Crab apple cider vinegar: straining day

After three weeks (and a day) the crab apple cider vinegar has been strained.

For those new to this blog, you can catch up on the process by clicking on the following links. Each should open in a new tab, so you won’t lose your place.

Part 1: getting started
Part 2: oops
Part 3: progress

While I have not been checking on them every day, I have been checking regularly, and the last I did, it they still looked like this.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I brought the jars over to strain them, and saw this.

Oh, dear.

Both jars appeared to have mold at the top.

Now, part of what we’re doing this year is seeing if there’s a difference using cheesecloth to cover the top, or an airlock. Theoretically, because the cheesecloth allows oxygen in and an airlock doesn’t, the one with the cheesecloth should have been worse.

When I opened them up, though, there really wasn’t much difference. They both looked like this.

Yeah. Gross.

It seems the glass weight I used was not large enough to keep all the apple pieces below the level of liquid. Why it was enough to do so for almost 3 weeks, I don’t know.

On taking out the glass weight, I found that the pieces still immersed looked fine.

After scooping out the pieces at the top, the ones below all looked fine. The photo on the left is the jar that had the airlock, the one on the right had the cheesecloth.

I see no difference at this point.

After straining the pieces out, I checked them, and everything still looked fine. It was only the very top pieces that showed mold.

Took keep the experiment going, I made sure to do each jar from start to finish separately, cleaning and sanitizing the jars (and the airlock with its lid) before pouring the baby vinegar back.

The vinegar on the left is from the airlock jar. The one on the right is the cheesecloth jar.

Again, I see no difference between them.

Both of them also resulted in 2L (about half a gallon) of baby vinegar. If I weren’t testing the two different tops, I would have poured it all back into just one jar.

One thing I noticed very quickly when straining them, is that they both have a surprisingly strong alcohol smell. A rather pleasant one! I might have a bit of hard cider going at the moment!

No, I didn’t taste them.

The question is, will the mold that was at the top be a concern? Will the continued fermentation – which is really just controlled decomposition – eliminate any potential problems?

There’s only one way to find out.

Back they go to the old kitchen, for another three weeks. Then it’s tasting time before deciding to let it ferment for longer or not.

These are supposed to stay out at room temperature. Room temperature in the old kitchen is a fair bit lower than the rest of the house – which isn’t particularly warm, either! When I brought the jars over to strain them, I used the temperature gun and they were both at 12C. If we were wanting to make an alcohol, that would be too cold, but is it too cold for a vinegar?

Well, we’ll see how it is in three weeks!

The Re-Farmer

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