump it out. I composted the apple scraps tho, so it was still low waste! But now I know what I did wrong – I didn’t stir it on a consistent basis and I let it sit the entire time without removing the scraps. That’s on me. Please don’t follow the same mistakes! Now that I know, I can do better next time (and I recently went apple picking, so next time will be very soon!).

Easy Zero Waste Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

Will you give this zero waste apple cider vinegar a go? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more ways to use up your apples? Check out my zero waste applesauce recipe or these other zero waste fall recipes.

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to share it! If you like my content, sign up for my newsletter to get notified every time I write a new blog post. To support me even further, please consider buying me a cup of tea to help support my blog.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *