Even though my kids hate the smell, (and really, who likes the smell of vinegar?) I can’t get enough of this useful liquid.
I like Bragg’s brand in particular because it is organic and easy to find. It keeps forever if you don’t use it often, but you might find you get hooked once you start using it.
When I prepare dry beans or oatmeal, I always soak them overnight in a mixture of warm water with a splash or two of apple cider vinegar. This allows the food to ferment slightly, which makes it more easily digestible. This process also breaks down the anti-nutrients that are naturally present in many dry goods such as whole grains, legumes and nuts. Anti-nutrients work for the good of the seed: that’s one of the reasons they can be stored for so long without sprouting or going bad. Anti-nutrients aren’t so great for us, though, because when consumed without proper preparation they can bind with minerals in our bodies, eventually causing depletion. The peoples of traditional cultures knew this, and often soaked or fermented their foods (think of traditional sourdough bread or sauerkraut).
I don’t use apple cider vinegar often for salads, but I love a good, homemade balsamic dressing.
Bone broth is so nourishing and easy to prepare. Even if you don’t do much cooking you can easily keep a batch of perpetual broth going in your slow cooker. For the recipe at its simplest, just throw the picked over bones of a rotisserie chicken or beef roast into your slow cooker, cover with filtered water, and add a splash of organic vinegar. Let it come to a boil, turn it down to low, and replenish the water as you use broth or as it evaporates away. Sometimes I add herbs, onions, or other vegetables, but usually I just keep it simple. Vinegar helps minerals naturally present in bones to release into the broth. Use your homemade bone broth in soups, stews, and sauces, as a liquid for cooking rice, or sprinkled with sea salt as a nourishing beverage.
Did you know vinegar is a great antibacterial? Due to its high acidity, many germs and other yukky things can’t survive in vinegar. I use the cheap gallons of white vinegar mixed with water to mop floors, to cut mineral stains in the shower and as a replacement to fabric softener in my washing machine. It softens clothes and also helps to keep the washer clean. I have a front loader, and in the years I used traditional fabric softener I had to clean mildew out of the drawer frequently. Not anymore! Vinegar can also be used to make your own homemade counter top spray for kitchens and bathrooms. I’ll post a recipe for that in an upcoming post.
Sometimes my dishwasher gets all gunked up (technical term.) I use two cups straight white vinegar in an empty cycle to dislodge the major grime, and then wipe around door edges and seals with straight vinegar on a cloth or paper towel. This can also help with rust stains from hard water, if you have that problem.
Diluted apple cider vinegar (preferably organic, raw and unfiltered) is also great for your skin. With a ph naturally close to that of your skin, apple cider vinegar works well as a toner post-cleanse or as a hair rinse to restore shine. I also use a little ACV straight to dab on blemishes for a natural solution that I find helps them to clear up more quickly. I have also heard that repeated application can cure warts, although I have not tried it.
So there you have it. How do you use vinegar? Have I forgotten anything?