We’ve all heard the old adage: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Turns out, like so many other old wives’ tales, this one has more than a grain of truth in it. And Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – a vinegar made from apples, sugar and yeast that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used as a food preservative, as well as in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes and chutneys because is so flavorsome and zesty – appears to have benefits that go beyond its use as a kitchen staple.
In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the health benefits of ACV. As a home remedy, it has been used to treat a wide range of complaints from varicose veins to sore throats. More recently, there has been considerable research into its ability to help with weight loss, assist with sugar control for diabetics, and improve heart health. Because of the antioxidant properties in polyphenols – a chemical found in vinegar – there have been several studies to try and determine whether apple cider vinegar could also help to prevent or reduce your risk of developing cancer. So far, the results are inconclusive.
Most people make use of store-bought ACV brands. Many of these are pasteurized, and this may result in many of the benefits inherent in ACV our ancestors loved and trusted being lost in the manufacturing process. In addition, if the ACV is packaged in plastic, you may find that the acid in the liquid causes the plastic chemicals to leach into the vinegar.
If you are going to buy apple cider vinegar at the store, you should make a point of only buying it when it is packaged in glass.
Far better, however, would be to buy raw or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. This is not cheap – and you’ll probably be paying for a whole lot of water used to dilute the vinegar.
So, why not buy a whole lot of fresh apple, and make your own. It’s not difficult – if you have access to raw, fresh apples, why not make your own. In fact, you don’t even have to use whole apples. There’s nothing to stop you using the scraps – cores, stems, and seeds – left over from making your apple pie (or whatever) that you were going to throw into the compost (or into the garbage!).
Making apple cider vinegar is not much different to making any other fermented beverage. There are many recipes for making ACV available on the internet. A good tip, however, is to use a selection of different apples, if you can. Mix and match the proportions to come up with a flavor that suits your taste buds. For example, you could use 50% sweet apples (like Golden Delicious or Fuji); 30% sharp tasting apples (Granny Smith, McIntosh) and 20% bitter tasting apples (Dolgo crab apples or Newtown for example). However, you can use whatever apples you are able to get your hands on.
It can take three to four weeks for your raw ACV to get to the right taste. However, once it has fermented, you will have a pure source of ACV at your fingertips – or in your pantry – just as nature intended.