Apple Cider Vinegar / Pineapple Vinegar from Cores & Rinds: Some Notes

Reginald SmithApple Cider Vinegar, Making Vinegar, Pineapple Vinegar48 Comments


Vinegar fermentation is becoming more of the rage everyday. Often overshadowed by other fermentations, vinegar is coming to its own as a new generation of homemakers and hobbyists eagerly make their own.

This is great and  I suggest everyone try it at least once. There are a couple of techniques that are common and popular I want to give my own personal advice on to ensure success.

A cheap way to make apple cider vinegar is from submerged apple cores and skins in water with sugar (judiciously) added. Same with pineapple vinegar using rinds and adding sugar to the water it is submerged in. For an authentic Central American flavor, use piloncillo brown cane sugar cones like you can find in many Latin American markets.

This is a great experiment and usually works very well. In short the wild yeasts in the fruit ferment the sugar to alcohol while the wild acetic acid bacteria simultaneously ferment the alcohol to acetic acid (vinegar).

Many websites detail this method and I have nothing against it. I would just advise a few things that are not often mentioned or suggested.

  1. Cleanliness – obviously wash out the jar first with soap and water. I would also sanitize by filling it with water and adding 3/4 teaspoon of unscented bleach per quart of water and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Here is where I might ruffle some feathers – I am generally not a huge fan of wild, uncontrolled fermentation, especially if you are not measuring quantities like pH, acidity, etc. to monitor progress. I suggest successive fermentation as well. First, after adding the apple cores to the empty jar, I would heat the water to cover them to at least 160 F or even up to boiling and then pour this on the apple cores in the jar. Obviously this kills the wild yeast and vinegar bacteria, but it also kills spoilage bacteria and most mold spores. Make sure the cores or rinds are completely submerged to prevent opportunistic mold growth.
  3. Use one packet of store bought brewing (not baking) yeast and “activate” the yeast by adding it to a small amount of lukewarm water in a separate cup.  After the water in the jar has cooled to room temperature, add the activated yeast slurry. Cover the top with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
  4. It will take a couple of days but the yeast will ferment the sugar rapidly to alcohol until they stop fizzing. At this point you have your “hard cider”.
  5. Now add mother, it can be ours or the raw apple cider vinegars (Bragg’s, Heinz, Fleischmann’s, private label, etc.) Add about 1/4 of the volume of the jar in mother. After a week or two a mother should form on the surface. From here the fermentation will progress until you have good vinegar. Keep the top covered as fruit flies love vinegar.

The above apply equally to pineapple vinegar. These steps will help the fermentation proceed faster since the commercial yeast and mothers work more rapidly. It also prevents stuck fermentations, contamination, mold, and other issues that come up hoping that the wild microbes do the trick. Granted, apples and pineapples have malic and other acids who should lower the pH and prevent spoilage on their own but unless you are measuring pH and controlling sugar, you can be rolling the dice on how well it works.

As a final note, if you are not actively measuring the acidity (using titration) do not use vinegar made in this fashion for canning. Canning requires 4%+ acidity vinegar, 5%+ to be safe. If you are using vinegar that “just tastes right” it could fall dangerously below these standards.

48 Comments on “Apple Cider Vinegar / Pineapple Vinegar from Cores & Rinds: Some Notes”

  1. Hi, I have access to an abundance of apples. I also have a 50-gallon food grade plastic barrel and would like to make as much as possible. Is it OK to use the whole apple in a chopped up state? How would I gauge how much to use (lbs of apples)? I can test and titrate, that would not be a problem. I still feel very lost from reading all of this. Can you point me to a recipe and instructions for making such a large batch? I would be very grateful. I am not in a hurry, so the vinegar taking 6 months to mature from start to finish is fine with me. I would like to learn the “old way” of making vinegar, but from reading your blog, it is safer to use newer methods? Is that correct?

    Thank you,

    Terri Towner

    1. Yes, you can use chopped whole apples, but not unchopped whole apples. I would use 4 lbs apples per gallon of apples along with pectinase suitable to the volume you are making, let it sit overnight and then add sugar as needed to get the final mash to around 12 Brix or so. Then immediately pitch yeast and let it ferment which should take 1-2 weeks. Once this is done, you need to add raw vinegar. Depending on how much vinegar you are trying to make I would recommend about 1/4 the volume of the mash being raw vinegar though you can try to start with less and see if it begins to form a mother. Let me know if this helps.

    1. You can basically remove them once the “fizzing” of alcoholic fermetnation has stopped. However, if a mother of vinegar has already formed across the surface it is best to leave them rather than disturb or sink the mother.

  2. At what acid percentage will yeast die? The reason I ask is I am experimenting with cider vinegar and I would like to at touch of sweetness back into the finished vinegar before bottling in the form of fresh cider heated to 150 degrees F for 10 minutes. If my cider vinegar had a finished acidity of 5% and I try to add 5% of the finished volume of vinegar as new fresh cider, will there be yeast left alive to ferment (and explode) the bottled vinegar. I am trying not to heat the finished vinegar because I wish the “mother” to remain alive. Basically, I want dead yeast in an unpasteurized vinegar and I do not wish to use heat or chemicals so is there an acid level that will prevent yeast growth? Thanks,


    1. Yeast begin tapping out around 1% acidity so if you have a finished acidity of 5%, you can add sweet cider to it there will be no additional alcoholic fermentation or gas build up.

  3. Is a wispy white film the mother? I have made vinegar a few times and never gotten the gelatinous blob described. I have not used it for canning just to clean with and in salad dressing and laundry. Making pear and mint now and after almost 2 months it has the white film but no mother.

    1. Some species or strains of acetic acid bacteria only make a wispy white film. If they ferment vinegar fine, it is all the same in the end. It should be fine but if you ever use for canning make sure you send a sample to a wine lab to ensure it is at least 5% titratable acidity (5g / 100 mL).

  4. Hi, can I make same thing with sweet cherries? I wanna use brown sugar and to add the mother vinegar from my last ACV. Do you think that will work? Thanks!

    1. Yes, this should work fine with sweet cherries. Add about 1lb of brown sugar per gallon with the cherries and then yeast. Once the bubbling stops, add the mother.

  5. Thank you so much for the fast reply! Just in time 🙂 I usually do not add yeast. Leave it for about a week, then strain the fruit and cover with cheesecloth again for 2 months. Do you think it would work that way? Thanks again.

  6. Hello… I just saw someone use a technique of juicing all of their apples rind and skins instead of cutting them. Then, instead of using sugar of any kind, he used brewer’s yeast. He then proceeded to add some Bragg’s ACV for the mother. What do you think of this technique? Thank you!

    1. This will work fine. I recommend using brewer’s yeast to start the alcoholic fermentation. I would not add the Bragg’s ACV until the alcohol fermentation is complete (bubbling stops). This would be 1-2 weeks after pitching the yeast.

      Remember to prime the yeast before adding them to the juice by letting them sit in lukewarm water for 15 minutes first.

  7. Hi…thanks for sharing….I’m dabbling with making vinegar using tropical fruits….started off with jackfruit rags and feel somewhat embarrassed now having acquired The Artisanal Vinegar Maker’s Handbook and coming across your site…
    It’s now clear to me that what I’ve done is ‘wild fermentation’ . Measuring pH using pH strips used for kombucha indicate that my ‘vinegar’ have a pH of 2.5 to 3.0.
    I’ve filtered and covered the vinegars but still see a floating layer on the surfaces and some sedimentation too.
    I’d appreciate your feedback on what’s happening.

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment. Wild fermentation isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, it’s just it can be hard to control and predict at times and is slower. I can’t comment on what the pH is exactly if you are using strips (I recommend a pH meter personally for accuracy) but if the strips are correct, 2.5-3.0 is usually complete vinegar. It is best to send it to a wine lab to measure titratable acidity (which should be more than 4%) but if you believe it is done, you need to cover it airtight so a mother will not re-form. The other option is to pasteurize it at 140 F / 60 C for at least 15 minutes.

  8. I’m making apple cider vinegar. I’ve removed the apples already, and I’m just letting it sit for a few weeks more. I noticed some white particles floating on top and even sticking to the sides of the glass jar. They look like specks of congealed fat. Do you know what they are?

    1. These are particles of mother of vinegar. It is a good sign it is working! They should (or may not) congeal into a large solid mass eventually.

    1. If you seal it in an airtight bottle, it can last almost indefinitely. Just make sure it is closed to air so fermentation doesn’t occur much during storage.

  9. like your site just found it my partner was given a mother to make cider vinegar. Just searching around our cellar found a bottle of cider vinegar made by a frend in 2018 plenty of mothers in it olso had a bottle komboucha which had a vinegary taste when bottled olso 2018 1liter bottle 750 ml mothers very strong vinegar

  10. hi
    Thanks for all your valuable experiences, i just want to know can i use apple cider mother for making pineapple cider vinegar.

    1. Apple cider vinegar mother can be used to make any vinegar. Any mother of vinegar can make any vinegar but the different types are sold to preserve taste profile. You can just add the mother to pineapple wine at 1/4 the volume of the wine (you probably have to add sugar to the pineapple juice to get a potential alcohol of at least 30%) and it should ferment fine.

  11. Hi
    If i don’t get Mother can i use any vinegar available in market to add in making pineapple vinegar as its first tme.

    1. You can but if it is pasteurized it might now work. You can use fruits like dates, figs, etc. and place in your alcohol and these usually have enough bacteria to start as well.

  12. Hi
    I found this page very informative, thanks. I am curious to know about the chemistry involved in shrub-(fruit-vinegar drinks) at each stage of manufacturing along with quality controls that we need to place. What quality parameters should be measured?

    1. Hi, sorry for the delay. I am not familiar with shrub making and how it is regulated as an acidified food.

    2. Hi,
      I just followed recipes online for pineapple vinegar, today. I have a mother from an ACV I did back in April, in fact I have several sitting in jars of vinegar on the shelf. I made the sugar water and pineapple mixture and put the mother down in the liquid and covered with muslin. I did not pour in any of my vinegar, just a thick, white, round congealed disk, and a piece in a much smaller jar. So, please give it to me straight, what have I done wrong? Should I start all over again, throw this out, what? Thanks.

      1. I wouldn’t say you have done anything wrong yet. The thing is that the pineapple juice needs to bubble and ferment to alcohol for the mother to hope to work. You can wait for wild yeast fermentation or, more quickly and reliably, use brewing yeast like those from Amazon or a Homebrew store. If it never bubbles or ferments to alcohol though bacteria will take over eventually and spoil it.

  13. Hello, I don’t know how I’ve missed your interesting site. I’ve been making apple and pear vinegar with more or less success. I have never used brewer’s yeast. I live in Italy and have a house in the country with lots of fruit trees, nothing is treated. Sometimes when my vinegar seems to be going in the right direction ( they always form plenty of mother), things just sort of flatten, no acidity. The vinegar still smells right, but that’s it. I age them in glass jars covered with a piece of paper towel fixed with a rubber band in a fairly dark room. I tried to make cherry vinegar but there is no acidity. I never added any raw vinegar to it. Do you think I can still recoup it? I also have a huge quantity of wild blackberries right now. Any suggestions on how to procede? Thanks for any sugestions and your informative site.

    1. Hi, thanks for your email! Wild yeast can work fine typically though you need to make sure they make enough alcohol to get you a strong vinegar. If the wild yeast don’t give you at least 6% ABV, the vinegar will end up week. Do you have a hydrometer or other instrument to measure the sugar content of your juices before and after yeast fermentation (before the mother forms)? I think part of the problem is the alcohol yield may be low. If you are getting a mother you should typically have no problem getting vinegar out of it. Also, is there a wine lab that you can test the finished vinegar titrated acidity at? That should tell you where it is stopping at. It needs to be at least 4% ABV.

  14. Trying my hand at making pineapple vinegar to make Puerto Rican hot sauce.. I followed a recipe but it didnt call for brewer’s yeast and it said to add a mother if you had it. I’m on week two of the fermenting process and it’s bubbling, aerating every day. I still haven’t removed pineapple scraps and I’m waiting on ph tester. At what point should I remove the scaps and continue the fermenting process?

    1. Hi, for the best flavor, leave the pineapple scraps in for the entire fermentation. If you don’t want to do that, you can remove them after the bubbling ceases but only if it does not disturb a mother of vinegar.

  15. I’m new to making vinegar but have tried a few batches using chopped up apples and with juiced apples. I’ve had varied success with these but beginning to get the hang of it I think. my first attempt was a small batch was of chopped apples and when the initial ferment was over I transferred it from a wide necked jar into a wine bottle, and the small amount that didn’t fit in I kept in a smaller jar. Both fizzed away nicely without forming mothers on the surface, but only the one in the jar actually became vinegar. The stuff in the wine bottle seems to be preserved but didn’t become acid tasting.

    My second batch I matured in demijohns from juice, developed excellent mothers but didn’t become acidic also. At this stage I think I’m beginning to realise something that none of the blogs or recipes online pointed out and that is that its best to brew vinegars in containers with wide mouths for oxygen exchange.

    I’m currently brewing in a fermentation bin and after a month and a half its working a treat.

    My question is… is it possible to take the non acidic ‘half’ brewed, weak apple juice tasting stuff I’ve made in bottles and brew it up in the fermentation bin to take it to the acidic tasting stage? Would that be a case of just emptying them into the fermentation bin and putting the surface mother from my current successful brew?

    Any advice would be fantastic.


    1. Hi, yes if your failed half-acidic batch has had its sugar converted to alcohol, adding it to the fermentation bin with the mother should kick start vinegar fermentation and lead to a successful brew. You need to make sure the yeast converted enough of the sugar to alcohol though to make a strong vinegar. If you know the beginning starting gravity of the apple cider before the yeast fermentation, you can compare it to now with potential alcohol tables online to get a good idea.

  16. I have 25 gallons of fermented hard apple cider. at 7% ABV . so I clarified the batches and freezed distilled the batch and have about 4 gallons left over from the final freeze. Now do I need to dilute back to 7% ABV and and Add 8oz. of your Supreme mother to about 1/2 gallon of juice ..Or is the mother strong enough to eat the Alcohol and turn it into vinegar with out diluting the freeze distillation product?? and do you have to steer the vinegar fermentation 1 or 2 times a day . for how long. ? and when do i start giving it away . Do I have to heat the liquid up to 160 degrees before giving it to neighbors ? Help I’m in over my head

    1. Hi Kris, I would dilute back to 7%. Over 10% the bacteria cannot ferment properly and under 8% is best for fermentation. As far as steering the vinegar fermentation, there is no need to do that if you are using the slow method and growing a mother. You can give it away when its acidity is at least 4% but better if the acidity is at least 80% of the original ABV. You can send it to a wine lab to test titratable acidity or use a wine kit.

      You don’t have to heat it to 160 at all, live/raw vinegar is fine. If you want to pasteurize it you can do so at 140F in a stainless steel pot for 15 minutes. Let me know if this helps.

  17. Is there any way to know the acid %? I’m trying to make a vinegar from edible flowers. I used a ph strip and the ph is around 4. But how can I tell if the % acidity is low enough to store for a long time? Also, the solution is cloudy. Yours look amazing. Is there some way for a home cook to filter the finished product so that it’s really clear?

    1. You need to get it titrated using a wine kit or wine lab to know the acidity. Most of my filtering comes from the vinegar process but you can use a coffee filter to get good results except for cloudy particles which will still get through.

  18. HI,

    I tried to make apple cider vinegar twice. I have started my batches with crushed apple pulp maintaining 18-20 Brix by adding some extra sugar. Adjusted the pH to 4 with citric acid. I have added 1% yeast and in 48hrs the Brix has come down to 7.5 and doesn’t fall below that value. pH came down to 3.8.

    Then I have adjusted the pH to 5.8 and added 5% of the purified mother (Isolated from commercial vinegar and Grown on synthetic Acetic acid bacteria media) and incubated at 30deg.c. Titrable acetic acid on day 0 is 0.4%. Later on the % titrable acetic acid is coming down instead of increasing.

    I don’t know where I went wrong. Kindly suggest a few tips to increase % titrable acidity.


    1. Hi, 48 hours is likely too short for substantial yeast fermentation. Let the yeast ferment 1-2 weeks until the Brix is nearly zero and then add the mother. That way the alcohol content will be high and the acidity of your vinegar will be high as well.

  19. Hi! I started my maiden batch of ACV on 04-01-22. I think I overfilled the chopped apples as the gallon glass jar I am using has bubbled over after a couple days. I stir it daily and it still foams up but doesn’t bubble over any more. In fact it now seems like I don’t have enough sugar water. Can I still mix some up and add it now? Should I have taken some apples out when it first started to bubble over? Other than this, I think it is looking very promising.

    Thank you

    1. Hi, the bubbling over was the yeast fermentation of the sugar and when the fizz stopped it means most if not all sugar has been converted to alcohol. That is fine. You don’t have to add more sugar water unless you want to have a stronger vinegar (which gives you a better yield so may be a good idea). If you don’t have mother of vinegar to add, let it sit exposed to air until a mother forms, otherwise add the mother of vinegar either now or if you add more sugar water, after the bubbling stops.

  20. Hi Reginald,
    What an amazing source of knowledge you are – thank you!
    I have a surplus of calamansi (small sour citrus) and would like to make a single ferment vinegar. I was going to juice them and mix with ACV with mother + add a scoby to speed up the fermentation process. You’ll have to excuse my ignorance. I’ve not made a vinegar before. Will my prosposed method work?

    1. Hi, here is the method I suggest:

      1. Juice the calamansi and measure the specific gravity of the juice with a hydrometer. If it is not at least 1.05, add sugar, stirring in and mixing until you get a specific gravity of at least 1.05.

      1b. Optional: add pectinase enzyme per instructions to clear the must. Not really necessary except for aesthetics

      2. Add brewing yeast suitable to the volume of must. Allow to ferment until the sugar is consumed (specific gravity of 1 or less)

      3. Add at least 1/4 by volume mother of vinegar and raw vinegar. It doesn’t have to be a huge solid mass–in fact the bacterial replicate rapidly so adding raw vinegar is more important than a huge solid mother.

      4. Allow to ferment (a mother should form on the surface). First batch will probably take 3-6 weeks depending on temperature and surface area of the liquid to air

  21. Thank you so much for your site. I have been reading all the comments trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I started with my own apple cider at a brix of 10. I added the right amount of yeast based upon the volume. I put an airlock on it but didn’t put any water in it. It fizzed away. Then stopped. I don’t remember the abv when I tested it. A book I read told me to heat up the apple cider to a certain temperature to kill the yeast so it wouldn’t ruin the taste. I let it cool down completely then added 20 percent by volume of Braggs unfiltered apple cider. The book also said to put in an aerator to speed up the fermentation. I tested the brix, and it is at 0. Ph is around 4.5 but no mother is forming. Its been 10 days. From the comments, it looks like I should have put in 25 percent braggs,? Stop the aeration? Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hi, I would recommend stopping the aeration. Aeration is not compatible with a mother forming. Also, the conditions for aeration to work aren’t as simple as some books make out. Unless you want to do a more focused setup on aerating as your main fermentation, just let it sit. The amount of Bragg’s is ok so unless the Bragg’s culture is dead (which happens) just let it sit and a mother should form in a week or two.

  22. Hi Reginald,
    Thank you for all of these informative articles! I have read a lot of the recipes online that you mention that do the vinegar making in one step (alcohol and acetic acid production simultaneously) and I also felt that it wasn’t the best way to be doing it. So I’m glad that you have explained the two step process more clearly.
    I had a question however regarding the alcoholic fermentation step. Is it better to do that step anaerobically with an airlock? And then switch to aerobic with the cloth covering in the second step after we had the vinegar mother?
    Thank you from a confused homebrewer and beginner vinegar enthusiast

    1. Hi, either way is fine, it depends on how you like to make wine. As long as you switch to aerobic as you state for vinegar, it won’t cause any issues.

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