Whole Kitchen: Apple Cider Vinegar. The benefits of apple cider vinegar abound: it’s a boost to the digestive system, keeps the body’s pH in balance and tastes great on a salad. If you have a little patience, it’s also easy to brew at home.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is well regarded for its health-boosting goodness – a panacea of sorts as it provides an array of benefits. In its raw form, apple cider vinegar is a lacto-fermented tonic providing a flush of probiotics for the digestive system. It helps to keep the body’s acid/alkaline balance in equilibrium due to its alkalising effects. And it is recognised as a digestive aid to be consumed before or with a meal, as it increases bile production to emulsify fats in food so they are better assimilated in the body.
Another of its effects is to boost digestive juices in all forms, most noticeably saliva that contains enzymes to begin the breakdown of food before it enters the digestive tract. Apple cider vinegar is most commonly consumed as a morning tonic. It can be taken as a neat shot, although this is not to every person’s taste, so mixing it with warm water and a little honey helps the medicine go down. Some find drinking apple cider vinegar difficult on an empty stomach, so combining it with water and sipping while eating breakfast will make it more palatable.
It can also be added to a smoothie or sauces, and makes a wonderful dressing for tossing through tender greens or a warm roasted root vegetable salad.
How to use apple cider vinegar
Morning cider honey tonic: Combine 1 teaspoon raw honey, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 100ml warm water. Sip before or with breakfast.
Fire water: Try this for a sore throat: 1 teaspoon fresh turmeric finely grated or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, pinch of cayenne powder and sea salt, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 100ml warm water. Sip throughout the day.
Apple cider vinaigrette: In a jar, mix 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon raw honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil. Shake well and season to taste. Use within 1 week.
Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar
Makes approx 500ml
4-5 organic apples,
roughly chopped into 2cm chunks (skin, core and pips included)
2 tbsps unrefined sugar (for example rapadura, muscovado or coconut sugar)
100ml boiling water
400ml cold filtered water
2 litre jar 250-300ml jar
String or rubber band
Thoroughly wash a large 2 litre jar and rinse with hot water to remove soap residue. Air dry on a rack while preparing the apples. Chop 4-5 organic apples into 2cm chunks.
Place the chopped apples into the jar. Remember to leave the skin and pips intact – these are an important part of the fermentation process.
Place 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar into a 2 cup capacity heatproof jug and cover with 100ml boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add 400ml cold water and stir to combine. Pour sugar water over the jar of chopped apples, topping up with a little extra cold filtered water if need to completely submerge the apples.
Fill a 250-300ml jar with filtered water and place it inside the larger jar to completely submerge the apples. Any apples exposed to the air can grow mould and spoil the batch of vinegar.
Cover with two layers of cheesecloth and secure with an elastic band or string. Keep in a dark pantry or cupboard for around 3 weeks until the liquid begins to smell sweetly sour.
Strain the liquid and discard the spent apple pieces. It is okay if a thin layer of scum collects on the surface, but not mould (discard the whole batch if this happens).
Clean jar and refill with strained liquid. Cover, secure cheesecloth and return to the pantry for a further 3-6 weeks (depending on season and temperature) until vinegar sours to your liking.
Once a week, stir with a non-metal spoon. During this time, a “mother” will appear. This can be used for a new batch instead of apples, or use ½ cup finished apple cider to start a batch.