Organic apple cider vinegar is fermented organic apple juice. Cider vinegar has been made for centuries as a way of preserving the apple harvest. The resulting vinegar is then used in cooking and for salad dressings and drinks. Apples for cider vinegar need only to be firm and ripe, they do not have to be perfect apples and as such, smaller, misshapen and slightly blemished apples work just fine.
Wash and sort the apples, using a sharp knife to remove any heavy bruising or blemishing. Throw away any apples that are rotting or nearing that stage.
Core the apples and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
Place the apple pieces into your blender or food processor, taking care not to over load the appliance. One to 2 cups of apple chunks at a time will work well in most machines.
Process the apple pieces until they are well blended, similar in consistency to applesauce.
Pour the crushed apples into a muslin bag, and suspend the bag over a large bowl or stockpot. Squeeze the bag to press out as much juice as possible from the apples.
Place the apple juice into a stoneware crock or stainless steel stockpot. Cover the crock with cheesecloth and secure in place with string.
Place the crock in a cool, dark area, and allow the cider to ferment for four to six months. Taste the vinegar after four months, and if the vinegar is strong enough, it is ready to bottle. If not, taste weekly until the vinegar is ready.
Strain the vinegar through several layers of cheesecloth, and heat the vinegar to 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes to pasteurize the vinegar. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the stockpot and watch the temperature closely. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the 170 degrees for the designated time period.
Allow the vinegar to cool, and pour into bottles. Place lids on the bottles. and store the vinegar on a pantry shelf.