What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar, or cider vinegar and known for short as ACV, is a food grade natural vinegar made from distilled product of fermented apple juice.
Historically ,the use of food grade vinegar dates back to ancient times with one account suggesting that vinegar made from dates fruits and mixed with honey were used as preservatives, food condiments as well as adding of flavours to vinegar was experimented on then in ancient Babylonia as far back as 5000BCE.
The first documented account of its use for health remedy suggests that it was first done around 400 BC in Greece,by Hippocrates,who used apple cider vinegar mixed with honey to treat illnesses.
The power of apple cider vinegar comes from the way it is produced using microorganisms like yeast and bacteria Acetobacter, its ingredients, acidic, culinary and health properties.
Due to these properties, ACV is anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, along with many awesome uses.
How is Apple Cider alcohol different from Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider alcohol is very different from Apple Cider and Apple cider vinegar even though they are all made from juice squeezed out from crushed Apple fruits.
They each have different tastes.While Apple cider is the somewhat sweet drink made from the juices pressed out from crushed apples, Hard cider is alcoholic and the word “hard” to its name is to differentiate it from the non-alcoholic drink Apple cider
It is made from the alcoholic fermentation of the Apple juice by yeast.
However,ACV is sour to taste because of its vinegar and it is made from the hard Apple cider after the ethanol in the hard Apple cider is converted into vinegar by a bacteria.
How is Apple Cider Vinegar made?
There are two different categories. ACV can be made at home and preserved as it ages or produced in large commercial scale , bottled and shipped to be sold in supermarkets and grocery stores.
The process of producing ACV is similar.
How To Make Home-Made Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is created from apples, sugar and yeast( beer/wine making yeast not bread yeast,please). The apples are crushed with juicer at home to extract the juice directly or sliced then crushed and packed into clean coffe or cheese cloth then squeezed to force out the Apple juice into a clean container.
This juice is mixed with yeast and sugar solution and then sealed to start the process of alcoholic fermentation. Fermentation of Apple juice begins immediately but you will see evidence within 2 days.When you leave undisturbed for 7 days, you notice fermentation slow down and sediments emerge.You can leave up to 2weeks.
After fermentation is completed,decant the cider off the sediment into a clean fermenter. You can proceed to the next step or repeat this fermentation process after a few weeks or whenever you notice that another sediment layer has formed in the container.The longer the process the better the eventual taste.
Cider eventually becomes clear naturally and you decant or siphon off . The sugar in the Apple juice is turned into alcohol to produce hard cider.
A second fermentation process is done on the Hard cider by introducing “mother” from a previous batch or allow the mixture to ferment for a further 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days, before it turns to vinegar (6-8 weeks in total).
As the vinegar ages, it will get stronger and darker in colour, you will also notice some white scum on the top of the mixture, eventually this will be the vinegar ‘mother’ left after the vinegar is filtered. You can save the microbe loaded ‘mother’ it for later which can be used to help ‘inoculate’ your next batch of ACV.
This second fermentation is due to the microbial activity by a bacteria called acetobacter that converts the alcohol in the hard cider into vinegar .
It is this bacteria that create acetic acid, the key substance in vinegar, from the alcohol. So you notice the tast change from alcohol taste to the sour taste in acetic acid in ACV.
At the end of the ACV production, apart from the acetic acid, ACV also contains small amounts of some useful nutirients required by our body such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.
Commercial production of ACV is on a large scale.
The washed apples are fed onto a processing belt where they are crushed, pressed, and the juice separated.
The juice produced is stored in a submerged fermentation tank where the first fermentation process begins.
This yields the alcoholic intermediate product which is later turned acetic acid and vinegar with the aid of Acetobacter bacteria.
The “mother” in this case is an undefined microbial culture left in the vinegar before the mixture is distilled and pasteurized to produce the final ACV which is dispensed into bottles, sealed and packaged for shipping to sell all over the world.
What is ‘Mother’ of Vinegar?
This is a by-product of the second fermentation done in the production of ACV from hard cider. It is mostly made from the scum filtered from the mixture and it is largely made up of a microflora of the acetic acid Acetobacter bacteria that changed the alcohol to vinegar in ACV.
In the instance where it is not completely filtered off, it is because it is believed that during the process of removing the ‘mother’, some useful nutrients are removed as well, so producers try to strike a balance between removing the mother to improve the appearance of the ACV.
However,the presence of the ‘mother’ is a sign to the buyer that the particular vinegar on offer retains more natural goodness and nutrients.
Are there probiotics in ACV?
No doubt, from the roles played microorganisms in the fermentation processes leading to the production of ACV, first fermentation by yeast and Acetobacter in the second fermentation,.
Apple cider vinegar will still contain bacteria and yeast especially if it is in its “raw” state not yet pasteurized and distilled but that doesn’t make it a probiotic that supplies your body beneficial microbes.
However, ACV contains natural sources of B-vitamins and polyphenols antioxidants.
Regardless of no clear basis to suggest that the ACV you buy in bottles are probiotics, they have food grade natural nutrients and acetic acid which are beneficial to our bodies.
Can I drink apple cider vinegar everyday?
Yes you can.Drinking of ACV is beneficial but it must not be consumed in large amounts. Consuming as much as 8 ounces(1 cup) everyday for many years may lead to hypokalemia and osteoporosis as suggested in some reports.
Is it better to drink apple cider vinegar in the morning or at night?
For as long as you are not taking it undiluted or taking the ACV and immediately lying down to sleep (this can increase the chances of gastric and throat irritation) consuming ACV at night is better than drinking it other time of the day.
As most people gain weight in the period of low physical activity, when the ACV increases insulin sensitivity especially at night, it helps reduce both the blood sugar and weight gain.
It has also been reported that it slows down the emptying of the bowel thereby helping you reduce meals intake.
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Apart from the records of its beneficial use right from ancients and modern use in all sorts of recipes, including salad dressings, soups, sauces, hot drinks and more,there are a few health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar supported by science.
1. They contain nutrients and acetic acid which help the body functions.
2. They contain antioxidants which help mop up free radicals floating around in the body thereby helping to prevent premature aging of cells.
3.ACV can help with curing sore throats because of its acidity and antibacterial properties which help kill off the bacteria that could be causing the sore throat in the throat region.
You can try using ACV as home remedy for your sore throat by mixing it with honey or dilute with water and gargle. You can use it to manage halitosis as it acts as a natural deodorant.
4. It has been reported that consuming vinegar after eating a meal that is high in carbohydrates can improve insulin sensitivity by the cells by as much as 34%. This can help lower blood sugar levels and very helpful especially in management of Type 2 diabetes.
5 Consuming ACV may help you reduce your intake of high calories meals thereby helping to reduce your weight and belly fat.
6. If you mix ACV with water in equal ratio and use it to wash your hair, it can help you remove product build up in your hair, loosen tangled hair and restore natural shine to your hair. It’s application on the warts on the skin can help reduce warts.
How do you use apple cider vinegar for weight loss?
It is a low calorie drink unlike alcohol that adds up calories to the body.
For example,about half cup(4 ounces) of apple cider vinegar has about 22 calories, which means you obtain low calories by drinking ACV and boosts your weight loss.
Also, when you add a tablespoon of ACV into a glassful of water and drink first thing in the morning, it may help you burn belly fat.
What are the side effects of drinking apple cider vinegar?
Because of its high acidity,don’t drink it undiluted and when you drink it, it should not be over a long period as it can damage your teeth, hurt your throat, and upset your stomach.
Can you take apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach?
If you are not taking undiluted ACV or dealing with stomach ulcer, taking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach is actually the best way to maximize its health benefits. Some foods and medications actually counteract the effects of the ACV so taking it before meals is preferable. Drinking ACV right after eating food is not recommended as it can delay your digestion process.
If you want to drink it after food, you can wait for at 30 minutes or longer.
When should you not drink apple cider vinegar?
Does apple cider vinegar make you poop?
There’s no credible scientific study to support claims that ACV can be used for relieving constipation. Proponents of ACV as a natural laxative believe that since it contains pectin, a water-soluble fiber, it can help improve bowel movement and aid your digestion.
Does apple cider vinegar affect urine?
It has not been fully established how it helps in the treatment of UTI .However,when consumed, it has the potential to increase the acidity of your urine thereby making the urinary tract hostile to the infectious agent.
How do you mix apple cider vinegar with water?
It is simple and you can experiment with different natural sweeteners and aromatic flavours . Below is the basic recipe.
1- 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
1 cup(8 ounces) of purified or distilled water.
1 to 2 tablespoons sweetener ( honey, maple syrup etc)
If you desire the aromatic taste, add aromatic herbs like ginger, dill, turmeric
Example of brands of Apple Cider Vinegar
Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar,
Vitacost Organic Apple Cider Vinegar,
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider,
Dynamic Health Apple Cider Vinegar With Mother,
White House Apple Cider Vinegar,
Trader Joe’s Organic Pasteurized Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar,
Kevala Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
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