Today has been one of those write-off days.
Yesterday, we hit 27C/80F. An unexpected result of that is, all number of house flies and other flying insects emerged from wherever they were slumbering in the previous cool, and got into the house.
Which meant a night of cats making a ruckus while chasing bugs all over the house.
I got very little sleep.
Today was much cooler, but rather than being outside, taking advantage of it, I ended up passed out for a couple of hours.
Cuddled by a couple of cats, of course. The buggers! It’s a good thing they’re so cute.
While puttering about the house, trying to get at least some productivity in, I was in the old kitchen and checked on the apple cider vinegar. It’s been a couple of weeks since I started – or should I say, restarted – them, so I figured it was time for a progress report.
For my new followers (welcome! Happy to see you here. 🙂 ), you can visit our first making of apple cider vinegar with our crab apples here. This year, we decided to make a larger quantity, with some experimentation. You can read about our first attempt here, and after discovering I made a really silly mistake, the reboot is written about here. (All links will open new tabs, so you won’t miss your place. 🙂 )
Here is how the jars look now.
The old kitchen is a very dark room. The south facing window has the sun room in front of it, so it doesn’t get any direct sunlight. The west window, which would normally provide a lot of light at the end of the day, is covered with aluminum foil (which predates our moving here), so there is zero light coming through there. The north facing window is what’s providing what light you can see in the above photo. Without turning the light on in the room, it was too dark to get a photo without moving to the window side of the jars.
This is a good thing. The instructions said to put the jars in a cupboard, and we just don’t have any with the space for these jars, so a room that never gets bright works just fine. The concern I had was how cold this room is. Fermentation requires warmth.
As you can see, there is no activity in the airlock at all. If there had been, the plastic cap on the inside would have been pushed to the top as it filled with CO2.
However, this is not the same as fermenting alcohol, so not seeing activity in the airlock does not necessarily mean nothing is happening.
And things are most definitely happening in there!
Both jars look the same. At this point, I see no difference between the one with the airlock and the one with the cheese cloth. Both have this layer of bubbles at the top, and when turning the jars to check them, more bubbles enthusiastically make their way up the jar. There most definitely is active fermentation going on.
One good thing about doing this in the larger jars like this: it’s nowhere near as messy as our first attempt! The fermenting vinegar had bubbled up enough to reach the coffee filter covering it and leaked a bit, inviting all sorts of fruit flies to check things out. This year, had I not had to throw away the first batch, with the its very full jars, it may well have bubbled up, and the one with the cheese cloth, at least, would likely have had a mess. There may be more headspace than needed in these jars now, but it seems to be better that way.
There also doesn’t seem to be any sign of mold or rot or anything of concern. The glass canning jar lids being used as fermentation weights are doing the job of keeping the floating apple pieces submerged.
So far, everything is looking good!
Next week we’ll hit the 3 week mark and, according to the instructions I’m following, that’s the time to strain out the apple pieces, return the vinegar to the jars, and let them sit for at least another 3 weeks.
I’m very curious to see if there will be a noticeable difference between the two jars.