Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most ludicrously useful substances on the planet. It’s tasty, tangy and versatile. But what is it? Can you drink it straight? What does it do for you? Read on to find out.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It’s the product of fermenting the juice of crushed apples alongside bacteria and yeast, converting its sugars into alcohol. Then, that alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (of the Acetobacter species).
And fortunately, we happen to sell it - vegan, organic and gluten-free, it’s made from freshly-crushed apples that have been matured for at least three years, containing mother of vinegar (more on that below).
Uses of apple cider vinegar
One of the most versatile fermented liquids on the planet, apple cider vinegar has a heroic CV, and can be used in nutritional, medical and domestic contexts.
Food-wise, you’ll find it used in vinaigrettes, dressings, pickles and chutneys.
A few of the purported benefits of apple cider vinegar are:
Taken before a high-carbohydrate meal, it can slow the rate of stomach emptying and therefore prevent large blood sugar spikes.
It can also be used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), and can be mixed into cranberry juice for this purpose. It can also be used to regulate hormone levels and monthly cycles for those with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
And it can kill pathogens, including harmful types of bacteria. This is why it’s been used for all kinds of cleaning and disinfecting throughout history (Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, was a fan - he used it for wound cleaning, although that’s now known to be a bad idea). These days, you can use it to clean everything - digital screens, scissors, washing machines, clothes, dishes - even your hair.
It has been used as a food preservative too, and can inhibit the growth of bad bacteria like e.coli growing in food.
Can apple cider vinegar help you lose weight?
The main ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, a short-chain fatty acid that dissolves into acetate and hydrogen in your body (that’s a good thing). While the body of research into its effects is still quite young, there have been various studies on animal diets that do show promising results.
It’s been shown to lower blood sugar levels, decrease insulin levels, and improve metabolism in rats. It also seems to help increase the rate of fat burning and suppress appetite. All of these processes aid weight loss in humans, so it’s looking good. And it only has about three calories per tablespoon.
What is the “mother” in apple cider vinegar?
The mother in apple cider vinegar is a product of the fermentation process. It’s a substance made from acetobacter cultures and cellulose, which looks like a sediment or floaty bit in the liquid. You can consume it or choose not to - but these strands are packed with helpful bacteria, protein and enzymes, so we’d recommend it.
How to consume apple cider vinegar
If you’ve been wondering how to take it, good news - it’s not very complicated. In fact, it’s really quite versatile, with a multitude of ways it can be introduced into your diet. .
Should you drink apple cider vinegar every day? You certainly can, and we’d be very happy if you did. The recommended amount is 1-2 tablespoons a day, mixed with water, to make sure you get the full benefits of it. We wouldn’t recommend drinking it totally straight, but you can mix it into juices like cranberry, orange or other citrus-based drinks. And it goes rather well in smoothies too - green, purple, or multicoloured.
Recipes for apple cider vinegar
The first recipe, of course, is to drink a few teaspoons mixed with water. It’s got a tangy, refreshing taste that works nicely a shot or two at a time.
As well as that, why not try using it to create a nice dressing? Give this a go:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
Put them all in a bowl or mixing jug and whisk enthusiastically. Pour over salad to taste. Good enough for your mother - or any family member, really.