Warning: This article is NOT just about making your own vinegar.
…. once upon a time I ran out of money and I not only discovered that adversity leads to opportunity but also that many of the products we spend out hard earned cash on can be easily made at home for a fraction of the cost, and with much less impact on the environment.
All this was achieved basically by limiting the amount of resources I spent on groceries and you could read all about that in my book Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce. Find out more here
When you are limited to how many groceries you can buy you start to prioritise and money previously spent on cleaning products and everyday cosmetics like shampoo and conditioner is re directed towards food. You soon learn that luxury products that most ‘normal’ households take for granted (and shampoo and conditioner are great examples) can easily be replaced with simple inexpensive ingredients like baking soda and white vinegar. My proven recipe ideas are available here; hard copy or download from here.
Self-imposed scarcity attaches more value to grocery items and suddenly wastage becomes an issue. You do not throw a half-eaten apple away lightly when you do not know where you next apple is coming from, and while this sounds terrible it is actually a great lesson. Food wastage is a huge issue in modern communities with most of us unthinkingly throwing away hundreds of dollars every year which is insulting to the homeless and hungry.
Apples should not be wasted and if you don’t have a use for it right now, you could freeze it and make stewed apples for future muffins, crumble or apple pie. I know I sounds like a crazy frugal lady, but needs must and I know many people that go around complaining bitterly about the cost of living, yet would sneer at me for recycling the apple.
This is how far I have gone…. Apple cores and apple peels are not to be thrown away at my house. They are frozen in an appropriate container and then when enough have accumulated made in to vinegar. This vinegar can be used as hair conditioner and fabric softener as well as in cooking. Here’s how:
Fill a glass preserving jar with apple core and peels. Fill with warm water and dissolve 3 Tables spoons of sugar. Place a smaller jar on top to ensure all the fruit is covered. Wrap in a towel and place in a cool dark area (I do mine in the pantry) for a month or so. The liquid will become a useful vinegar which can be bottled for use around the home.
Your apple vinegar may grow a layer of mold, which most of you will think is gross, but that is the fermentation process in action, usually the liquid and mold are easily separated and the mold discarded before use.
Not only have you not wasted the apples you will not have to buy vinegar, hair conditioner and fabric softener which could mean a direct saving of $20 or so and avoid the unnecessary purchase and disposal of at least 3 plastic bottles, so you have actually gained a lot. There is also a feel good factor which is un-quantifiable. Doing things like making your own vinegar out of apple peels and cores should not be dismissed as too hard or a waste of time. If you feel resistant to ideas like this maybe it is time for you to have a good hard think about who you are, why you do things and the impact your actions have on your household, your community and beyond.