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Apple cider vinegar- the brewed nectar for good health?

When Adam ate the forbidden apple, little did he know that the fruit of immortality will be held in much higher commiseration in the time to follow. The word kindles hope. Somehow sometimes beyond reasonable optimism but yet stands as the true beacon of hope for people looking to shed weight and improve their health.

I grew up in a house where my father was brewing various fruit sirka (vinegars) such as jamun (black plum or stone fruit), sugarcane, mango and apple. We really enjoyed the vegetables marinated in the vinegars not knowing the benefits at that time.

I am talking about Apple cider vinegar, the latest fad or the benefit laden culinary staple, only the time will tell. Organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized  apple cider is packed with health effects ranging from regulating blood sugar to helping tame acid reflux, not to forget the supposed role in promoting weight loss. It is also loaded with antioxidants, probiotics and natural antibiotic properties especially the one prepared with organic apple and remains unfiltered.

Megan Fox and Miranda Kerr vouch for the immense benefits of ACV. Whatever the case, it requires closer scrutiny. Please do stay put for the homemade raw apple cider vinegar recipe which is far better than the absolutely clear liquid branded by big companies. In the end the choice is yours, derived not only from being able to prepare it yourself but to save on the unnecessary cost of import.

So what about the benefits

Apple cider is a fermented product, such fermented foods can play a role in enhancing the colony of gut bacteria. Once the gut flora becomes healthy, there are general benefits which follow. This may also include better weight management, but very little scientific evidence or research has happened in this field to extend credence to the claims of weight loss.

In order to delve deeper, I embarked upon the morning ritual of consuming 2 tbsp of apple cider for three months. I felt good in general but never experienced a significant drop of weight. I guess I reaped the benefit of using a fermented liquid. The Doctors and researchers may say otherwise, I respect their findings and opinion but I hold onto my view ever so gently.

So how about the shiny hair and a treatment for dandruff

My sister recommended to mix in equal part ACV and lemon juice, and to warm the liquid and apply on scalp. Leave it for 30 minutes and shampoo the hair. This remedy was effective, albeit the dandruff returned every third day. I continued this treatment long and can say so that it worked with some degree of success.

Does it work in case of Acid reflux

Acid reflux is due to presence of too little acid required for breaking down the food. To combat this irritating problem, mix 1 tsp of ACV in 1 glass of water and consume two to three times a day. This helps to build the right acidic environment in the stomach to breakdown food.

Making apple cider at home

Unpasteurized, organic and raw ACV can be very costly. You are not only paying premium for the best quality apples but also the time and process involved in making the same. Preparing the same recipe yourself is not only economical but also brings in lots of psychological satisfaction.

One word of caution to use prepare the vinegar when apples are in season. This not only ensures a better quality but also a better price as opposed to the apples from cold storage. Let’s learn how to make it.

I always use a mix of red and green apples, make sure they do not have shining wax on them. Buy from your local market or organic shops.

Recipe

10 mixed apple varieties

Potable water to top

2 cups raw honey (replace with 2 cups organic sugar if not looking for raw variety)

½ cup organic apple cider from the previous bath (else use raw unpasteurized store bought ACV)
2-3 cloves

1 stick cinnamon

3-4 berries all spice

The use of spice depends upon your preference, I like mine with little more flavouring; hence the use of spices.

Steps

  1. Wash the apples, air dry and coarsely chop into pieces. Cores, stems and seeds may be included.
  2. Place the pieces and trimmings into large glass jar with a wide mouth. I avoid using the metal containers as it lends a metallic taste to the final liquid.
  3. Pour in water until the chopped apples are completely submerged and the container is just about full leaving a couple of inches at the top.
  4. Stir in the raw honey / sugar until fully dissolved. Add the spcies. You can use a bar spoon to mix the sweetener completely. Place a fermentation weight or small glass to weigh down the apples. Any apples above the liquid and exposed to the air inside the jar could mold.
  5. Cover the top of the glass jar with muslin/ cheesecloth/ thin white clean towel secured with a string or a rubber band. This will allow the liquid to breathe and keep the fruit flies away. Place them away from sun in the temperature range of 18-25*C (60-77*F).
  6. Leave the jar on the counter for about 2-3 weeks. Bubbles will begin to form as the sugar ferments into alcohol. You will notice the fragrant aroma of fermentation pervading your nostril.
  7. When the apple scraps no longer float and sink to the bottom of the jar, strain out the apple and pour the hard apple cider into a fresh jar large enough to hold the liquid and have good 2-3 inches empty from top. You can compost the apple scrap.
  8. Cover the jar with a fresh piece of cheesecloth and secure. Rest the liquid for another 3 weeks. This enables the conversion of alcohol into acetic acid.
  9. Leave on the counter, stirring the liquid once or twice. If your are more curious to get the ACV correct using precision tools, please note that a good apple cider will have a ph in the range of 3-4. At the lower end it tastes more vinegary and strong. A small amount of sediment on the bottom is quite usual. In addition, a mother culture will form on top, similar to what happens with kombucha.
  10. Taste the vinegar to determine if it is ready after 3 weeks. If it has the right level of vinegar taste for you, strain it one more time and store in clean, glass mason jars or jugs. After 4 weeks, if the taste still isn't quite strong enough, leave it for another week and try again. If you accidentally leave it too long and the taste is too strong, just strain and dilute with some water to a level of acidity that pleases you.
  11. Use as desired for salad dressing, gut health, skin or hair.

And the dressing below for salads

Whisk together ¼ cup homemade apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp homemade mustard, 1 cup extra virgin olive/ salad oil. Season with salt and pepper. The dressing goes very well with all types of salad leaves combined with various nuts or fruits such as pears and apples.

As the case with anything good, we must learn to use the vinegar in moderation.

" Namaste" and happy reading