Apple Cider Vinegar - The Story...
Once upon a time……. Not!!!
It didn’t start like that, but almost! For many years I really wanted to be able to avail of the many known benefits of good apple cider vinegar. But, I simply could not take the vile stuff found in the shops into my body.
It was rejected by my stomach – probably because in my mind I knew it was made by machines in factories, sterilized containers (plastic?), chlorinated water (pure poison!), faceless, nameless and lifeless – it would emerge as murky a substance as reflecting the place in which it was conceived.
I have spent years (rant alert!!!) following the seasons fasting, detoxing, clearing, cleaning, growing, searching for the best diet, foods, methods and most importantly -- the cleanest water that would satisfy my body’s requirements -- to preserve & sustain life.
I know enough about food production (BSc hons degree in the stuff) to see how anything that comes from a factory is produced using sterile, chemically treated (read; lifeless) water. The very liquid I have been steering clear of and protecting my family from, for years.
I would rather drink water from a ditch, than drink water from a tap.
Our bodies are mostly water, this is the matrix of life, our backbone is not jelly, but pure H2O. We need this universal solvent for all internal functions, to transport vitamins & minerals into and out of our cells and to maintain homeostasis or balance and to detox.
Our very lives depend on it. So, how could we alter, change or compromise on this elixir? We can’t, at least not without a very great price being paid. But, I digress! Back to the story.
So…..what was an intuitive, nutritionist natural rebel food scientist (did I mention rebel?) to do? I had to create my own vinegar of course!
At first I was simply intrigued, I mean, how difficult could any of this fermenting business be? People have been making and preserving healthful living foods for millennia, long before we had food processors and fridges, so it couldn’t be that difficult (right?!).
Besides, I had the internet as a vast resource – someone, somewhere would have it written down and I could just follow the instructions when I found them……
I started doing some research. And I read books, re-read them actually and did even more research. I ended up going past page 1 on Google, I remember one search session finding me on page 13. The gist of what I discovered about making my own vinegar from scratch (this was a few years ago) was this;
Go buy Braggs vinegar with the mother. Pour this into a wide mouth jar, add sugar, apples or juice, water and wait.
This was all fine, with a couple of basic problems. I didn’t want anyone else’s MOTHER, I wanted my very own, West Cork Mother. I also didn’t find anyone mentioning the important facts about using clean water, the right time of year or steering clear of fermenting in plastic.
Undeterred, I carried on with my plan, I was going to make my own Apple Cider Vinegar and I was doing it from scratch.
I started gathering jars and jugs and looking into fermentation containers. All the while I was learning, figuring things out and deepening my understanding of the processes involved.
The beautiful, alchemical, magical, natural, wild fermentation process
Eventually I did a very simple thing based on one little fact.
I wanted to capture bacteria and wild yeast from the garden (atmosphere is important to this) to form the basis of the symbiotic culture (SCOBY) of a vinegar mother. To accomplish this I placed a few jars in a tree that had brown paper lining the bottom with a dollop of molasses.
The jars were left open to the elements for 24 hours (it rained, of course, this is Ireland) and then covered over with muslin cloth which was secured with a band.
By this time, ants, flies, bugs, bits of leaves, dust and a few other critters had managed to discover the jars. I had my fingers crossed the right kind of vinegar flies had also visited.
So I waited.
After about 30 days, I was very pleased to discover some of the jars smelled faintly like vinegar. I took these inside – carefully strained out the liquid through layers of cloth and used this liquid together with water, apples, sugar and hope to get my ferment together.
The rest is history as they say. Within a few weeks I had a gentle West Cork mother growing covering the surface of my very first apple cider vinegar. Over the next few months I tweaked my methods, got to know my Mother’s likes and dislikes and managed to keep her alive.
She has taken us from darkness into light as far as re-discovering the lost world of gut microbes is concerned.
Life in a jar of water
We now produce many hundreds of litres of apple cider vinegars every few months – and several different kinds with wonderful benefits. The original earth Mother lives amongst us, once again!
How we Use Apple Cider Vinegar
We have come to rely on our Apple Cider Vinegar for nearly everything, daily I am finding more uses for it. In a typical day I use a cotton ball for an apple cider vinegar face wash. If someone has a cold sore or a skin blemish – ACV goes on that too.
We rinse our hair with it once a week and it goes into the bath water for soft and balanced skin. I have made concoctions of herbs together with my ACVinegar to cleanse the scalp and put a shine on our hair.
Trouble with a tooth or inside the mouth? An apple cider vinegar & sea salt rinse a couple times a day does wonders and quickly.
It appears to regulate the pH of our skins surfaces – mucous membranes like inside the mouth as well as the lining of the gut especially. So, it works great for upset tummies, bugs, diarrhea, wind or gas and certainly indigestion or over indulging.
Every single day I take a couple spoons of it in water or neat, first thing in the morning. It sets my day up – over the years of taking ACV regularly I’ve noticed I do not have aches and pains, my joints are stronger. My thinking is clearer.
When I feel a cold or bug coming on, I take a little extra. I’ve been known to put a small bottle of vinegar in my pocket and sip it throughout the day.
My hangover cures on Saturday morning in the farmers market in Skibbereen are legendary! I make up a shot of my strongest ACV with kombucha and some of my Hydrated Clay or juices available on my stall free of charge for anyone coming to me with a hangover.
It always sorts things out enough to get through the day and usually in 20 minutes or so! (
You know who you are! LOL)
This stuff has changed my life, changed the lining of my stomach, changed my thinking about how I treat my body, changed my mind about all things related to healing and continues to show me the inner workings of nature time and again.
Isn't nature wonderful?