Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar has a reputation for being sourer than wine, but it may be sweet to the skin when applied to soothe a bee or jellyfish sting, or sunburn. There has been little scientific research on the medicinal properties of vinegar but many who use it are convinced of its healing properties, particularly for some skin and digestive ailments. But when it comes to healing, not just any old vinegar will do.
According to Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1886), a simple vinegar lotion made from one part vinegar and one part water is the perfect remedy for bruises. As Mrs Beeton explains, “the active principle of vinegar is an acid produced by the secondary fermentation of liquids of vegetable origin”. The natural sugars of these are fermented to become alcohol and then fermented again to become acetic acid which, when exposed to air over a period of time, becomes vinegar.
When apples are harvested at the Mock Orchard, in the heart of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, they have many destinations and purposes. Each season some are set aside for the special purpose of making the orchard’s unique, biodynamic, apple cider vinegar.
The vinegar is mainly purchased for cooking and medicinal purposes sometimes for people and sometimes for animals. One farmer drives 150 kilometres to the orchard especially to buy the Mock Orchard vinegar as he has found that his cows require fewer assisted births and have a zero birth mortality rate when vinegar is included in their daily feed.
At Mock Orchard, the vinegar apples are placed in large, oak barrels which have a volume of between 4,000 and 6,000 litres. They are carefully watched and monitored for over twelve months as they brew to the required level of fermentation.
This traditional and thorough process creates a live culture called acetobacter. As fourth generation apple farmer Russell Mock explains, the acetobacter (often referred to as the mother) is an essential component if vinegar is to be used for medicinal purposes.
A lot of people don’t realise that for medicinal purposes vinegar must be live and cultured, and brewed in a two-step fermenting process. Often, commercially made vinegar is made through an acetator a quick process taking only about 24 hours. The product is pasteurised vinegar with no live culture. Only vinegar which is still live and is unpasteurised can have any medicinal benefits.
In the fermentation process, the acetobacter culture forms a layer of skin on top of the vinegar and then falls to the bottom, forming sediment at the bottom of the barrel. The sediment improves the quality of the vinegar and the orchards bottled vinegar usually has traces of the sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
Good vinegar can assist to alkalise the body, when necessary, but can only do this if its own acidic properties are correct. Whether you have been recommended vinegar treatments for skin or digestive ailments, or as a general health tonic, get advice from a qualified practitioner about how vinegar treatments may best assist you. And think before you buy look for vinegar brewed with a live culture, that is unpasteurised.