The Basics

What is Vinegar?

It is intriguing to think that in today’s computerized, sophisticated world, we’re still using one product which was discovered - quite by chance - more than 10,000 years ago.

Vinegar. Simplicity itself (though its manufacture today is anything but.) The French said it succinctly: vinaigre - meaning sour wine. That is its origin, the discovery that a cask of wine gone past its time had turned to a wonderful new product. Through the centuries vinegar has been produced from many other materials including molasses, sorghum, fruits, berries, melons, coconut, honey, beer, maple syrup, potatoes, beets, malt, grains and whey. But the principle remains unchanged - fermentation of natural sugars to alcohol and then secondary fermentation to vinegar.

The ancients were quick to find the remarkable versatility of vinegar. The Babylonians used it as a preservative and as a condiment and it was they who began flavoring it with herbs. Roman legionnaires used it as a beverage. Cleopatra demonstrated its solvent property by dissolving precious pearls in it to win a wager that she could consume a fortune in a single meal. Hippocrates extolled its medicinal qualities and, indeed, it was probably one of our earliest remedies. Biblical references show how it was much used for its soothing and healing properties. And when Hannibal crossed the Alps, it was vinegar which helped pave the way. Obstructive boulders were heated and doused with vinegar, which cracked and crumbled them.

As recently as World War I, vinegar was being used to treat wounds. And today it is recommended for treatment of rashes, bites and other minor ailments when camping.

How is Vinegar Made?

Vinegar is made by two distinct biochemical processes, both the result of the action of microorganisms. The first process is brought about by the action of yeasts, which change natural sugars to alcohol under controlled conditions. This is called the alcoholic fermentation. The second process results from the action of a group of bacteria ("Acetobacter") upon the alcohol portion, converting it to acid. This is the acetic or acid fermentation that forms vinegar. Proper bacterial cultures are important; timing is important; and fermentation should be carefully controlled.

Vinegar can be made from any fruit, or from any material containing sugar. The following recognized varieties of vinegar are classified according to material from which they are made and method of manufacturing: Vinegar made from the two-fold fermentation of the juices of various fruits. Apple juice is most commonly used, but other notable fruits, such as grapes, peaches and berries are very satisfactory. Labels will describe starting materials, such as "apple cider vinegar," or "wine vinegar" or "rice wine vinegar."

  • Malt vinegar, made by the two-fold fermentation of barley malt or other cereals where starch has been converted to maltose.
  • Sugar vinegar, made by the two-fold fermentation of solutions of sugar syrup or molasses.
  • Spirit or distilled vinegar, made by the acetic fermentation of dilute distilled alcohol.

What is "Mother"?

"Mother" of vinegar will naturally occur in vinegar products as the result of the vinegar bacteria itself. Mother is actually cellulose (a natural carbohydrate which is the fiber in foods like celery and lettuce) produced by the harmless vinegar bacteria. Today, most manufacturers pasteurize their product before bottling to prevent these bacteria from forming mother while sitting on the grocery store shelf.

After opening, you may notice mother beginning to form. Vinegar containing mother is not harmful or spoiled. Just remove the substance by filtering and continue to enjoy the product.

How long does vinegar last?

It confirmed that its shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. White vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. And, while some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as color changes or the development of a haze or sediment, this is only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used with confidence.

What is Balsamic Vinegar?

True Balsamic Vinegar only comes from Modena and Reggio in the northern part of Italy, near the gulf of Genoa. It is made from unfermented juice from white grapes know as "must" which has high sugar content and is typically found in trebbiano grapes.

When the juice begins to ferment, it is cooked in a copper kettle until about one-third of it has evaporated. Bacteria culture is usually obtained by adding vinegar which contains active bacteria. Finally, the balsamic vinegar is placed in wooden barrels to age. Here, it will evaporate by about 10% per year. Thus, 12-25 years later a 100-liter container has been reduced to 15 liters.

During the aging process, as the vinegar evaporates it is transferred to smaller barrels. It starts out in oak barrels and sometimes is transferred to cherry wood for its sweetness, then perhaps mulberry and juniper for their spicy aromas, or ash for its sense of propriety.

True balsamic vinegar is very dark in color, has a sweet, fruity flavor and a syrupy-type consistency. Surprisingly, true balsamic vinegar is usually not found in super markets. There, one will generally find commercial grade balsamic vinegar that is made up of red wine vinegar mixed with must and caramel. About 75% of commercial grade balsamic vinegar is pure red wine vinegar with no must. Commercial grade is much lighter in color and has a strong acid taste and smell to it.

Twelve years is the minimum aging for true balsamic vinegar. If you see extravecchio (extra old), it means it is over twenty-five years old. You will find it sold only in 100 ml bottles and the product from Modena uniformly uses bottles designed by Giorgetto Giugiario.

The absolute premium product is Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (ABT). The key word to focus on is Tradizionale, because that is the one guarantee you have bought the "real thing", a condiment formerly reserved for nobility, the highest art of vinegar production and whose creation is carefully regulated by a five member taste panel which assigns the coveted labels and/or caps and fills the bottles themselves to prevent any shenanigans.

Quick recap.

The procedure for super-premium balsamic vinegar is:

  1. Pure Trebbiano grape juice
  2. Reduced in an open container with nothing added except perhaps a little "mother"
  3. Aged in a variety of flavor enhancing wooden casks
  4. For a minimum of twelve years to complete the maturing/mellowing of the vinegar. If it passes the taste test of the five randomly chosen (but from a board of carefully trained tasters), it shall be granted the right to be called "Tradizionale".

Old Time Weight Loss

The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet is a diet, while being called a fad diet, has existed since well into the early part of the 19th century, when Lord Byron popularized the use of the 'diet miracle'. Even Hippocrates was known to use it as a health tonic, and American soldiers used it to beat indigestion, pneumonia and scurvy.

The concept of the diet is essentially based on the premise of 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'; however, rather than an apple, it is Apple Cider Vinegar, which is also called cider vinegar and acetic acid.

Apple cider vinegar is made from the vinegar that is a byproduct of the fermentation of apple cider. During the process, apple cider is broken down into alcohol and vinegar. The vinegar contains acetic acid, some lactic acid, as well as citric acid.

Apple cider vinegar is light yellow-brown in color and is usually sold without being filtered or pasteurized. Typically, it is sold online or in health food stores. While other types of vinegar are used for cooking, apple cider vinegar is only used for health.

The process of drinking the acid has many claims attached to it, including ways to ward off diabetes and cancer, however much of that has not been proven conclusively, so it is best to learn as much as you can about it before hand. Either way, it can't hurt to have something that comes directly from nature, only doing you good.

We are talking about something here that has shown itself to be popular for thousands of years, from Hippocrates to Lord Byron, and even to the 1970s when it proved to be popular again thanks to many books that suggested it can be way to lose weight when it is used with kelp, vitamin B6 and lecithin.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been around for many years. Egyptians used it in 3000 BCE... Julius Caeser's army used an apple cider vinegar tonic to keep healthy and to fight off disease... Hippocrates used apple cider vinegar to treat

All Natural Apple Cider Vinegar

All Natural Apple Cider Vinegar

many conditions... and Christopher Columbus used apple cider vinegar on his boat to prevent scurvy and disinfect wounds.

So it has been used for years to benefit many different ailments.

You can find it in the grocery store very easily, however, please be aware that most of the apple cider vinegar found in the grocery store does not benefit you much.

Let me explain why.

Because apple cider vinegar didn't look pretty, they decided to "clean it out"... take the "mother" out (I'll explain what "mother" is later) ... so it would look pretty... and then sell it that way. Their theory was, if it looks more appealing, more people will buy it. What they didn't realize was by taking the "mother" out of it, they just ruined the benefits of it.

Make sure you buy "raw" apple cider vinegar. You can get this kind at the health store. One kind that is very popular is Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. It has the "mother" in it. That is the kind that is very beneficial to your body. The "mother" is what benefits you the most. Think of it as if it were your own "mother". When you were small, your mother helped you when you couldn't. Without a mother (or caretaker), we wouldn't make it in this world as babies. It's the same thing with the "mother" in the vinegar. Without the mother, the vinegar would be useless... and most that is sold today is.



Vinegar and Pet Urine

Mary Telford of NSW, Australia writes:

I work part-time in a pet motel in my lovely homestate of NSW, Australia and I get asked on a semi-regular basis how to get rid of cat urine odor.

The answer is quite simple, and one that our dear old grandmothers knew back in the day before supermarkets and harsh chemicals were proliferated. In fact, grandma's cleaning materials were often limited to just four simple items in the cupboard! The way I am about to tell you how to get rid of cat urine odor uses just two of those natural ingredients. The first is vinegar, the second is baking soda.

A common way to get rid of cat urine odor, is to simply wash the area with a 50-50 mix of warm water and vinegar. The vinegar tends to neutralize the acid in the cat urine and thus get rid of the cat urine odor. If you are left with the smell of vinegar then your strength of vinegar was too high. More vinegar does not mean more cleaning power - it means more imbalance. Here balance between the vinegar and the cat urine is what we are trying to achieve.

Another common way to get rid of cat urine is to wash the area with warm water and baking soda. The baking soda is often used as a natural de-odoriser.

My own personal preference is to use the water-vinegar approach first and then sprinkle dry baking soda onto the are followed by a quick vacuum. With a little practice this method will quickly get rid of cat urine odor and cost you just pennies!

Want more recipes for more stubborn cat urine odor? Stale cat urine stains not shifting? Be surprised at how simple the answer is by clicking here Or if you simply want to avoid future embarrassments for your cat,  train your cat - including how to train her to use the human toilet!