Apple Cider Vinegar - Good for What Ails You
by Enola Gay
Years ago we had a
neighbor (he was rather old and crotchety) who was a
master farrier. He took a shine to Maid Elizabeth
and offered to trim and shoe her horse's hooves in
exchange for her doing odd jobs around his
One day, as Elizabeth was filling
feed bunks with hay I watched as the farrier filled
buckets with grain. Into the feeder he dumped a
scoop of steamed oats, followed by a half a scoop
sweet feed. On top of that he poured a ladle full
of amber colored liquid. Never having seen anyone
feed their horses quite like that before, I asked
what he had poured over the feed. He looked up at
me, one eyebrow raised and said "its apple cider
vinegar". He might as well have added "you dummy",
but he just shook his head instead.
want to seem foolish, but I just couldn't let it go.
I had to know why he fed his horses vinegar. And I
was REALLY interested to see if they ate it! Well,
I didn't have to wait long to find out if vinegar
was offensive to the horse palate - they ate it
right up, just like it was a bucket full of molasses
grain. I hesitated a moment and then blurted "why
did you feed them vinegar?" Master Farrier rolled
his eyes, sighed and said "it's a dewormer, of
I wasn't about to ask him any more
questions, but I did tuck that nugget of information
away for further research. Although I have never
come across any "scientific" evidence that ACV
(apple cider vinegar) works for deworming, the
web is full of anecdotal
goes far beyond treating animals for worms and
includes fly control, skin/coat problems and
I became even more
intrigued with the amazing properties of ACV when I
read about spraying it on weeds to eradicate them.
We have a problem with thistles and hawk weed and
although commercial weed killer will kill them, the
hawk weed especially, always seems to come back the
next year. Eager to put the vinegar to the test, I
poured some (full strength) into a spray bottle and
sprayed both hawk weed and thistle plants and waited
to see what would happen. It took about 4 hours to
notice any difference. At first, the plants just
looked a little poorly. After 4 hours they looked
positively droopy. The next day....both the thistle
and the hawk weed were shriveled up masses. Some of
the larger plants required another spraying the next
day before they succumbed to the ACV, however,
everything I sprayed the vinegar on gave up the
ghost - eventually. I didn't do a mass spraying of
all of the invasive plants in my 30 acre yard simply
because I didn't have enough vinegar, however, it
really does keep the weeds down in my little garden
areas. And I would prefer to use ACV over
commercially produced weed killer any day.
As if I wasn't sold on ACV already, I came across a
little book called "Folk Medicine".
It was written by an old country Doc in Vermont
back in the '50's by the name of D.C. Jarvis, M.D.
Dr. Jarvis spent a lifetime treating rural
Vermonters and, being equipped with an inquisitive
mind, began to notice a connection between the use
of ACV in his patients and their overall health.
His book is chock full of both anecdotal and
scientific evidence as to the efficacy of ACV in not
only promoting good health but also treating
sickness and disease.
Just for the record, I
do not believe that Apple Cider Vinegar (or anything
else, for that matter) is a cure-all or a miracle
drug. I think it works great for some things and
not for others. I think it works differently with
different physiological make-ups. That being said,
I think ACV is an absolute requirement for any
homesteader/prepper/survivalist. I think the list
of its benefits it too long for one small blog post
and its potential uses are beyond measure. The fact
that you can make it in your kitchen, in sufficient
quantities to keep your animals healthy, your family
healthy and your weeds unhealthy is merit enough to
make it worth your while.
Here is the best
part of all. Apple Cider Vinegar is a snap to make.
There are numerous methods of making vinegar -
simply Google it and find the method that is most
convenient for you. I made ACV last fall, after
partaking in a friends apple cider pressing. My
method of ACV is possibly the most simple and the
most effective. I started with 6 gallons of fresh
apple cider. Although we originally put all of the
cider into a 6 gallon carboy, to make ACV we poured
it into 7 (1) gallon jars (leaving room to stir).
We did strain the cider as we poured it into the
gallon jars to get most of the big apple chunks out,
so that the ACV would be a little clearer. After
putting the cider in the jars, we put a bit of
"mother" into each jar of cider. The "mother" is
the icky looking stuff that floats at the bottom of
the apple cider vinegar that you buy at the health
food store (Bragg's). It almost looks like a human
organ, a big flat matt of a thing - but, this is the
good stuff! My "mother" came from a friend who had
made her own vinegar the year before. She just
separated a big clump from her "mother", put it into
a pint jar and sent it home to become my "mother".
There is no measurement required for your "mother".
I just divided the "mother" that I had (it turned
out to be about 2 T per jar) between the 7 jars of
cider and called it good.
Apple cider vinegar needs all of the good stuff
floating around in the air (yeast) to get good and
frothy and strong. Rather than putting lids on my
cider I cut pieces of cheesecloth, placed them on
the jars and secured them with big rubber bands. I
set the jars on the shelf in my kitchen and let the
"mother" and the yeast do their thing. Every so
often, I would take the cloth off the tops of my
jars and give them a stir. I should have done this
every week, however, I got to it about every three
weeks. It didn't really seem to effect the vinegar.
The jars sat on my shelf for about 3 months when I
noticed that the liquid was starting to evaporate.
At this point I taste tested it (wow! - it was
super strong vinegar). I strained the vinegar out
of the 1 gallon jars (making sure to save the
"mother) and bottled it in more manageable bottles.
The "mother" I put in a liter jar and covered with
apple cider vinegar and put in a cool place. It
will wait there until next fall when I make another
batch or until someone needs a bit of "mother" for
At this point we have no large
animals to feed ACV to, however, we do have
children. Every morning, the kids and I line up for
our glass of apple cider vinegar (just a bit of
vinegar in the bottom of a glass filled with water).
It is an invigorating way to start the day!
Although not a miracle cure, ACV comes pretty