What is Cider Vinegar?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from cider, typically cider made with apples. Cider is a liquid made by pressing fresh fruit. If allowed to ferment, cider will become alcoholic, and if it is oxidized and fermented properly, the alcoholic cider will become vinegar. Cider vinegar has been made for centuries in numerous nations, along with other vinegar products. It is a rich golden to brown color, and should be stored in a cool dark place such as a cabinet until ready for use.

Apple cider vinegar is made from the freshly pressed juice or cider of apples.
Apple cider vinegar is made from the freshly pressed juice or cider of apples.

The word “vinegar” comes from a French term, vin aigre, meaning “soured wine.” Many early vinegars were made from batches of wine, especially those which had gone awry, and wine vinegar is still a popular condiment throughout the Mediterranean. Cider vinegar was probably also an early discovery, given the ease with which cider can turn alcoholic and then convert to vinegar in imperfect storage conditions. As a condiment, vinegar remains eternally popular in many countries.

White, cider and balsamic vinegar.
White, cider and balsamic vinegar.

Many health claims are associated with cider vinegar in particular, probably because it is fermented in a long process which generates mother of vinegar, a bacterial slime which forms on the top of vinegar as it ferments. Mother of vinegar is harmless and bland in flavor, and some people believe that the acetic acid bacteria which make it are beneficial. For this reason, cider vinegars are often sold unfiltered, allowing consumers to choose whether or not they want to consume the mother of vinegar.

Cider vinegar is a safe, natural, and effective household cleaner.
Cider vinegar is a safe, natural, and effective household cleaner.

As a cooking ingredient, cider vinegar pops up in many dishes. It has a mellow and slightly acidic flavor which complements some foods. In addition, it has historically been used as a disinfectant, along with many other vinegars. This is a valid medical use for cider vinegar, especially if better disinfectants are not available. It has also been shown to be useful for reducing inflammation, when applied in the form of a compress to the inflamed area. For some injuries, it may be more effective than ice and other traditional anti-inflammatories.

Some people believe that preparations including cider vinegar can reduce spider veins.
Some people believe that preparations including cider vinegar can reduce spider veins.

Other health claims for cider vinegar are more dubious. Many dieters use it, claiming that it induces a feeling of fullness and that it promotes health. In addition, some people use it in skin care, because of its astringent properties. However, it can damage sensitive skin and is extremely painful if it gets into the eyes, and this use is not advised.

Cider vinegar is often commercially made using large steel fermentation tanks.
Cider vinegar is often commercially made using large steel fermentation tanks.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon353187

There are over 100 uses for vinegar that would get rid of literally dozens of chemicals in your house.

anon253784

Can you substitute rice vinegar with cider? And would cider vinegar taste good with cherry tomatoes, or would the balsamic v. work better?

anon172880

can you use red wine vinegar instead of cider vinegar in a recipe?

anon116999

most recipes ask for "cider vinegar," I have scoured every market to no avail. I have to assume that "apple cider" and "cider" vinegar are one and the same. anyone agree?

anon109762

Is there a difference between apple cider vinegar and just "cider vinegar"?

chrisinbama

@dega2010: Yes – you are correct. I keep vinegar at my house all the time because there are numerous uses for it.

I have arthritis in my knees and I mix 2 spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of water three times a day as a remedy.

I also use it for sunburn relief. Apply the vinegar to the burned skin for immediate relief.

dega2010

Aren't there many household uses for vinegar?

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