Apple cider vinegar is one of the most useful things you can make at home. It is good for your health, has a number of culinary uses and it can be used to keep you and your home clean and healthy too. What's more, apple cider vinegar is great for animals in and around your homestead. Making your own will go a long way towards helping you to live a more sustainable way of life.
Whether you grow your own apples or can easily get your hands on the produce of a local orchard, the good news is that you can eat your apple and preserve it too! You can simply use the cores, peel and other waste from apples you have eaten to make your apple cider vinegar. Click here to read our post on How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar From Scraps.
Once your vinegar is at the acidity level and flavor you like, here are just some of its many uses:
Adding just a tablespoon a day of apple cider vinegar to your diet has been proven to help your health in a number of different ways. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains a web of beneficial proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that can aid weight loss and improve digestion. It lowers blood sugar and aids in the alleviation of type two diabetes, reduces cholesterol and lowers your risk of heart disease. Some studies have also suggested that it can help lower blood pressure. Apple cider vinegar may also have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects and though science has not yet conclusively proven this, there are suggestions that ingesting apple cider vinegar may help to prevent cancer.
In The Kitchen
Fortunately, apple cider vinegar also tastes great and can be used on salads, in juices and in a number of cooked recipes and in preserves such as pickles and chutneys. In cooked recipes, apple cider vinegar can help to create a deep and flavorsome sweet-and-sour flavor, without overwhelming the flavor the way a white vinegar could do.
In our household, we love apple cider vinegar in a range of dressings and dips for use with our fruit and vegetable crisps and crudités. Experiment with the produce from your garden and store-cupboard basics to see which flavors you enjoy. I also use a dash to improve the depth of flavor in a spiced apple pie mix made from our orchard apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
In The Bathroom
Another way in which I always use apple cider vinegar is entirely different to the culinary uses outlined above. For several years now I have been washing and conditioning my hair using bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar. Neither my husband nor I have bought any shampoo or conditioner for a long time and both of us have seen an improvement in the condition and balance of our hair. My hair is thick and beyond waist length. Since I started to use apple cider vinegar (diluted 2/3 water to 1/3 vinegar) as a rinse my hair is easier to brush. It is less oily at the roots and much less dry at the tips. The vinegar has also had a very gentle lightening effect. I would recommend the use of apple cider vinegar in a hair care regime to anyone.
Apple cider vinegar is useful to clean your home too. When my husband and I began our journey to a more sustainable, greener way of life, I decided to switch away from proprietary household cleaners. I how just use bicarbonate of soda, apple cider vinegar and a few essential oils for all of our household cleaning needs. Apple cider vinegar is more gentle than white vinegar and has a more pleasant smell. It can cut through grease and grime and kill harmful bacteria just as effectively as the strong, toxic cleaners on the market.
For Pets and Livestock
Apple cider vinegar can be added to drinking troughs to stop the build up of algae. Although there is no firm evidence of the benefits of adding apple cider vinegar to the drinking water of chickens and other livestock, some believe that it can be beneficial and it is a common folk remedy. Chickens (at least mine) do seem to enjoy the taste of a small amount of apple cider vinegar in their water – perhaps a half tablespoon per gallon. There is anecdotal evidence that it may aid overall chicken health and some have reported an increase in egg production. For pet dogs, apple cider vinegar is also said to be a beneficial dietary additive. It can also be used to help with fungal infections on the paws and other minor skin ailments, though of course if in doubt you should always take animals to a qualified vet.