The kids have adjusted pretty easily to the move and the new style of house. It has helped that we live on 5+ acres of land, full of new wonders for them, including a creek, a forest, and a shop for riding bikes.
Here is one of my tools to help life work better: Quiet time. (which, with kids aged 3-8, it isn’t super quiet, but maybe I could call it “quieter than usual time”) Here’s an example of a quiet time all through the house.
Tate’s quiet time in mommy’s loft… books and being alone.
Wade’s quiet time: pressing flowers
The girls’ quiet time: in their loft with Barbies and a Barbie book.
And our real key to success is what we’ve planned for all along: time outside. Which isn’t hard to achieve since the weather’s been so nice! Today we built a fort under a fallen oak branch.
Everyone knows how wonderful apple cider vinegar is, and the hype is very founded. It improves health and can have several household uses. I use it a variety of ways, from conditioner to salad dressing!
Here are some benefits of apple cider vinegar:
Maintains a healthy blood sugar
Lowers blood pressure
Helps with acid reflux
Has active cultures
If you buy raw apple cider vinegar with the “mother”, it is about $6-$10 per quart. That’s not really a bad price, but I’m always up for doing something myself and saving a little money!
Apple juice or apple cider. Some people say you can’t use pasteurized apple juice, but I have made it with pasteurized juice several times and it works just as well as the raw stuff. Sometimes you can get organic apple juice in a handy glass jug, then you can just ferment it right there in the jug!
Raw, unpasteurized apple cider with the “mother”. This is your starter, which has good bacteria hungry for apple juice!
Pour your cider into a glass jar or jug. Make as much or as little as you like!
Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar starter’s good bacteria will begin to eat the sugars and convert them into vinegar.
Cover with a cloth and a rubber band.
Let it sit for 2-3 months.
After a week of fermenting, it will become bubbly and taste like sparkling cider. You can stop there and enjoy the best sparkling cider you’ve ever had. But you’ll probably feel guilty about that decision when you’re back at the store buying a bottle of ACV.
Then comes what I call the “nail polish remover phase”. I have never drunk nail polish remover, but I can imagine it would taste like this. You will think your project has failed. You will want to give up. But trust me, if you let it go a little while more, you will have vinegar.
It is ready to use when it is super sour and has lost the nail polish remover taste. It does take a long time to ferment, but it requires very little of your time and effort. Gotta love projects like that!
We have been blessed to be able to forage windfall apples near our house, so we went the extra mile on this apple cider vinegar batch and made our own apple cider. We juiced our free apples to make completely free apple cider vinegar.
Turning our fresh cider into vinegar is a good way to make the cider shelf-stable and enjoyable all year long. I am thankful for my freezer and refrigerator, but I am always interested in finding ways to use them less and less.
It looked like apples pooped all over my table but let me tell you, that was the best cider I have ever had.
It was a fun Sunday afternoon activity for us to all do together. It almost felt like an apple party. I have really enjoyed preserving seasonal food more and more every year. It makes me thankful that I don’t have to completely rely on my preservation skills for our all of our wintertime food, and it also makes me admire the women who didn’t have grocery stores or refrigerators.
Once the cider was made, we poured it into various jugs and jars.
Instead of using a starter, I’m using the “mother” that has formed most generously from a previous batch. It is similar to a Kombucha SCOBY in that it is made of bacteria and yeast. It has a similar texture and feel as a SCOBY.
Lastly, I set the jugs on top of my fridge where they will live for several months! (As you can see, I don’t clean the top of my fridge.)
The foam on top is because the juice is unfiltered. I will filter it after it becomes vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is a great project to kick off your fermenting journey with– it is simple and rewarding.
It is now December 13th, and the vinegar is totally done. It took about 3 months to lose its “nail polish remover” taste. It is the most sour thing I have ever tasted in my life! It has a great flavor and is pretty concentrated. I only ended up with a little more than a gallon. I think some of it evaporated as it fermented. This stuff loves to make big freaky white mothers though!