If you type in “apple cider vinegar” into any search engine, thousands of results touting its alleged health benefits will pop up. There are claims that it promotes weight loss, improves digestion, aids in heartburn, improves heart health, lowers blood sugar levels, and much, much more. However, while there may be some evidence to support these health claims, the research is simply limited and not enough to warrant a dosing recommendation.
Apple cider vinegar is made from apples that have been crushed and fermented. It produces a tart, fruity flavor with a golden coloring. The two-step fermentation process (1. Sugar turned alcohol. 2. Alcohol turned vinegar) results in the key element: acetic acid, which provides the tangy taste. You may have seen apple cider vinegar labeled as “raw” or “unfiltered” with a murky appearance. This means it has not been filtered or heat-treated, so it still includes the “mother.” The mother is a by-product of the fermentation process and contains enzymes and probiotics, or “good” bacteria. This mother culture is what provides any health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar goes well in a variety of recipes, including salad dressings or marinades. Filtered and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is relatively interchangeable in recipes, although if you plan to heat the product made with the pricier unfiltered vinegar, the mother will be killed, and thus so will any potential health benefits. Even when opened, store apple cider vinegar in the pantry away from heat and direct sunlight; refrigeration is not necessary. Opened apple cider will retain its quality for 1 year, unopened for 2 years. Due to its high acidity, it’s unlikely vinegar will become contaminated with pathogens. While taking shots of apple cider vinegar is likely unnecessary at this time, continue to use this versatile staple in a variety of recipes.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (Printable PDF)
1 quart fresh strawberries
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
½ cup walnut pieces
¼ cup honey
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 ½ teaspoons minced onion
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon paprika
Wash strawberries. Remove caps and slice into halves. Combine strawberries, spinach and walnuts in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk honey, oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, Worcestershire and paprika. Pour dressing over spinach mixture and toss.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 250 calories, 17 grams fat, 45 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams protein