November 1st is National Vinegar Day! With so many uses and benefits, it’s about time vinegar had its own special day.
Vinegar is made by fermenting sugar past the point of forming alcohol until it forms acetic acid. Vinegar can be made from many sources including wine, fruit, rice, honey and more! People have been consuming vinegar for thousands of years as a beverage, a condiment, and as a health tonic.
The benefits of vinegar continue to be studied, but recent literature confirms that vinegar eaten as part of a meal may help your body process carbs in a healthier way and may improve feelings satiety after meals (making you less hungry between meals). These studies do not support vinegar as a treatment for diabetes, but they do show that a healthy diet high in acetic acid (vinegar) can help you stay healthy. Some people also report improvement in acid reflux symptoms after using vinegar, but there are no conclusive studies to confirm its effectiveness.
There are many ways to consume vinegar. Drinking vinegars and vinegar-based beverages date back to ancient Greece where vinegar was mixed with honey and herbs and consumed as a daily tonic called oxymel (modern recipes are still available!).
Another drink of fruit and vinegar called a shrub has been popular for hundreds of years (if not longer!). Today, vinegar-based drinks are available at the grocery store, but they are simple to make at home for a fraction of the cost. Check out the recipe below for a seasonal shrub with apples and cranberries. It makes a refreshing and versatile syrup that can be mixed with seltzer for a healthy holiday drink. One thing to remember when consuming vinegar is that the acid can erode your tooth enamel. Avoid straight vinegar .
Coarsely shred apples using a box grater. In a blender, puree cranberries with the cider. Combine shredded apples, cranberry puree, and sugar in a large, clean glass jar and cover with a clean dish towel or a few layers of cheesecloth. Place jar in a cool spot on the counter and leave it there for 2 days.
After 2 days, strain the contents through a fine mesh strainer, pressing gently on the solids to extract remaining liquids. Discard solids. Pour the liquid into a clean glass container and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
To drink, add a splash of the shrub to a glass with ice and top it off with seltzer. Add a cinnamon stick or other garnish, stir and enjoy!
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