Today we’re talking about apple cider vinegar, which can help with a recipe as much as it can help with your gut health. Let’s learn a little more about apple cider vinegar, and then we can move back to stuff that actually tastes good!
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (or “ACV” if abbreviations are more your style) is a type of vinegar made with crushed, fermented apples, yeast, and sugar. It’s used as an ingredient in foods such as salad dressings, pickles, and marinades. For ages, people have also used it as a home remedy for everything from fighting germs to preventing heartburn. More recently, research has shown that apple cider vinegar might have some real health benefits, such as helping reduce blood sugar levels and aiding in weight loss. It also supposedly helps catch fruit flies.
How is apple cider vinegar made?
To make apple cider vinegar, you start by making apple cider: Crush a large amount of apples to squeeze out the juice. Then, add yeast to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process. After that, you add bacteria to the mix, which causes it to undergo a secondary fermentation in which the alcohol is converted to acetic acid—this also results in the creation of…the mother.
What is the mother in apple cider vinegar?
The “mother” in apple cider vinegar is a jelly-like layer formed by the acetic acid bacteria. It’s made up of proteins, enzymes, and bacteria (it’s a bit like a kombucha SCOBY, if you’re familiar with that process). If you’re making apple cider vinegar at home, you can use part of a mother to make new batches of apple cider vinegar—hence the name “mother.” It helps birth new ACV! Though some folks strain the mother off, others believe it is the healthiest part of apple cider vinegar.
Does apple cider vinegar go bad?
Surprisingly, kind of! While apple cider vinegar does not technically have an expiration date, it will lose its acidic nature over time, nullifying its best properties. In fact, with enough time and oxygen exposure, raw vinegar will eventually turn into something very close to water. Try it out at your next science fair!
Can you drink apple cider vinegar?
Yes, good ol’ apple cider vinegar is safe to drink when consumed in moderation—we’re talking no more than one to two tablespoons a day. Any more than that and ACV can decrease potassium to hazardous levels. Additionally, it may interact negatively with some medications (including diuretics, laxatives, and certain medications for diabetes and heart disease). But we’re not sure who’s interested in guzzling more than a couple tablespoons of the stuff.
Is apple cider vinegar a probiotic?
Even though some varieties of apple cider vinegar do contain probiotic microorganisms, the vinegar cannot be classified as a probiotic. Since the type and volume of the microorganisms varies too much from bottle to bottle, calling it a probiotic would be misleading. And who wants to be lied to, right?
Even though you’d never want to chug a big glass of the stuff (unless you were in some sort of nasty competition) apple cider vinegar is a great addition to your pantry if you’re making salad dressing, marinade, or are simply trying to live healthier. Just don’t get it confused with plain apple cider, or your Halloween shindig may be boycotted.