Monday, February 20, 2017

Apple Cider Vinegar in the Making

My apple cider vinegar start made in a old glass apple cider jar.

 I've wanted to produce my own vinegar for a long time. It is about as all purpose as it gets. You can use it for cleaning in the kitchen or bathroom,  for laundry, and even we have discovered it makes a great hair rinse. The smell disappears when your hair dries. It is a food preservative. You can cook with it. I've decided in my self-sufficiency pursuit, it is a must learn to use and make product. It is suppose to benefit a myriad of health ailments from colds, to lowering cholesterol, to tummy troubles.

One use for vinegar I had no idea about but discovered on the internet as I was browsing is for sugar diabetes. This could be great for when my blood sugars get wanky when my hormones get mixed up. I learned that people with pre-diabetes improved their blood glucose levels with using vinegar at bedtime by nearly half, while people with diabetes cut their blood glucose concentrations by 25%. They need only take a couple tablespoons of water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed with one ounce of cheese. This of course only works for those with type 2 diabetes since it is diet related.

I am of course referring to home brewed vinegar or a few select companies because the store vinegar as a whole has who knows what in it? The live culture which is called a mother has been removed from most store products and the ones that say live culture I am suspicious of since I know yogurt and buttermilk from the store has little if any left alive by the time it arrives in your store.

I've learned that vinegar can be made from any starch and that includes wood. For me that is a disturbing thought. I know that 10% of shredded cheese has wood pulp in it and I don't like that. Now I've learned that vinegar may be made from it too. I would not put manufacturers past it. It would be cheap. I don't know about you but I don't want to be cooking with wood vinegar nor do I want petroleum used to extract more liquid from grains to make vinegar like they do in oil making. What do manufacturers do to make vinegar? I'm not finding the information which makes me suspicious. That alone is motivation to do it myself.

The first summer we moved in to our
new place, I started a batch. Well actually several gallon jugs but thought it had failed so I dumped it. Hind site has now told me that I was indeed very successful but I chose chokecherry juice and could not see what I was creating. I now realize I had a very healthy mother. No, not mother as in my mother but mother as in what you call the culture for making vinegar. It presents itself as a stringy substance or I've seen it as a blob. Some say it is the brown residue at the bottom of the jar. That I don't know. My chokecherry creation had a large blob and oh how I wish I had kept it.  

A little over a month ago I tried again.This time I went to the local Farmer's Market as I heard there was a gentleman who sold homemade vinegar, mother intact. I spoke with him about the process and since he was sold out when I arrived, I made plans to come again. It was a couple Saturdays later before I could get back and a couple more weeks before I could get my own batch started. The quart I purchased was $7.00 which makes it out of my price range to be a regular customer. Think $28 dollars a gallon and I intend on creating a large use for it. I understand that the vinegar might well be priced correctly. It just isn't in my poor woman's budget.

In my hurry to get started amidst the chaos swirling in our lives. I happen to be making the vinegar in the wrong order. I'm also using apple juice that I canned last fall from our trees. The recipes call for starting with apples and then going from there. That means relying on the questionable products of the store. The thing I'm trying to work away from. I have no facility to store apples but a food cellar is definitely high on my priority list.

To me starting with apple juice is just a jump start on the project but what do I know? I'm a newby to vinegar in using it and making it. Two things I do know is that a apple press is definitely in our future and we need more apple trees. We LOVE the homemade juice I made and bottle. We could use a whole lot more apples if we had them so more trees will be planted. Meantime I will beg for left over harvests from others.

Will this batch of vinegar work. I don't know. The more I've read, the more I see that maybe this batch wasn't done quite right but if not, I shall try again. The more I research, the more ideas I'm acquiring for ways I can use vinegar instead of another product.  Homemade ketchup and mustard are in the near future for sure. What is your favorite use for vinegar?

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