In this article we will see everything you need to know about Vinegar, be it its history, making procedure, its types, uses in cleaning business and the precautions with its uses too.
Vinegar is an aqueous solution (solution in which the solvent is water) of acetic acid and may include flavourings. Vinegar typically contains 5–20% acetic acid by volume.
Usually the acetic acid is produced by the fermentation of ethanol or sugars by acetic acid bacteria.
Vinegar can be produced using pretty much any nourishment that contains natural sugars.
Yeast ferments these sugars into alcohol and particular sorts of microscopic organisms (bacteria) convert that alcohol into vinegar.
Vinegar has been used since ages. The first documented evidence of vinegar making and use was by the Ancient Babylonians around 3000 BC. (Source: unige.ch)
It was primarily made from dates, figs and beer. It was used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Today the company named Mizkan, headquartered in Kyoto Japan, is the largest vinegar producer in the world.
Commercial vinegar is produced either by a fast or a slow fermentation process.
Slow production method is used for making traditional type of vinegar which takes about months to a year.
Fast methods take one to three days.
Types of Vinegar
There are various types of varieties of vinegar available in the market today.
The distinction is basically the type of food that is used in the making process. Let’s see all those different types.
White vinegar is also called as distilled white vinegar.
It is made from fermentation of distilled alcohol.
This is the most common type of vinegar found in households because of its various uses. It is used for making food or as household cleaner.
This type of vinegar is an essential ingredient in sauces, ketch-ups and mayonnaise.
White vinegar is sometimes used in chutneys too. It’s also an ideal all-purpose cleaner when diluted with water.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very fruity in nature. It is made from apple juice. This light-tan vinegar adds a tart and subtle fruity flavour to your cooking.
It is widely used in health food world because of its numerous health benefits. It helps in improving your digestion and health.
Apple cider vinegar is best for salads, dressings, marinades, condiments and most general vinegar needs.
Champagne vinegar is made from champagne. It is quite expensive type of vinegar.
It is the most lightly flavoured vinegar of all.
Actually champagne vinegar is sweet in flavour.
It is used in pork, chicken and salads.
Rice vinegar is made from rice wine. It is sweeter in nature and is less acidic (approximately 4%).
It comes in regular or seasoned type of varieties. The seasoned type of variety is added with salt and sugar.
This type of seasoned vinegar is best for sushi rice or dressings.
For plain rice vinegar flavour, go with regular type of rice vinegar. Regular type of vinegar does not change the colour of the food it is added to.
Rice vinegar comes in red or black colour varieties which are more popular in China.
Rice vinegar is ideally used for recipes like meat and fish marinades and also with Asian (Japanese, Korean, Chinese & Vietnamese) dipping sauces, salads, noodles.
Sherry vinegar is made from sherry wine. It is usually made in Italy.
It has strong flavour. Sherry vinegar is great for the use in meat marinades or pan sauces or flavourful vinaigrettes.
Malt vinegar is made from malt barley. It is essentially yeasty in taste. This is dark brown in colour.
Malt vinegar is more popular in Britain for cooking. This vinegar is ideal for any kind of potato products.
Malt vinegar on French fries or roasted potatoes is something you should try.
Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is made from, off course red wine. Red wine is fermented until it turns sour and red wine vinegar is thus prepared. It is widely used in Europe especially in Germany.
As its basic ingredient is fruit, it is slightly sweet in taste. Of the wine vinegars, red wine is found to be punchier.
It’s an ideal ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, slow cooker recipes, marinades and for pickling.
White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar is made from fermentation of white wine. It is light and more delicate in flavour.
As its basic ingredient is fruit, it is slightly sweet in taste. White wine vinegar is less punchier than red wine vinegar.
It is used in marinating chicken (not the red one) or in more delicate salads, sauces, marinades or in pickling.
When you don’t wish to change the colour of the dish, go for white wine vinegar.
Cane vinegar is produced from sugar cane. It is prevalent in Philippines.
Though it is made from sugar cane, it is not sweeter than any other type of vinegar.
It is light yellow in colour. Also cane vinegar has a flavour similar to rice vinegar.
Beer vinegar is made from beer. It is light-golden in colour. It is very popular type of vinegar in countries like Austria, Netherlands, Germany and Bavaria.
Beer vinegar is sharp and malty in taste.
Coconut vinegar is very popular in Southeast Asian cooking. It is made from sap of the coconut palm. It adds a yeasty flavour to food.
Balsamic vinegar is a very dark, thicker and intensely flavoured vinegar of all. It’s originated in Italy.
It is made up of wholly or partially from grape must which is freshly crushed grape juice with all the skins, seeds and stems.
Traditional way of making balsamic vinegar is ageing it for 6-25 years.
That is why only a limited amount of this vinegar is made every year and hence it is expensive.
Rather the vinegar made at home tastes better than the vinegar you find at the grocery stores.
Also you can customise the flavours by adding different herbs and spices to it.
How to Make Vinegar At Home
Now you may ask if you could make your own vinegar at home. Yes, you can do so.
Perhaps, vinegar made at home tastes better than the vinegar you find at your nearby grocery store.
The things we require to make white vinegar at home are mentioned below.
- Acetic Acid
- RO Water or Boiled Water
- Measuring Cup
- Sterilised Bottle
To make 1 litre of white vinegar, we will take 4% of acetic acid that means we will mix 40 ml of acetic acid in 1 litre of RO water or boiled water.
Mix right proportion of acetic acid and RO water in measuring cup. Shake it well.
Now store it in a sterilised bottle and your white vinegar is ready to use.
This type of vinegar made at home will last for about 1 year.
How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar At Home
The things we require to make apple cider vinegar at home are mentioned below.
- Sterilised Bottle
- Apple scraps or apple peels or whole apple
- RO water
- Cheesecloth or coffee filter
- Rubber band
Clean a glass jar very well and let it dry.
Put apple scraps or apple peels or whole apple into the jar so that it is filled ¾ of its portion. If you are using whole apple, kindly chop it first.
Dissolve 2 table spoon of sugar into water.
Add the dissolved sugar into the jar with chopped apples until they are completely submerged.
You can use honey instead of sugar but it causes the process to take longer time.
The fermentation process requires air but we don’t want insects and dust to get into the jar. So cover this sterilised jar with cheesecloth and tie the opening with rubber band.
Store the mixture in dark at room temperature.
Fermentation occurs in the dark, so you either can use a dark container or else need to keep the liquid in a dark place.
The advantage of a clear bottle is that you can see what is happening when you check the vinegar, but you need to keep it in the dark place the rest of the time.
Leave it for approximately 2-3 weeks. Check on it after every 3-4 days to make sure apples are still submerged under the water.
After 3 weeks of time, it will smell like strong vinegar.
Now stain out the apple pieces and pour the remaining liquid back to the jar.
The remaining substance after pouring is ‘Mother of Vinegar’. You can use it in future to make vinegar.
Now again put the jar in the dark for another 3-4 weeks stirring every 3-4 days.
When the liquid reaches its ‘tartness’ pour it into a sterilised bottle and it is ready for use.
If you wish to store homemade vinegar at room temperature for more than a few months then you have to pasteurise it.
Heat it to 77 degree Celsius (use a cooking thermometer to determine the temperature) and boil it at this temperature for about 10 minutes.
Put this pasteurised vinegar in sterilised bottle. Keep it out of direct sunlight.
Fast Method Using Mother Of Vinegar
The above mentioned vinegar making method is quite a slow method. There is another fast way of making vinegar. Let’s see this fast method.
When we strain out the fermented liquid, the remaining substance is called ‘the mother’.
‘The mother of vinegar’ is basically strands of enzymes, proteins and friendly bacteria.
When we take out this ‘mother, we can store in refrigerator and use it in future to make next batch of vinegar.
When we add ‘mother of vinegar’, it boosts the fermentation process and reduce the process time to some days to weeks.
Adding Flavour To Vinegar
Once the final vinegar is poured in sterilised bottle, we can add flavours in it.
We can use herbs and spices to add flavour to vinegar. Garlic, Mint, Chives, Basil, Tarragon, Raspberry are some of the popular choices.
If you are planning to add herbs, make sure that the herbs are fresh and free from bacteria.
You can dip the fresh herbs in mixture of bleach and water and then rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
This will minimise the chances of any kind of bacteria getting into vinegar and spoiling its taste.
Before adding the flavour, heat the vinegar and pour it over the herbs in a sterilised jar.
Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and put it in a sunny window for 3-4 weeks. Shake the bottle once a day.
When it achieves enough flavour, strain out the herbs and pour the flavoured vinegar in a bottle.
Store the bottled vinegar in refrigerator for best results. This flavoured vinegar will last for 6-8 months.
Uses of Vinegar
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetic_acid_(medical_use)
1. To reduce blood sugar level
Apple cider vinegar helps in reducing blood sugar level. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar)
Taking vinegar after meal can improve insulin activity by up to 34% and eventually helps in lowering blood sugar level.
However doctor’s advice is also suggested before using this.
2. To cure sore throat
When you have a sore throat, you can gargle with apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water.
Being antibacterial in nature, apple cider vinegar is assumed to be effective in clearing a sore throat.
However one caution is not to use it directly without dilution with water.
3. As a weed killer
Vinegar can be a great homemade weed killer.
Spray undiluted vinegar on the weeds that you wish to get rid of and leave it for few minutes under the sun.
Vinegar can be very effective in killing the weeds.
4. As a mouth wash
Commercial mouth washes can be replaced with apple cider vinegar.
Its antibacterial properties make it a good bacteria killer and helps with bad breadth.
Dilute it as per your choice.
5. To whiten teeth
Apple cider vinegar is used for whitening the teeth the natural way.
The acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar helps in removing plaque and stains from teeth.
Make a paste of half teaspoon of baking soda and half teaspoon of vinegar and brush your teeth with it before going to bed. Use it till you see the visible results.
Don’t overuse it as the acid present in the vinegar may damage your teeth.
6. To cure acne
Apple cider vinegar is readily available in most of the homes and can be used as a remedy to cure acne.
Applying a very small amount of diluted vinegar onto pimples using a cotton bowl can help in getting rid of them.
7. For weight loss
Acetic acid is main component in vinegar.
The role of vinegar in weight loss has been tested on animal such as rat.
The findings show that vinegar helps in reducing blood sugar levels, improves metabolism, reduces fat storage and burns fat.
But further research is still needed to confirm the role of vinegar in weight loss in humans.
1. As a deodoriser
Vinegar is an antibacterial solution. Because of this, it can be used to eliminate foul odour.
Vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle can be a good natural deodoriser.
When sprayed, it kills the odour causing bacteria.
2. As all purpose cleaner
Vinegar is most widely used as all purpose cleaner in house cleaning business industry.
Because of its anti bacterial properties, vinegar is a best choice for all your home cleaning tasks.
It is probably the best natural cleaning product easily available.
Mix 1 cup of vinegar with half cup of water and your all purpose cleaner is ready.
You can spray it on almost any surface and wipe it off with a clean microfiber cloth.
You can add essential oils to it to make your home smell fresh and clean.
However, for tough stains, it isn’t that effective as compared to commercial cleaners.
3. To clean a toothbrush
Toothbrush is the one thing in home which is often neglected when comes to cleaning.
Vinegar can be effectively used to clean the toothbrushes.
Mix 1 cup of water with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and dip the head of your toothbrush into the solution for about 30 min.
Rinse the brush after it and your bacteria free brush is ready for use.
4. To clean the dishes
Vinegar is used as a cleaning agent to clean the dishes. It can be used directly to rinse the dishes or can be used in the dishwasher itself.
5. To unclog drain
When you have a clogged drain, you have an option to use commercial drain cleaners.
But not only these drain cleaners are expensive, they are harmful to the environment too.
Instead pour half cup of baking soda into the drain and after that pour 1 cup of vinegar. Let it sit for approximately 1 hour.
Now pour hot boiling water down the drain and your clog should be cleared.
This method also helps in deodorising the drain.
6. To deodorise containers
After a long use of containers such as lunch box, it starts smelling foul odour.
Vinegar comes to the rescue in such cases.
Soak a piece of white bread in white vinegar and it into the smelly container for few hours. The bad smell should go with this.
7. To remove water rings from furniture
When a wet glass or a pot is left on the furniture, it forms a ring.
Mix white vinegar and olive oil in equal quantity and rub the ring with this mixture.
Wipe it off with a clean cloth. The rings would go after this.
8. To clean microwave
After used for weeks or months, microwaves become really dirty from inside.
This happens because the food is left on the sides of the microwave and stays there for long.
You can get rid off this nasty microwave with vinegar very easily.
Take a glass bowl, mix vinegar and water in the ratio of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts of water (this ratio can change depending upon the nastiness) and keep the boil into the microwave.
Leave it on for about 5 minutes. After that just wipe the microwave with a wet microfiber cloth. The food will come off easily.
9. To deter dogs
Though we love our dogs very much, it an undeniable fact that dogs cause problems around the home.
They have the tendency to chew the things they shouldn’t.
As their noses are more sensitive than humans, dogs find the smell of vinegar more irritating.
Prepare a highly concentrated mixture of vinegar (1 part of white vinegar with 4 parts of water) and spray it wherever you want your dog to stay off.
You can spray the mixture on furniture or even of your sofa so that your dog doesn’t sit on it and scratch it.
10. To shine the wooden furniture
If your furniture is looking dull and if its colour is faded over the time, you can bring back the new look to the furniture with spending a lot of money for polishing it.
Simply mix equal parts of vinegar with equal parts of olive oil and apply it to the furniture evenly with a cotton pad.
Make sure that you clean the surface first with a damp microfiber cloth.
Once the vinegar mixed with olive oil is applied, buff it off with a clean and dry microfiber cloth.
This will give your furniture a shiny new look.
11. To remove pet stains from carpet
You can’t keep pet stains from happening on your carpet but you can get rid of it without using a commercial cleaner.
Simply pour some vinegar onto the stains. And sprinkle it with baking soda.
Leave it overnight. Now vacuum the left over baking soda.
This should remove your pet stains from the carpet.
12. To clean & sanitise garbage disposal
After a prolonged use of dustbins, they start to create a foul odour.
Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda into the bin and add a cup of vinegar into it. The mixture will start generating bubbles.
Leave it for 10-15 minutes and then rise the bin thoroughly.
This will disinfect the bin and will eradicate the bad smell.
13. In laundry
Vinegar can be very useful in laundry.
Ketchup, sauce, mustard and deodorant stains are hard to remove with just laundry detergent.
Spray some white vinegar onto the stains before laundering. Vinegar will help in breaking down the stains and stains will come out easily.
When putting your clothes to washing machine, add a cup of vinegar or so along with the detergent.
Vinegar will help in breaking down the detergent. This will help making your clothes more fresh and colourful.
14. To remove hard water stains
Water remains on the floor and tiles in your bathrooms and toilet after every use.
When the water is evaporated after some time, what remains is the lime scale deposits. These are the hard water stains.
Vinegar can come to the rescue when it comes to clean the hard water stains.
Make a pest of baking soda and vinegar and apply the paste onto the stains.
Leave it overnight and wash it with any all purpose cleaner afterwards.
Even though, this will not remove the hard water stains 100%.
You can repeat the same procedure some more times and the stains should go.
15. To clean shower glass
Shower glass also accumulates hard water stains over a period of time.
To clean these hard water stains from shower glass, make a paste of baking soda and vinegar and add some lemon juice into it.
Apply this paste to the shower glass and leave it for 2-4 hours.
Then scrub the shower glass with the lemon remained after the juice has been extracted and this will reduce the hard water stains from the glass.
Repeat the procedure as and when required.
1. To preserve food
Vinegar is an effective agent in preserving food for many years.
Vinegar is acidic in nature. By mixing vinegar with foods, it makes the food more acidic.
Vinegar deactivates the enzymes present in food and kills bacteria in the food that may cause spoilage.
Studies show that vinegar prevents bacteria like E.coli from growing and thus preventing spoiling of food.
2. Salad flavouring
Vinegar can be used for salad flavouring or salad dressing.
3. As a marinade
One of ways to use vinegar in the kitchen is to make a marinade.
Use of apple cider vinegar when marinating a meat would give a sweet and sour flavour to it.
When wine, garlic, soy sauce, onion and cayenne pepper is added to it, it gives the meat a simply delicious flavour.
4. To wash fruits and vegetables
We all know that a hell lot of pesticides are sprayed on the fruits and vegetables that we eat on daily basis. These pesticides are very harmful to our body.
Merely washing the fruits and vegetables with water probably will not remove the residue of the pesticides completely.
Hence, it may be a good idea to wash the fruits and vegetables with antibacterial solution such as vinegar.
1. As a facial toner
Few people use vinegar to reduce the signs of ageing.
1 part of apple cider vinegar mixed with 2 parts of water is used as a skin toner.
This solution is applied to the skin using a cotton pad.
However people with sensitive skin should dilute more as it may cause skin irritation.
2. To shine hairs
Prolonged use of shampoo often makes your hair look dull and dry. Shampoos take off the natural moisture of hair.
The acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar brings back the softness and smoothness to your hair.
After shampoo, wash your hair with mixture of 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of warm water.
Rinse the hairs as usual and use conditioner after.
3. To remove age spots
Acetic acid present in vinegar helps in removing dead skin and achieving healthy and glowing skin.
Apply apple cider vinegar directly onto the age spots and wrinkles using cotton ball.
Leave it for 30-45 minutes and wash it off with cool water.
Repeat this twice a day for 6 weeks and you will see a visible difference.
Precautions with vinegar uses
- Though drinking apple cider vinegar has health benefits such as reduce blood sugar, weight loss, sore throat relief etc it not advisable to drink apple cider vinegar when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding unless advised by the doctor.
- Excessive use of apple cider vinegar may lead into low bone density.
- Use of vinegar for skin with more than recommended quantity can cause skin burns.
- Don’t use vinegar on marble or granite. Repeated use of vinegar on these natural stones can eat the stone and result into cracks.
Vinegar will help you in your house cleaning tasks but to a limited extent.