Posts Tagged ‘apple cider vinegar’

Switch To Switchel

August 15, 2016

There are lots of drinks out there, purported to boost energy, create the ultimate balance of bacteria in the gut, help you lose weight and gain clarity. From Red Bull to green tea and the ever trendy kombucha, there is no shortage of  hyped out drinks to choose from. Apple cider vinegar and green juices share the stage with a host of other natural choices with “magical powers” to make your skin glow and your belly calm.

via Alex Lau for Bon Appetite

via Alex Lau for Bon Appetite

Well, just when you thought you had reached your healthy beverage nirvana, a new one steals the spotlight. Say hello to Switchel, the latest beverage to enter the healthy drink scene. Around since the late 1700’s, switchel is the perfect way to hydrate on a very hot day. Made with stomach soothing ginger, it allowed thirsy farmers to consume enough liquid to quell their thirst, without making them sick. It is also thought to reduce inflammation and balance the body’s natural ph levels, due to the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
Switchel is similar to lemonade in some ways, and very reminiscent of the iconic Master Cleanse cocktail. It is easy to make your own, and although it is touted as a healthy electrolyte booster ( ala Gatorade), it’s also a great base for an adult beverage when mixed with rum, whisky or a dry white wine.

Give this recipe a try, and perhaps you too, will want to switch to switchel!

Mapel -Ginger Switchel: via Bon Appetite



  • 1 5″-piece fresh ginger (about 6 ounces)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 4 cups water or club soda
  • Mint sprigs (for serving)


  • Pass ginger through a juicer (you should have about ⅓ cup). Combine ginger juice, vinegar, maple syrup, and lime juice in a large pitcher and stir until maple syrup is dissolved. Chill until cold.
  • To serve, dilute with water and pour switchel into ice-filled glasses; garnish with mint.
  • Do Ahead: Base can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Switchel can be mixed with seltzer or sparkling water instead of regular water for a bit of a “fizzy kick.”

If you don’t have a juicer, you can grate the ginger instead.

Some people use raw honey instead of the more classic maple syrup for variation. The most important thing is to use pure maple syrup or honey, and not a processed version.( aka Aunt Jemimah’s pancake syrup)


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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Washing Berries

June 14, 2016


It’s berry season, and the markets are bursting with a variety to choose from. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are among the most popular of the mini fruits, and also the most delicate.

It is important to thoroughly wash berries, to remove debris. Running them under  water often damages them, as the stream provides too much force for something as fragile as a raspberry. The solution, is to soak, rather than rinse them, to get them clean. Strawberries, in particular, seem to make it to the dirty dozen list each year, due to their extremely high pesticide load. (Read more about the dirty dozen here.) Buying organic berries are recommended.

To properly clean fresh berries, place them in the basket of a salad spinner, and submerge them in cool, clean water to soak for several minutes. You can also add a couple of spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar to the first bath, to aid in the removal of debris. This may be too much acid for raspberries and blackberries, but for the sturdier varieties, the vinegar is fine. Use it sparingly, to make sure you don’t damage the fruit. Strain, and change the water a few times until the water remains clean. The vinegar is also helpful in fighting mold that develops quickly on soft fruit, like berries. Just be sure to get it all off before using them.

If you don’t have a salad spinner, a large bowl and a colander or strainer works as well.

Shake the strainer lightly, and allow the berries to dry before storing. (DON’T SPIN!!!)Place a folded paper towel in the bottom of the storage container to absorb any excess water and cushion the berries.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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A Spoonful of Honey Helps The Vinegar Go Down

July 28, 2015


There has been a lot of buzz about apple cider vinegar and the health benefits associated with it. Studies have shown that consuming just a few tablespoons of the unfiltered, organic variety, can help regulate blood sugar, aid in weight loss, and promote better digestion.

In a Japanese study, subjects who drank water infused with apple cider vinegar lost 1 to 2 pounds more than their counterparts who consumed plain water. It is said to help stimulate the genes to break down fat. While one or two pounds aren’t exactly earth shattering, it is not a bad side effect.

Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that can break down plaque, and fight bad breath, as well as sore throats.

ACV is a fermented food, which has been shown to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, facilitating better digestion.

It is also shown to keep blood sugar levels in check, and contains polyphenols, which have been linked to possibly reducing cancer risk.

Drinking apple cider vinegar is not the most palatable, and taking it straight up may burn your esophagus, and damage tooth enamel. It is best to mix a tablespoon or two into a full glass of water, and add a little honey or a dash of fruit juice to sweeten it a bit. It can also be added to your morning smoothie.

It may not be a magic pill, but it can’t hurt to try it!

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Vinegar Cure

January 22, 2014


The first time I met my future mother in law, we were in their home in the mountains of North Carolina. She was unpacking the groceries she brought from home, and jabbering a mile a minute. At some point, she offered me a glass of apple juice, and then kept on talking. After one sip, I knew I was  in trouble. She had apparently taken apple cider vinegar and put it into another container, thinking it was juice. Wanting to make a good first impression, I panicked; should I spit it out? Should I try to swallow it? Should I tell her it isn’t apple juice? We still laugh at the moment all these years later. It is she who should get the last laugh, since the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are now being touted everywhere!
Apple cider vinegar has long been a folk remedy, but today it is thought to have curative powers to treat everything from warts to indigestion.

Here are just a few of the uses for the this healthy tonic, other than an ingredient in salad dressing:

Use apple cider vinegar to treat acid reflux. While most believe that reflux is caused by the over production of stomach acid, it is often the case that the stomach does not produce enough acid. Just a couple of teaspoonfuls of vinegar each day, are thought to help  balance the acid levels, bringing relief to the burning sensation associated with reflux.

Some swear by the fact that just one teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar halts the hiccups immediately.

Just a little on a cotton ball dabbed  on a mosquito bite  takes the itch away.

To soothe a sore throat, gargle with a mixture of hot water and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Others prefer to sip a drink made with  a tablespoon of vinegar mixed with  hot water, lemon and honey.

Studies have shown a moderate drop in blood glucose levels when a 2 tablespoons are taken before bed each night.

Swish it around as a mouthwash to freshen breath.

While all of these are said to be beneficial, experts at the Mayo Clinic advise people to exercise moderation. The high acid content of apple cider vinegar can erode teeth and bones, as well as interact with some medicines. Discuss using vinegar as a health tonic with your doctor before embarking on frequent or excessive use.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Don’t Bug Me

August 2, 2012

Mosquitos love me. I don’t know why. If there is a mosquito in the ‘hood, it will find me, and attempt to eat me alive.

This year the insects seem to be of epic proportions. Their bites are red, raised and itchy.

But hey, no worries…relief is often found in your kitchen cupboard!

Apple Cider Vinegar has antiseptic properties and takes away the redness and itching associated with insect bites.  Mix a little of the vinegar with water, and apply it with a cotton ball to the affected area.

Vodka can also relieve the itchiness. Icy cold vodka, stored in the freezer of course, combines the antibacterial properties of alcohol, with the comfort of a cold compress. Apply it directly to the area with a washcloth. If you do not find relief right away, pour it into a glass, add a twist of lemon and drink it!

That brings us to our next cure, lemon juice. It is a natural detoxifier,  which helps to reduce swelling and itching. Squeeze the lemon into icy cold water, and apply with a washcloth, or spray bottle.

Lavender oil is said to have soothing properties for the skin. It is also reportedly a natural bug repellant. Spray a little lavender oil on your skin before exposure, to help avoid annoying insect bites in the first place.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Chasing the Elusive Hiccup Cure

June 20, 2012

Holding your breath, drinking from the wrong side of the cup and taking a spoonful of sugar, are common ways we try to get rid of the hiccups.

After decades, perhaps centuries of chasing an illusive cure for the hiccups, 13-year old entrepreneur Mallory Kievman seems to have found it.

Her invention, called “Hiccupops” was conceived in her parent’s Connecticut kitchen. The lollipops combine 3 of Kievman’s favorite curative ingredients:

apple cider vinegar, sugar, and lollipops.

Hiccupops are said to over stimulate a set of nerves in the throat and mouth, which are responsible for the hiccup reflex arc, and canceling out the message to hiccup.

Kievman has patented the pops, and is working with a team of MBA students from the University of Connecticut’s Innovation Accelerator program to develop her concept further.

She also hopes to target chemotherapy patients, who are prone to hiccups as an unpleasant side effect of the treatment.

photo:Glasshouse Images

Natural Relief

April 26, 2012

I was shopping at my local drugstore this week, and asked the pharmacist where the Maalox was. She replied that it had been voluntarily pulled from the shelves over a month ago. The most similar product, Mylanta, had also been recalled. Since different companies make the products, it couldn’t have been a manufacturing glitch.  This caused me to seriously question the safety of an over the counter drug that I have been using regularly for many years.

Armed with a bottle of Tums, I sat down to research natural remedies for stomach acid.  Surprisingly, most of them can be found in your kitchen cabinets.

Apple Cider Vinegar has been found to prevent and relieve heartburn.

Sipping a mixture of one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 4 ounces of water before meals, is thought to prevent the over production of stomach acid.

Drinking a couple of tablespoons of the vinegar has been known to neutralize stomach acid and relieve the burning sensation.

Gum: Chewing gum increases the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize the stomach acids and prevent reflux.

Bananas and apples are thought to have natural antacid effects.

Sipping chamomile tea, or ginger tea may also relieve heartburn symptoms. Ginger root capsules, or eating candied ginger are also effective.

Baking soda, mixed with water is another natural way to deal with stomach acid. Just mix ½ – 1 teaspoon in a glass of water, and drink it down. Be prepared to burp as the solution works it’s magic!

Health food stores carry papaya enzymes in pill form, which is a natural digestive aid. Papaya enzymes are also an anti-coagulant, and are not recommended for anyone with risk of stomach bleeding.

Always remember that even holistic remedies can have health risks if they are not right for you.  Consulting a doctor before taking any kind of supplement, is highly recommended.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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