What’s Cider Vinegar?

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Cider vinegar is made from fermented cider and is a popular condiment. It has health benefits due to the acetic acid bacteria that make it, but some claims are dubious. It is also used in cooking and as a disinfectant.

Cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from cider, typically cider made with apples. Cider is a liquid produced by squeezing fresh fruit. If left to ferment, the cider will become alcoholic and if oxidized and fermented correctly, the alcoholic cider will become vinegar. Cider vinegar has been produced for centuries in numerous nations, along with other vinegar products. It is a rich golden to brown color and should be stored in a dark, cool place such as a closet until ready to use.

The word “vinegar” comes from a French term, vin aigre, which means “sour wine”. Many of the earliest vinegars were made from wine batches, particularly those that had gone bad, and wine vinegar is still a popular condiment throughout the Mediterranean. Cider vinegar was also probably an early discovery, given the ease with which cider can become alcoholic and thus convert to vinegar under imperfect storage conditions. As a condiment, vinegar remains eternally popular in many countries.

Many health claims are associated with cider vinegar in particular, likely because it’s fermented in a long process that generates mother vinegar, a bacterial slime that forms on top of the vinegar as it ferments. The mother of vinegar is harmless and tasteless, and some people believe that the acetic acid bacteria that make it beneficial. For this reason, cider vinegars are often sold unfiltered, allowing consumers to choose whether or not to consume the mother of vinegar.

As a cooking ingredient, cider vinegar shows up in many dishes. It has a smooth, slightly acidic flavor that complements some foods. Additionally, it has historically been used as a disinfectant, along with many other vinegars. This is a valid medical use for cider vinegar, especially if no better disinfectant is available. It has also been shown to be helpful in reducing inflammation, when applied in the form of a compress to the inflamed area. For some injuries, it may be more effective than ice and other traditional anti-inflammatories.

Other health claims for cider vinegar are more dubious. Many dieters use it, claiming it induces a feeling of fullness and promotes health. Also, some people use it in skin care, due to its astringent properties. However, it can damage sensitive skin and is extremely painful if it gets into the eyes and this use is not recommended.

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