Cider vinegar is easy to make at home and very good for your overall health. I started making it by accident a couple of years ago when I forgot about a batch of apple cider in the hot water cylinder cupboard and when I remembered I found a slimy disc of goo in a couple of the flagons and a distinct vinegary twang to the contents.
This slimy goo is called a “mother” and it is a natural enzyme rich culture made of cellulose and acetic acid. It feeds on the alcohol in the cider, converting it to vinegar and producing a lot of good minerals along the way including potassium.
A mother can occur naturally in any unpasteurized cider that has been left exposed to oxygen or to make sure of your results you can add some of the mother from a previous batch or put a bit of store bought unpasteurized cider vinegar into your own cider to get the ball rolling.
Cover your cider with a piece of cheese cloth to let the oxygen in and leave it in a dark warm place between 15°C – 27°C. Always use sterilized glass jars to brew your vinegar in. It is acidic and will react with metal or plastic. Within a month the contents should have turned to vinegar and you’ll have a slimy little disc of mother culture floating on the top. Gradually over time the mother might run out of food and drop to the bottom of your jar like the picture above but it’s work is done and you still have viable safe vinegar to use.
Cider vinegar has been used as a health tonic for centuries to aid and protect the body as it goes about most parts of it’s business. If you google cider vinegar for health you’ll find a wealth of information. But boiling it down it would seem that cider vinegar promotes health in 3 main ways:
- the acetic and lactic acid give cider vinegar it’s strong antiseptic qualities which deters the growth of unwanted bacteria and also give it the ability to restore the pH of our bodies should we have too much lactic acid present.
- the antioxidants from the apples help protect the body against cancer and cell damage
- the fiber and minerals (potassium in particular) keep our digestive system, metabolism, heart and nerve functions working well
So how should you take it? Don’t drink it neat as it will make you feel sick. Take a tablespoon in a glass of water before a meal and see how you get along with it. Store it away from the light in glass jars and you can put screw lids on once it’s turned to vinegar and you don’t need to fish the mother out. Contrary to some advice on the internet it will keep like this perfectly well for years.
And we didn’t even talk about how great it is to use as a shower cleaner or in pickling and salad dressings! If you haven’t added cider vinegar to your health and home arsenal you really should give it a try.