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Vinegar: Love to the Mother

Updated on May 11, 2016

Can something that removes limescale be edible? It’s acidic enough to dissolve hard water deposits, but vinegar is indeed edible - and healthy to boot. See below for a great vinaigrette recipe.

Vinegar itself is not nutritious, but it is healthy. It only contains trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. The health benefit comes from the same component that cleans your faucet so well: acetic acid. During digestion, acetic acid increases your body’s ability to absorb minerals from the food you eat. It’s a tasty mineral booster.

Thousands of years ago, winemakers discovered vinegar when they realized why some of their wine was going sour. Fermentation converts the sugars from grapes or other fruit into alcohol. When wine undergoes a second fermentation, it becomes vinegar. This second acid fermentation occurs when bacteria called acetobacter convert the wine’s alcohol into acetic acid. Any liquid that contains alcohol can be converted to vinegar with this second fermentation.

Mother Vinegar

Acetobacter, and the cellulose it creates, forms a jelly-like substance called Mother of Vinegar. While the mother looks filmy, slimy, and unappetizing, it is perfectly harmless. All vinegar is created by the mother. Today, makers tend to filter and pasteurize vinegar to prevent mother from forming while the product is on the shelf. They are avoiding the Ick Factor. Unfortunately this filtering is thought to also remove healthful properties. If you notice mother floating in your vinegar, consider yourself lucky, not cursed! There is no need to remove it. If it is unappetizing, simply strain it through a coffee filter. Your flavor will not be affected whether you remove the mother or ignore it.

If you are interested in making your own vinegar, finding mother is indeed lucky. Mother can also be purchased directly. Cultivating mother of vinegar is an art in itself; commercial vinegar makers prize their high quality cultures.

You may notice a bottle of colored vinegar gradually become cloudy. Bottles may even develop sediment in the bottom given enough time. This is natural; it does not mean your vinegar has spoiled. Because it is so highly acidic, vinegar is used to preserve foods - and it preserves itself. It’s shelf life is indefinite and it never needs refrigeration. Unpasteurized vinegar may begin to grow a wispy, spiderweb-like substance: this is the mother! It is safe; use it with confidence.

Vinegar health benefits

While it is a benefit to your diet, vinegar also has other healthy perks. Apple cider vinegar in particular is used in many home remedies. Drink a cup of water with a couple tablespoons of ACV to settle an upset stomach and relieve a low-grade fever. Add a cup of vinegar to your bathwater to tackle a yeast infection. Mix one quarter cup of ACV with one quarter cup of honey and drink a few times each day to ease the symptoms of your cold.

For conditioning, shampoo your hair with a mixture of one cup ACV to one quart water. This strengthens hair, removes waxy build up from hair styling products, and offers relief to dandruff sufferers. Use vinegar in place of commercial denture cleaners for better results. Vinegar will help whiten dentures and also teeth- just give your toothbrush a dip. Apple cider vinegar will even remove warts.

Vinegar cleaning tips

White vinegar is best for cleaning. Its high acidity dissolves, degreases, and deodorizes. The list of things that vinegar will clean is endless. It is especially helpful for streak-free glass, dissolving rust and limescale, and cleaning your microwave without any toxic leftovers.

Commercial cleaners have fumes and residue that are flat out poisonous. Don’t mix cleaners, be sure to wear gloves, use adequate ventilation... they stop just short of telling you that you may be accidentally making a bomb. Vinegar safely mixes with water, lemon juice, or ammonia. The famous “vinegar and baking soda volcano” science experiment from elementary school works beautifully to unclog and deodorize a slow drain.

THE Vinaigrette

Olive oil is top-shelf healthy. Mix it with vinegar and you’ll have a classic dressing for drizzling your salad and bread.

Since oil and water do not mix, vinaigrette is a very unstable mixture. It should be made fresh. It doesn’t store well. The best ratio of oil to vinegar is 3:1. Don’t spare on quality here- break out your extra virgin olive oil.

Add lemon juice, herbs or spices. Honey will aid the mixing and help hold the dressing together longer.

Don’t refrigerate, and be sure all ingredients are room temperature before you begin. Cooler oil is much more difficult to blend with the vinegar.

When making vinaigrette, do not use an aluminum bowl. Glass is best. The acidic vinegar will react with the metal and leave a bad taste.

Here is the base recipe:

  • 1½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper

Wisk until combined. A blender is a nice option here, but shaking the dressing in a glass jar is also a common method.


© 2009 wyanjen at HubPages

Vinegar: Love to the Mother

Click for more Foodie Info:

Kosher Salt

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Submit a Comment

  • quuenieproac profile image

    quuenieproac 7 years ago from Malaysia

    Never knew vinegar has so many amazing uses. Thanks for sharing!

  • wyanjen profile image

    Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

    Hello Peggy

    I remember as a little kid thinking that vinegar was the most horrible thing on the planet. Funny how tastes change!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Yes...vinegar has been used for cleaning purposes for a long time as well as cooking purposes. Many different flavors considering the latter purpose...all of which are good. We keep quite an assortment in our pantry.

  • Niteriter profile image

    Niteriter 8 years ago from Canada

    So... that was YOU! That bartender used to be my best friend.

  • wyanjen profile image

    Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan


    It's a new twist to the phase over-served.

    Important note: when using the phrase "over-served", be sure there are no industry professionals present. I was talking about sloppy drunk guy at a bar once. This dude was schmammered. The fun and laughter ceased instantly when I said, "His only problem is that he was over-served".

    All eyes were on the bartender. Well, except HIS eyes. They were glaring at me with a slow, simmering hatred... Evidently the beer slingers get a little sensitive you accuse them of slinging beer.

    I should have yelled, "ENABLER!!" But, I did the right thing and left a nice tip as I slipped out the door.

  • Niteriter profile image

    Niteriter 8 years ago from Canada

    I had an intoduction to the alcohol-vinegar relationship during my schooling in the art of homebrewed beer. I learned early that dirty socks, apple cores, and cigarette butts mixed in with the yeast, sugar, and other (secret) ingredients generally led to an unpleasant outcome.

    I didn't let those unpleasant batches go to waste, though. I kept them to give to my occasional guest against whom I may have had a temporary grudge for some petty reason. I'd prime the bum with my fresh stuff and then give him really generous portions of the vinegar once he got into the swing of things.

    The resulting illnesses were always blamed on the imbiber's embarrassing inability to imbibe in an orderly and manly fashion. Which is how I remained a popular member of the community while laying a stern punishment on anyone I didn't particularly like.

  • wyanjen profile image

    Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

    You won't get ANY argument from me:

    UFC is way more interesting than reading hubs. :)

    My hub pages career began with a hub about kosher salt. I was always seeing it, but I never heard anybody explain what it really is...

    same with olive oil... and baking soda... lol

    I had a good time researching my foodie info hubs, and they have been perfect to practice with.

    Just today, I volcano'd all of my sink drains. I can't help it - it's hilarious, and it cleans the drains completely.

    Now, sadly, I am out of vinegar.

    Have fun, watch out for those flying elbows!

  • qwark profile image

    qwark 8 years ago

    Hey Wyan:

    LOL...I looked at your "hubs" to see what you write about.

    Didn't find anything I thought would interest me..but!...I read this "hub" about vinegar and love it!

    I'm a vinegar lover! My grandmother was German and used vinegar on everything. I loved my "Gramma" so, naturally, I loved

    This was very informative! I'm gonna read some more..:-)

    Now? The fights! I'm off. :-)

  • wyanjen profile image

    Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

    Thanks for stopping over, fishtiger.

    I'm interested to see how well the apple cider vinegar helps out.

    Let me know!


  • fishtiger58 profile image

    fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

    My son has terrible dandruff and I am going to try the cider vinegar on his head. I use it for other cleaning type duties but never thought to use it for dandruff. Can't wait to see it work. Thanks for a great hub.

  • wyanjen profile image

    Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

    Thank you Tony :-)

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

    What a wonderful Hub! I had to go to your Hub on kosher salt to find out why you specified it in this recipe. Thanks. Will look out for it now.

    Love and peace