Home is where the vinegar is!
Vinegar is one of those condiments whereby for many it's an acquired taste. Whether you love it on your chips or loathe it. Nevertheless, it has become a must-have item in many kitchen cabinets today. A home without vinegar is not a home at all, some say. Vinegar is said to have been discovered around 5000 BC, when unattended grape juice turned into wine and then vinegar. Hippocrates used it to disinfect open wounds while other practitioners in the 1700s used it to treat poison ivy and a whole host of other conditions.
Vinegar means “sour wine” in French and can be made from almost any carbohydrate that can be fermented, including grapes, dates, coconut, potatoes, beetroot, and, of course, apples. Traditionally, vinegar is made through a long, slow fermentation process which can take weeks or even months. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, thus turning the sugars into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobactor). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.
The longer fermentation period allows for the accumulation of a non-toxic slime made up of yeast and acetobacter, known as the mother of vinegar. The 'Mother' of vinegar which resembles a cobweb is an amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar and is responsible for most of its health benefits. It also indicates that your amber coloured vinegar is of the best quality. Most manufacturers pasteurize and filter their vinegar to prevent the mother from forming.
Why choose Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
All vinegars seem alike. However, according to many studies and researches, ACV encompasses more benefits than other vinegar types especially in the field of health and medicine. It has been perhaps the most versatile type of vinegar and is considered a pioneer in health benefits through oral consumption. ACV also contains higher levels of vitamins and minerals plus multiple types of antioxidants called polyphenols which have proven health benefits.
Distilled or white vinegar is a clear, colourless vinegar made from ethanol or laboratory-produced acetic acid and then mixed or diluted in water. It is good for pickling and household cleaning but not a very good vinegar for cooking because of its harsh taste. Red wine vinegar, used in cooking, is usually processed and pasteurised.
Balsamic vinegar is traditionally produced in the city of Modena, Italy. It is made from a concentrated grape juice that is fermented and aged for at least 10 months to develop its flavour. It's health benefits are somewhat similar to ACV, however, it can be quite expensive to buy compared to ACV which is widely available in its unpasteurised probiotic form.
Overall, ACV, the cloudy looking, mild tasting vinegar is the better choice especially if you are planning to consume it.
Benefits and Uses
ACV can not only add another dimension to your cooking, it’s useful for health purposes, cleaning, garden care, hygiene, beauty and much more.
It is rich in bioactive components like acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, caffeic acid, and more, giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and many other beneficial properties.
It is useful in treating diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels; heart disease by lowering triglycerides and VLDL (damaging form of cholesterol); weight loss by increasing the feeling of fullness, increasing metabolism, and reducing water retention. It is great for colds, sore throats and other infections, due to its anti bacterial properties and its ability to break down mucous and reduce mucous formation.
No digestive problem nor acid reflux is a challenge for this vinegar as it rebalances the ph levels in the stomach. The pectin contained in it also soothes intestinal spasms. Skin irritations and wounds, such as insect bites, cuts, poison ivy and sunburn are easily treated. It can even remove warts thanks to its high acetic acid levels. Simply place an ACV soaked cotton wool directly over the wart and leave it there overnight. Repeat this until the wart turns crusty, then dark and eventually falls off.
For a great energy boost try taking diluted ACV (1tbsp ACV in half a glass of water) first thing in the morning. The potassium and the enzymes in the vinegar will banish fatigue and the amino acids may prevent the build up of lactic acid in the body causing tiredness, aches and pains.
You can use it to marinate and ferment foods. It is great in sauces and soups, and is a nice dressing on salads. It is a vital ingredient for a home-made bone broth as it has the ability to extract the essential minerals from the bones during cooking.
ACV is a great natural cleaning aid for your household appliances. It is also great at killing weeds in your garden and neutralising odours in your home. Due to its anti microbial properties it kills unwanted bacteria and pesticides around your fruit and vegetable. By just adding a small amount of ACV to water (1:10) and washing your fruit and vegetables in that solution, you can be rest assure that there will be no nasties lurking around. Just be careful not to wash fragile fruits like berries since they will get damaged in the process.
ACV is a natural alternative to many of your beauty regimes. It can balance the ph level of your scalp thus preventing dandruff. It's a brilliant facial toner and cleanser aiding in the prevention of acne. Its anti inflammatory properties will also aid in fading away acne scars and other bruising. It kills odour causing bacteria so would be great as an underarm deodorant. It is one of the go to products for oral health treating bad breathe, whitening teeth, gum disease, tooth ache and so on. However, it is important to dilute the vinegar as the acidity can damage the teeth as well as the tissues in your mouth and throat.
ACV really is an all rounder condiment, and not only should it be in your kitchen cabinet but in your bathroom cabinet and garden shed as well. So, what they say is true: A home without vinegar is not a home at all. Remember to buy the ACV which contains the 'mother' in the bottle and err on the side of caution when consuming it, always diluting the vinegar before ingesting it.
Recipes for Health
Mix equal part ACV and water and pour into a spray bottle. Spritz on your scalp and wrap a towel around your head. Let it sit for 15 minutes to an hour and then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results.
Remedy for indigestion
1 tsp raw honey
1 tsp ACV
1 glass of warm water
Mix these ingredients together and drink 30 minutes before your meal.
Why not make your own ACV by following the instructions on this link: www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/make-raw-apple-cider-vinegar/