The history of apple vinegar

It is unknown when and how humans came up with the idea to control vinegar fermentation. We know, however, that vinegar has been used as a disinfectant and food preservative for thousands of years. Vinegar was used in ancient Babylon, about 5 000 years B.C. Phoenicians would drink “shekar”, a watered-down drink with apple vinegar. Song Ci, a famous Chinese physician who lived in 12th century, called the “forefather of forensic medicine”, recommended a mixture of vinegar and sulphur to prevent infections during autopsies. Vinegar is mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Proverbs (1, 2). Ancient Romans would drink a beverage called “posca” which was very similar to Phoenician “shekar”. Hippocrates, called the father of medicine, talked about the beneficial properties of vinegar as early as in 4th century B.C. He recommended it for numerous medical conditions, as a mild detoxifying, strengthening and disinfecting agent (3). His views were repeated by Avicenna, a famous Islamic physician and philosopher who lived in the 10th century. Apple vinegar is referred to in a Medieval legend from the plague epidemic period. During the plague, stealing from empty houses abandoned due to the epidemic was a real treat to thieves. Four thieves were caught in one of the towns, and during a court trial they confessed how they had protected themselves against the disease. “The four thieves’ vinegar”, also called Marseilles vinegar, as this is where the events allegedly took place, is still a famous mixture of vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary, pepper mint, clove and thyme.

How is apple vinegar produced?

Apple vinegar is obtained by way of the vinegar fermentation process which takes place thanks to Acetobacter bacteria. Practically any fruit type can be subjected to such fermentation (as a culture medium to the bacteria), and an excellent fruit vinegar may be obtained. However, it is apple vinegar that is believed to be the best for health purposes. Not every apple vinegar can boast the same high quality. Which vinegar is the best?

Only vinegar which has not been pasteurised or filtered, or subjected to any preservation or purification processes may contain live bacteria cultures called the vinegar mother. Thanks to this we can be certain that vinegar has not lost its health-promoting ingredients we can find in it.

What can we find in a good apple vinegar?

Apple vinegar ingredients:

a) vitamins - A, C, E, P, B

b) minerals - potassium, iron, copper, silicon

c) enzymes

d) pectin

e) polyphenol compounds (gallic acid, catechins, epicatechins, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and coumaric acid)

f) fibre

g) beta carotene,

h) and, of course, the “vinegar mother”. Vinegar mother (in Latin: Mycoderma aceti) is the product of the miraculous conversion of fruit juice to vinegar. It contributes to converting the residue of alcohol and sugar in the fermented fruit juice to obtain a delicate apple vinegar characterised by a fresh scent. You can prepare such natural vinegar at home. The recipe is available under the following link: (a link to the recipe website).

High content of the above ingredients, in combination with the greatest treasure of vinegar, “vinegar mother”, has a beneficial effect on numerous aspects of our body functions and our surroundings. Apple vinegar is mainly used:

- for weight loss (a link)

- for the strengthening of our organism

- as a cosmetic

- as a disinfectant

- as a cleaning agent

- and as a foodstuff, of course.

If you want to find out more about the applications of apple vinegar, feel free to read our other blog articles.