A month or so ago, we took the kids down to the Philly Farm and Food Fest and in addition to discovering some businesses and artisan food vendors I hadn't seen before—and happily sampling the wares of those I had, such as OwowCow—we learned something very important. Beechwood Orchards makes its own raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. That's the kind you want, y'know, with the "mother" in it.
They had it for sale at the event, but I didn't want to lug it all around for the rest of the afternoon, so I made a decision that as soon as they returned to the Easton Farmers' Market, I'd buy a big jug of it. A little voice told me to start taking it again for the inflammation in my shoulder that doesn't seem to want to quit and my Bragg's was almost gone. I grabbed a big container of it for a mere $6. The timing was perfect.
It pleases me to no end that I can purchase something locally that—aside from its culinary uses, which I'll get to in a minute—is basically one of the oldest home remedies you can find. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps with digestion, too. The mother, that part you see swirling around and the nexus of its fermented healing goodness, can be likened to the scoby in super trendy kombucha. There's some limited research indicating that it may help with weight management, thanks to the acetic acid. Bonus: anything that aids in digestion means it will also improve your skin. People also report using it as a toner, too, and some use it as part of a post-shampoo, cold-water rinsing process. ACV possesses antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, too, and can help balance candida and low acid conditions. I like to drink a couple tablespoons of it when my immunity feels a little off (in addition to my usual Shaklee regime with Nutriferon and Defend and Resist). I am pretty sure I learned about it years ago when I saw a Polish rheumatologist for knee pain and she suggested taking it. So I've been tossing a tablespoon into my morning smoothie to help a persistent shoulder pain become a little less bothersome. There's also evidence that it helps in diabetes management by lowering blood glucose levels.
If you're cooking with it, it's great in marinades, dressings and to deglaze the pan with pork and chicken dishes, for example. If you're vegan and you bake and you don't use that chia seed action to mimic eggs, you know that a teaspoon of it in non-dairy milk helps with the rising action; think of it as another substitute for buttermilk, including hacked homemade buttermilk (a.k.a. cow's milk with a teaspoon or so of lemon juice.)
How about you? Do you buy it? What do you use it for? Inquiring minds wanna know.