By Siobhan Adcock
You probably already love your white vinegar for its house-cleaning superpowers and your balsamic vinegar for the intense flavor it lends to salads and veggie dishes, but versatile, budget-friendly apple cider vinegar is the ultimate multi-tasker. Each bottle has over a dozen uses around the house, in your health and beauty routine, and, of course, in your food. Apple cider vinegar’s health-boosting combination of enzymes, acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics, and good bacteria has been shown to help regulate blood sugar, promote a healthy gut, and support immune function…and that’s just for starters.
Look for organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. You want to see lots of little floating bits at the bottom of the bottle—this enzyme sediment, called “the mother,” packs major health benefits. And don’t forget to dilute: Taken straight, the acids in apple cider vinegar can harm your esophagus and tooth enamel. Read on for the health, beauty, and home benefits, and five ways to add to your daily diet. The cider house rules!
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup of herbal tea or water before or after a meal, and add honey to cut the sourness. Just one daily dose does all this:
- Fight Indigestion, Bloating, Constipation, and Heartburn: No more suffering from a bad stomach. Its enzymes and probiotics promote healthy bacteria and digestive health.
- Regulate Blood Sugar: The vinegar has anti-glycemic powers that can help you feel full after a meal longer, and may also be helpful for managing diabetes.
- Promote Heart Health: As a potent source of polyphenols, it may help fight cholesterol to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Stop a Cold in Its Tracks: It helps break down mucus and clear sinuses, and also has antibacterial properties that help fight sinus infections.
Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Clearer Skin: Use a cotton ball to wipe skin with the vinegar, just as you would any toner or astringent. Its antibacterial properties help fight acne flare-ups.
- Sunburn Relief: Apply it directly to sunburn for cool relief, or pour a cup of it into a lukewarm bath with a drop of your favorite essential oil for all-over skin soothing.
- Shinier Hair: A weekly rinse with 2 tablespoons helps fight product buildup and leaves hair soft and shiny.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar Around the House
- All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle, and you’ve got a powerful, all-natural disinfectant that’s safe to use on any non-porous surface.
- Fruit Fly Trap: Pour a half-cup into a bowl and top with a drop of dish soap. Fruit flies are attracted by the smell, but can’t escape the sticky layer of soap that floats on the surface.
- Garden Fertilizer: Add it to your watering can for a healthy boost for plants that love acids such as azaleas, rhododendrons, junipers, gardenias and heather.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar in Food
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette: Mix up a delicious, detoxifying salad dressing by whisking 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup olive oil, a tablespoon each of Dijon mustard and honey, and add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in some minced garlic or shallot for extra tang.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Marinade: Try this couldn’t-be-simpler brining recipe for ribs and chops: Mix 1 cup with 2 chopped cloves of garlic, and a heaping spoonful of salt and pepper, then let the meat rest in the brine for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. Or combine 2 tablespoons of the vinegar with 3/4 cup dry white wine, 1/3 cup olive oil, and your favorite aromatics, such as rosemary and garlic, for a tasty overnight marinade for chicken.
- Apple Cider Vinegar in Baked Goods: Especially in vegan recipes that omit eggs, the combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar creates a chemical reaction that lends extra fluffiness to cakes, cookies and quick breads.
- Apple Cider Vinegar in Soups: Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to soups—especially bean soups and root vegetable soups—for a tart, healthful flavor boost.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Pickles: For a quick and easy pickle, combine 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon coarse salt, plus garlic and dill to taste. Then use the brine to pickle sliced cucumbers or any favorite cut veggies (pickled cauliflower florets or sliced carrots are delicious) in a jar in the fridge.