Category Archives: raw

Beat the Heat with Avocado Pistachio Cold Soup


Oh, how badly I needed this freshness for the last few weeks! This was today.
Yesterday.
The heat is on, on the street / Inside your head, on every beat /And the beat’s so loud, deep inside
The pressure’s high, just to stay alive / ‘Cause the heat is on…
 
The heat paralyses me. It makes me feel sick. It makes me feel like jumping into a water spray, then bed crashing under the dozen of fans and watching National Geographic series about rainforests, thunderstorms and waterfalls till dawn. 
Then go back to the sprinkle again….
Why the water sprinkles are only for kids? Why does siesta have to be only a cultural phenomenon? Why can’t we all have power naps during summer heat? I guess these questions are rhetorical, huh? Or, may be, the heat just makes me delirious… I actually thought we were only at the beginning of July, but half of it is gone already. Just yesterday these wild geese ducklets were eggs, these cattails didn’t exist and these strawberries were flowers. I was feeling so much younger. I was actually ready to resume the horseback riding I abandoned back in my twenties… 
I missed jazz festival and dozen of other attractions I wanted to visit so much. I’ve become a reckless blogger. Half of my design projects have been put on hold. The mood board sketches are flying all over the house. My photo-bank is about to eat me alive if I don’t start cleaning it asap. See what the heat is doing to me?  This is not good. I need to slow down this shutter speed of life. I need a fresh start.
At least I’ve done plenty of gazpachos. Cold soups are the wonderful culinary creation. They feed and nourish in a wink and deliver freshness, speed and convenience to our time-poor, exhausting summer schedules.
This one is a keeper for me during excruciating hot summer days. Not only it’s super-delicious and easy to make; it’s hard to underestimate the avocado’s potent anti-inflammatory, hydrating and blood pressure-stabilizing powers, which in this recipe are also supported by cucumber, handful of pistachio nuts, grilled zucchini, buttermilk and organic miso (fermented soya paste) – I marked the last ingredient as optional, considering its rare occurrence in most people’s fridges. I used the leftover grilled zucchini to add a slight grill tone to the soup, recycle and give some extra substance, but leave them out if you want.
You can whip this uber-yummy soup for spur-of-the-moment summer guests in, literally, 10 minutes. Serve it in verrines garnished with extra pistachios and all you can imagine fresh herbs including parsley, dill, cilantro, mint, basil, chives, oregano, tarragon, etc. 
The fresh herbs give an incredible hit of flavor to this otherwise subtle and smooth cold soup. Drizzle it with a bit of olive or truffle oil and/or sprinkle with smoked paprika for an extra zang. Not a big herb lover? Add a dash of curry, cumin and ground coriander in the mix.
Tweak it to be more or less acidic playing with lime or lemon juice to your taste. PS: kosher pickle or kimchi liquids are not excluded as the idea ingredients for a kick and extra health benefit. Thin it with vegan broth, unsweetened almond milk, extra buttermilk, cold spring water or even cold green tea if necessary.
Great tip from experienced guacamole makers: add avocado seed to the soup to preserve the vivid green color if you wish to refrigerate it from few hours till next day.
This soup is a true vegetarian summer dream dish on its own. But if you crave more substance on a side serve it with croutons or these decadent tiny cheese puffs (recipe will follow).
Cheers to All and Viva Summer Freshness!
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AVOCADO PISTACHIO CUCUMBER GAZPACHO
Yields: 4-8 portions (depending on the size of the verrines)
Ingredients:
4-6 ice cubes, made of quality spring water (plus few crushed ice cubes for serving)
1 tablespoon raw pistachio nuts, shelled (plus 1 tablespoon for garnish)
1 ripe avocado, peeled (keep the avocado seed to preserve the color if you plan to eat soup next day)*
1 cucumber (Lebanese, or ½ English cucumber; other kind to be peeled and de-seeded)
1 small zucchini, grilled, broiled, or pan-fried (optional)
1 cup vegetarian (or lean organic chicken) stock
1 cup buttermilk (or unsweetened almond milk)
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (optional)
1/2 cup quality spring water
1 teaspoon miso paste (optional)
¼ teaspoon quality salt
¼ teaspoon hot smoked paprika (or chili powder)
Fresh herbs for garnish: mint, dill, cilantro, parsley, oregano, basil, etc.
Olive oil for drizzle (optional)
Instructions:
Add ice cubes to blender. Top with nuts, avocado, cucumber, zucchini, stock, buttermilk, lime juice, water, miso, salt and paprika or chili. Puree on high speed until smooth Thin the soup with additional stock, buttermilk, or water if desired. Pour into bowls. Garnish with ice cube crush, pistachios and fresh herbs. Drizzle with oil or lemon juice. 
* Add avocado seed to the soup to preserve the vivid green color if you wish to refrigerate it from few hours till next day.

Go Wild and Try Some Violets

Today is special: my best college friend happens to have her anniversary. We never collected violets together, but we did have some crazy-wild, beautiful times that I will never forget. Happy Birthday, dear Ira! Here’s to our friendship: make a dive back into the 90s with this good old school gem from our past. You’re probably too busy now to do anything with violets, but I hope one day you will return from wherever in the world you are now celebrating, and check your e-mail, and find this message, and will be set adrift on memory bliss like me today. And then, eventually, maybe you will even try some of my recipes. Cheers!
My other best friend from Toronto will have her birthday around Victoria’s Day and what can be more Victorian than violets on that day? Happy upcoming B-Day to you, my friend AB, I love you dearly and think about you very often! Another Cheers!  
Back to our food business. Blissfully, our (not chemically treated) lawn is currently invaded by wild violets this spring which I’ve been previously collecting for flower arrangements, but this year I put my hands on developing recipes with them. I always knew that wild violets are highly medicinal: anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, high in vitamin C and A, great to relief coughs and sore throats. Never before though I tried them on my palate, but following the Nordic cuisine focus on the native produce, and René Redzepi’s inspiration credo that ‘there’s no conflict between better meal and better world’ I decided to go foraging  and experiment with this new ingredient.  It took no time to figure out that freshly picked edible wild violets (please make sure you are dealing with wild violets, not the decorative ones) are mostly used to garnish dishes, but the vinegar based on them can be applied to an array of foods. I’ve made some research and here are the dishes I came up with using violets and/or violet vinegar:  Cucumber Almond Violet Cold Soup for a hot day; Green Pistachio Violet Salad for a light healthy lunch; Bacon Asparagus with Violet Vinegar Reduction Appetizer for a decadent treat and, finally, Violet Dressed Cupcakes for celebrations. I’ll begin with the violet infused vinegar.
Violet Infused Vinegar:
I used rice vinegar, but you can use any kind of basic vinegar as a base, depending what kind of result you’re looking for – delicate (based on a rice, apple cider or champagne vinegar) or more acidic (white, red or white wine vinegar). Collect violets from clean and pesticide-free areas, preferably where cats or dogs do not make their breaks. Fill the glass bottle/jar about half full of violets and pour vinegar of your choice over them to fill up. Use a non-metallic cork to close and let the vinegar sit for a week in a cool dark place. It will become between a pink and magenta color hues depending on the flowers-stems ratio and the hue of the violets. Strain the vinegar and store for a year or longer in a glass container. You can use only flowers for a darker color, or flowers with stems for a lighter one. Here are the steps:

Cucumber Almond Violet Cold Soup inspired by classic Spanish Cucumber Almond Gazpacho and a lovely Spanish girl (Hola, Ana!). When freshly picked, the violets faintly smell like a cucumber or a grape candy, so I had the idea to use them along with violet vinegar in a cold gazpacho-style soup with almonds, grapes and cucumbers. An absolute must try on a hot spring-summer day, with or without the violet garnish. Killer app: add some red grapes to the soup mix to enhance the color-coordinated violet look.

Green Pistachio Violet Salad inspired by Watercress Pistachio and Orange-Blossom Salad by Chef Yotam Otolenghi: 
I replaced the watercress with spring mix, skipped the herbs and swapped the lemon juice for the mix of the violet vinegar mixed with ½ teaspoon of rose water in otherwise similar dressing, and of course, added some fresh violets. Light, slightly flowery, pistachio crunchy and well-balanced dish to go with toasted bread or the next dish (bacon!).

Inspired by Pork Neck and Bulrushes with Violets and Malt by Chef Redzepi:

Most of us have experienced the power of pork and vinegar combination in cooking or marinating. Most of us also love bacon (and some are ready to kill for it). Inspired by Chef René Redzepi’s recipe of Pork Neck and Bulrushes with Violets and Malt from his cookbook NOMA, I cooked the bacon, made a reduction of bacon cooking juice (½ cup) with a mix of apple cider (1 tbsp), violet (1 tsp) and balsamic vinegar (1 tsp) and laced the mix of crisp bacon and crunchy steamed asparagus with it. To die for: 
Inspired by Poulet let au Vinaigre de Vin (Chicken With Wine Vinegar) by Chef Bocuse:
The low-acid violet flavoured vinegar suggested a take on a classic French country dish, which celebrity Chef Paul Bocuse is famous for. I baked it instead of pan frying and replaced tomatoes with scallions for a spring touch. And, of course, I garnished it with some fresh violets – stunner of a great tasty dish! 
Finally, edible violet flowers make glamorous dessert topping on the cakes, muffins, cupcakes, parfait, yogurt, sorbet, ice cream, salted caramel, you name it, as well as the violet essence that can give totally different taste. Check how to make candied violets to use in desserts here. 

I had a wonderful time experimenting with violets and I do hope you will try some of them or that some of them will be an inspiration to you.

Enjoy!
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CUCUMBER ALMOND VIOLET GAZPACHO
Yields: 2 servings
Ingredients:
200 g blanched almonds
200 g white bread, crust removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cucumber
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp violet vinegar (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
10 ice cubes
Salt & pepper
Garnish:
100 g white grapes
50 g blanched almonds
few slivered slices of cucumber
5 fresh violet flowers (optional)
Instructions:
Mix garlic, bread, almonds, cucumber, ice cubes, vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor. Start adding olive oil gradually to reach the right consistency. Taste for the seasoning, ad a bit of extra salt. Put in a fridge for a few hours. Wash the grapes and cut them and almonds in half. Slice the cucumbers very thinly. Garnish the soup with grapes, almonds, strips of cucumber and fresh violets right before serving.
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CHICKEN IN APPLE CIDER AND VIOLET VINEGAR
Yields: 4-6 servings
Ingredients:
1.5 to 1.8 kg chicken parts (preferably free-range)
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to rub the chicken
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup violet vinegar (or champagne, or rice vinegar)
1 bunch (6-8) scallions, chopped
¾ cup chicken stock
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
20 fresh violet flowers for garnish (optional)
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400F. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, rub salt and pepper in and set aside to air dry for at least 30 minutes. Pat dry chicken pieces with paper towels, rub with olive oil. Place (do not crowd) the chicken in a deep baking pan (2-3 inches) greased with 1 tablespoon of butter, skin side down and cook in the oven uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Turn once for another 10 minutes to brown the chicken on all sides.  Add garlic, return to the oven for 5-7 minutes. Gradually add vinegar mix and scallions and return to the oven uncovered for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 350F, cover with aluminum foil and finish roasting in the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and to your taste. Remove the chicken and transfer to warmed platter. Collect the cooking juices, bring them to boil and simmer in a small saucepan to reduce by 1/3. Add remaining butter and adjust the seasoning adding salt, pepper and parsley. Pour over the chicken. Garnish with fresh violets (if available). Serve with roasted or steamed veggies of your choice, a green salad and crusty bread.

No-Bake Maple Power Bites

Viva Maple Syrup! Let me present to you this incredibly simple and nutritious whole food trail mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruits and citrus peel bonded by maple syrup. They make a universal ticket to: have a wholesome breakfast, snack, travel companion or dessert; throw a quick party or picnic; boost your energy or use an instant pick me up; help the sweet tooth craving with nutrient-rich ingredients and much less guilt; trick your kids into eating healthy foods; store with or without the fridge for a long time; and, finally, ignore the store-bought granola once and forever.  
When the Sugar Shack (Cabane a sucre) time arrived this year I had an impulse to partake of some gluttonous a la Picard-esque staples with tons of fat wrapped in additional fat and then rolled in syrup … then after, if still alive, try that famous ostrich egg with the yolk size of a baby’s head at one and only Martin Picard’s Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon… Then it hit me in the face that I’m currently on a ban wagon trying to become a better looking person by Easter and that’s a no-go for all that lard. This is to tell you that the decision to make a healthy snack with wholesome ingredients bonded by maple syrup came naturally upon eliminating 1001 maple recipe ideas from my mind while I was driving back home with a few freshly procured cans of the Canadian liquid gold. 
I wanted to use this syrup in the recipe instead of sugar not only to pay a tribute to our national pride. 
Maple syrup (I’m talking about the natural one of course) is a unique natural sweetener that comes with a whole bunch of added perks. Declared a new superfood few years ago, it has 54 compounds with anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits, including recently discovered Quebecol (yes, named in honor of the province of Quebec) – an antioxidant polyphenol created during boiling sap into syrup.  Sweetener that can lower your cholesterol and give you a boost of iron? Precisely. That’s something unheard of… yet, totally true and therefore – awesome! So how about I use it as a sweetener along with pressed dates and molasses in my new granola power bar?
I took neutral gluten free oats as a background for the mix. Then I added my favorite nuts, seeds and berries to make it nutty-fruity and fun including:  pecan nuts, shredded coconut, pumpkin and hemp seeds, dried goji berries, cranberries and raisins. The tangy chewy candied citrus peel also went in as my latest favorite (and much more than a one-trick pony). The maple syrup, black-strap molasses and pressed dates served as sweetener and bonding agents. Finally, I used the nut oil/butter (coconut/almond) and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla) for savory touch. Here are the visual steps:
You don’t need to be a nutritionist or a dietitian to see that all these ingredients classify as healthy (gluten-free) superfoods in one way or another.  Mixed together, they make a healthier version of whatever you crave most remaining as close to their original whole food form as possible.
Gluten-free, highly nutritional, plus no-bake morsels  requiring only 15 minutes prep time. Do I have to convince you any longer? Now that our 6-months winter is coming to an end there can’t be a better timing for these little treats. Our bodies are deprived from nutrients, vitamins and micro-elements at this point not less than those of almost surreal pack of starving deer I caught on a camera today. 
April 2014: Starving deer are looking for food in the melting snow over the corn field along the highway.
Keep the formula, experiment with ingredients, try to add some other stuff – ultimately, these bites will help you eating your way to a healthier life. Best high-protein treats with no more midday crashes (just don’t eat them during the staff meeting or in front of your boss). Easy, sweet and more than worthy!
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NO-BAKE MAPLE POWER BITES

Yields: 50 to 60 bites depending on a size
Ingredients:
1 cup pure Maple Syrup
½ cup virgin coconut oil, OR canola oil
1/3 cup Black-strap Molasses
1/3 cup pressed dates (optional)
½ cup unsweetened almond butter, OR peanut, OR other nut butter
4 cups rolled oats, regular or gluten-free
½ cup Goji berries, OR dried cranberries, OR tart cherries
½ cup dried currants, OR raisins, OR dried blueberries
1 cup pecan nuts (raw and chopped) OR walnuts, almonds or cashews
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup pumpkin seeds (raw), OR sunflower seeds
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 tsp Himalayan salt
Instructions:
Add maple syrup, molasses, dates, oil, and vanilla to saucepan and warm over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes while you mix other ingredients.
Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, berries, candied citrus peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.
Add nut butter to the syrup mixture and mix well. Remove from the heat and mix into dry ingredients in a large bowl. The mix will be sticky, but after it cools down, you can continue mixing the ingredients with your hands.
Line a 13 by 9 inches pan with a waxed paper. Spread the mixture into a pan evenly. Cover with another piece of wax paper and continue pressing until even across the top. Use a small cutting board that fits in to press the mix into the pan. Refrigerate until firm overnight or up to 24-48 hours. Cut into the bars or bites (rolled between hands) and keep in the airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. If necessary, wrap the bars into a wax paper and secure with twine. The bars/bites will keep in the fridge up to one month.

Healthy (Re)solutions: Pick-Me-Up Lassi

One might not feel like running a mile in this Martian cold weather or going to the gym during the flu outbreak, but…  A glass of a nurturing shake and a bit of morning sun meditation make a great way to start a day on a positive note from my experience. 
I am not talking about classic frozen fruit +ice smoothies–they are quite predictable and, therefore, boring.  They also lack satiety. I am not a breakfast person, for example, so I like to add some extra dimension to my morning drink to wake up and boogie.  As a result, I switched my smoothie (fruit+ ice) to more of a lassi (fruit + yogurt+) style putting everything I wanted to be in there to catch me when I am falling from a sleep/other morning deprivation and help me tune into a productive mood, specifically during the times of the polar vortex. 
I’ve developed a few favorites and even gave my cocktails names depending on their color and taste, i.e. Go-Nuts; Lacoste; Tropical Sunshine, etc. Each of them has a certain nourishing purpose. This one is a particularly good-for-winter drink.  I called it Royal Velvet for its purple color, velvet-like feel, and the elegant taste.  
It’s packed with super-foods, including organic frozen berries (perfect antioxidant), yogurt, almond milk, nuts, seeds, even a slice of fresh ginger and a pinch of clove (both anti-inflammatory) to make sure there is enough of everything in it to make a winning substitute for an over-the-counter supplements I wouldn’t want to reach for.  For the berries, I used frozen blackcurrant grown and picked in our garden (which I was happy to try for the first time this year in a smoothie and was shocked about how good they tasted – otherwise their destiny used to be a garbage can by spring for years – can you believe it?) If you can’t get a hold of blackcurrants, use any best quality frozen purple or red berries of your choice.
I used plain Greek yogurt, almond milk, almonds, hemp and flax seeds for my choice of the balance of caloric and nutritional values,  which you can of course swap for yogurt, milk, nuts and seeds of your choice as long as they tickle your fancy.

The combination of the ingredients is designed to work as a winter guard: support the immune system and combat colds and flu. For an additional strength, I included some brewed Echinacea and rose petal tea (both also collected from our garden last summer) tea in it. It is totally optional, but if you still wish to include it, you can find Echinacea tea or syrup at any organic food store these days. 

For the sweetness, I used an exotic raspberry honey jelly (which I bought at the nearest bee farm last fall  ), but just a pure honey (natural antibiotic) or a maple syrup (antioxidants + zinc) would also make a perfect option. Dates are also a great sweetener addition to this mix if you like. For the final touch, I added a bit of the rose water for a surprising fragrant twist.  Again, I used the one I made last summer, but you can buy rose water in most of the groceries (baking section) today.
Our bodies are xx-something-pounds live chemical labs in need of constant re-fueling, energy and vitality. If we think about them this way, I’m sure many of our New Year’s resolutions would be very much connected with what kind of fuel we charge ourselves with daily. So why not selecting the best ones today in the form of one of the feel-good drinks? The body will thank you immediately for this little gesture of thoughtfulness with a bit more energy. The mind will follow shaking off that frigid twister melancholia. Name it smoothie, lassi, or shake, my point is – give it a try. The payoff will be sweet: one glass and… suddenly…  tout va bien, or, ‘Everything is Fineaccording to this talented Scottish artist… The winter will pass, and then there will be spring and then summer, and fall, and another winter… And that one will go too.
Cheers to the healthy 2014 start and the eternal healing!
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ROYAL VELVET LASSI:
Yields: four standard or two generous servings.
Ingredients:
1+ cup frozen purple (and/or red) berries (blackcurrant, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
½ cup almond milk
2 small ripe bananas (or equal quantity of papaya)
1/3 cup almonds
1 tbsp hemp seeds  
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 thin slice of ginger 
1 pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsp raspberry honey jelly (or honey, or maple syrup)
1/3 cup brewed and cooled Echinacea /Rose Hip tea (or 1 tbsp. Echinacea Elderberry herbal syrup)
1 tsp. rosewater
Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on a high speed until smooth. Taste and adjust thickness and flavors. Dilute with some extra almond milk if necessary. Enjoy!

Time for Apples: Apple Cider Vinegar Treasure

For years, we have been chasing a dream of our own private Garden of Eden, and now that we have it, it keeps us really busy, particularly in fall.  Apple picking is an important season for us: so many things to do with them and so little time in our hands! It is also magical, for each time I am wandering into the garden and catch the aroma of ripening and fermenting fruit it Proust-affects me and triggers some of my best childhood memories. End of summer: still no school, my grandparents collecting a mountain of apples to be processed, clouds of bees and lady bugs dancing around. My grandma in her summer kitchen behind the giant apple press squeezing out and giving me the first glass of the precious amber liquid. I walk through the fields of gold towards an old monastery orchard with my grandpa to learn about varieties of heirloom apples…  Oh, those days of freedom and wonder when you walked bare foot! They seem to be so far away… 

The Quebec climate is perfect to have wonderful orchards and one of the most interesting places to visit in fall in our neck of woods is a simple cider mill. Already busy with our own garden, I am not interested in going somewhere unless I can squeeze in a visit to an apple farm or a cidrerie.  
 A lovely short trip to the country is worthy of a lifted glass of a great apple cider at the place like, Michel Jodoin, for example, but there are so many, just minutes away from Montreal.
Spring, summer, fall or winter – there is something immaculate about the strait cascades of the apple trees in every season.  Anytime, I am ready to enjoy a humble winter silence of an orchard, a spring flower blossom, a comforting green shade in summer and, finally, the proverbial fruit that attracts zillions of living creatures to share the fermented apples feast.  Even elk or moose are no exceptions!

Our latest fall hobby is making our own apple cider vinegar.  There is absolutely nothing to making apple cider vinegar and many people I know are starting to do it too.  You just need some organic apples and a bit of patience. Fermenting is a new canning.  The importance of probiotics is sweeping our planet and comes closer and closer into focus. Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles – they are all good, but a homemade apple cider vinegar holds a very special place in my kitchen.  A spoon of a homemade apple cider vinegar added to a stock, stew, anything braised or roasted, makes wonders to the dish acting as a an enhancer and stabilizer of a flavour and bringing the best out of the cooking process. For me, it’s a truly revolutionary ingredient. You can officially ban the MSG once you have your own organic apple cider vinegar in your pantry.

The rule of thumb is: 4 weeks to make alcohol, plus 4 weeks to turn alcohol into the vinegar. If you are using a freshly pressed juice from organic apples, just roughly filter the juice, add one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to the ¾ full wide-mouthed one gallon jar of a juice. Fix the top of a jar with a cheese cloth/cotton linen and elastic to prevent Drosophila, the little fruit flies, which will surely appear in mass. Place the jar/s in a dark (I am keeping them on the garage shelves) at a room temperature for 4-6 weeks. You will surely notice the musty aroma of fermenting apple juice while the sugar will be transforming into alcohol. After 4-6 weeks, filter the liquid through the cheesecloth and sieve and return to the clean washed jar. Cover back with a cheesecloth or linen and place it again in the dark place at the room temperature, for another 4 weeks to complete the fermentation process.  By the end of 4th week your apple cider vinegar is ready.  Do not filter it, just transfer the liquid to the dark bottles and store it in your pantry. The best is to visualize the steps for you, so here you are:
If you are living in an apartment and don’t have your own apple trees, you can equally use just cores and peels from organic apples (collect them in the zip lock bag in the freezer until you have enough amount to fill up the large-mouth glass jar of the selected to ½ (half full)). When ready and the apple scraps are in the jar, add some filtered water enough to submerge apple scraps but to not exceed ¾ of a jar.  Sprinkle sugar, or add organic honey (approximately ¼ cup sugar to each 1 quart (4 cups) of water). Add a tablespoon of a good quality organic apple cider vinegar to jump start the fermentation process.  Mix well with the wooden spatula, cover the jar with triple layer of a cheese cloth or a piece of linen and fix with elastic or band. Place in the dark warm (room temperature) room for 4-6 weeks. I store the jars in our garage in the wooden wine boxes on the shelves and cover the jars with pierced brown paper bags to make sure the light is not inhibiting the growth of bacteria and slowing down the process.  If you use the freshly squeezed clear apple juice, there is no need to mix the liquid once a day, but with scraps, you have to mix it once a day to assist the fermentation process.
After 4-5 weeks the scraps will start to sink to the bottom. At this point you filter the liquid through the sieve covered with a cheese cloth or paper towel.  Rinse the jar with cold water, return the strained liquid to it, cover with linen or cheesecloth again and let it ferment in a warm dark place for another 4 weeks.  No need to mix the liquid anymore, within 4 weeks it will transform into live vinegar with the mother formed on the surface of the ferment.  You will notice some sediment at the bottom of a jar. Do not filter it, because the mother of the vinegar needs this environment to stay alive.  As long as it is there, you can use some to start another batch of apple cider vinegar. Store the final product in the dark (preferably) glass or plastic containers from the former apple cider vinegar and place on your pantry shelf.  Enjoy it in salad dressings, stews, soups and other dishes.  Or, as your daily diet partner: a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in a bottle of water to help your cholesterol level. Even as a beauty product, such as, a hair rinse. Check these lists of benefits of apple cider vinegar for some interesting tips.