History of the Use of Apple Cider Vinegar
I thought apple cider vinegar, ACV for short, was a recent discovery. When I was growing up the supermarkets only provided red wine vinegar and white vinegar. Then all of a sudden in my 30s it seemed to come out of nowhere. Everybody was all a buzz about how I should switch from using wine vinegar to Apple Cider Vinegar because of the health benefits.
The name vinegar actually means sour wine, so I just assumed that wine came first and mistakes with wine, such as over-fermenting or not using it up in time gave one vinegar.
That may have been how wine vinegar came about, but not so for Cider Vinegar.
Apple trees, like a lot of things, were first cultivated in China and made their way to England over the trade routes. Apple at that time was not the sweet tasty things we know today. They were often too bitter to eat, but they lent themselves to a nice fermented drink. The juice was simply stored until it bubbled.
It is said that Julius Caesar and his men discovered the drink in 55 BC. They took a liking to it and the practice of brewing it continued and wound up spreading across the land as the empire grew. It became so popular as an inexpensive alcoholic beverage that farm laborers were given a "Cider allowance"
Apple Cider Vinegar didn't spread all over the world because of its nutritional benefit. It spread, ironically, as an affordable booze. But even so vinegar just happens whether you plan on it or not. After the cider forms alcohol in it then a naturally occurring bacteria that utilizes oxygen known as Acetobactor turns the alcohol to acetic acid.
Well then this vinegar became a poor man's wine and was also consumed by soldiers. They found that it improved their digestion and increased their power and strength. This concurs with the fact that Samurai warriors used to drink it for power and strength.
Then it began being brewed for the health benefits.
It was found to help with toothaches, mushroom poisoning and dandruff. It was also used as an antiseptic.
Then apples came to America, jumped the pond so to speak. Settlers began using fruit trees to steak out their land claims and apple trees were popular for that.
You have probably heard of Johnny Appleseed, but here is what seems to be the real story. I knew one man could not possibly have walked a whole country spitting out apple seeds as he went along eating apples the whole way! That was the legend I learned about.
Johnny Appleseed was a real person. He was born in Massachusetts in 1774 right where apples came in from England. His name was John Chapman. In his 20's he made his way to the wild frontier eating apples the whole way. But, at that time that was only as far as western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana and that's where he sold apple tree saplings.
Two things contributed to the spread of so many different kinds of apples all over the US, and with it apple cider vinegar. One was the fact that settlers looking for land would stake their land claim out with fruit trees and the other was that Johnny rejected the usual plant grafting technique to cultivate apples, calling it plant torture and started all of his saplings from seed. Hence, Johnny Appleseed. He sold his saplings to families going out to all the far corners of a growing America.
The only thing was that no one ever knew what kind of apple fruit they were going to get because apples grown from seed were unpredictable in flavor and more times than not, radically different than the parent tree. No one knew whether they were getting "spitters" which tasted too bitter to be eaten, or a sweet tasty variety. But regardless of that it was an inexpensive fruit tree one could stake their land with and one could always make hooch out of spitters. By the end of the 1800's there were about 14,000 different varieties of apples being grown in America. Apple cider vinegar went forward all along with that history.
Every homestead practically had their own brand of cider and vinegar and the vinegar was used for everything from cleaning to making different culinary concoctions and marinades and health remedies. And it acted to preserve things too.
From Battlefields to Bottles: Apple Cider Vinegar's War Legacy and Post-WWII Resurgence
It was used during the Civil War and World War I as a wound antiseptic.
By the time World War II came around, penicillin had been discovered and the industrial methods of increasing the speed of fermentation to make penicillin were also applied to making vinegar commercially. Also Prohibition had seen to the destruction of the majority of cider presses.
The Heinz company started providing commercially produced and refined vinegar, but it was the malt vinegar kind, not the natural ACV with the good things in it that made it cloudy.
This later created a market for the "original naturally brewed vinegar with 'the mother' that industry did away with in order to stabilize their product". The mother was the mushroom like mass containing the friendly microbes along with enzymes and minerals and vitamins that were supposed to contribute to health benefits.
In 1959 a Vermont country doctor, D.C. Jarvis, wrote "Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health". In it he advocated regular consumption of ACV. He advocated that one should take a few tablespoons of ACV with honey to help everything from blood sugar and pressure to calcium buildup and heart health, and to just keep fit. His theories started a lot of individual experimentation with ACV. ACV had more in it than other vinegars because of its good apple ingredients like pectin.
The Popularity of ACV
But the real boost to its comeback and current popularity was a Naturopath who was particularly gifted in his ability to promote himself, Paul C. Bragg. He became a health guru in Hollywood and later Hawaii in the early 1900's. He advocated the use of the natural vinegar with the mother for practically everything. If you were scrawny, drink apple cider vinegar! If you need to lose weight, drink apple cider vinegar! His "Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System", touted a daily dose for practically anything that could go wrong. It claimed to help with baldness, kidney and heart health, female troubles, digestion and the list went on. Paul Bragg died in 1976, but his little booklet went on.
By the 1990's Patricia Bragg, Paul Braggs daughter in Law got his ACV booklet republished and provided a product that people could just buy off the shelf instead of fermenting apples themselves. This fit right into the times. People were trying to turn back to the natural ways rejecting commercially processed foods. In a very short time everybody got on the bandwagon so to speak. That's about the time I heard of it. I didn't know its history, but I sure saw it take off again.
Only now it is even bigger being used in cosmetics, health supplements and beauty formulas and as hair conditioner. It is the main ingredient in popular cleanses and is said to purify the blood as well as boost immunity. It is promoted by singers and actors as a virtual fountain of youth. In fact Katy Perry was so into it that the fact that her husband brought some with him on their first date led to the second date and the rest was history. She is so into ACV that she bought into Patricia Braggs company and is now part owner.
But despite its popularity as a swear by remedy and health tonic for the refined and rich and famous, it still tastes rather bad.
That's why I and many others immediately jumped at the idea of having the same healthy dose of ACV as recommended, complete with the mother without having to taste it!
Herbal Roots provides a vegan capsule containing 650mg of the ACV powder that includes the mother and as a bonus that increases the power of the ACV, it has 20mg of organic cayenne pepper. You can't beat that combination for results or convenience.