Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vinegar Magic

Yesterday I got an out-of-the-blue email from one of my old lurker buddies asking about 'wild fruit vinegars.' Christine, aka, WildCucumber, told me she's been making vinegar in her kitchen from fruit she gets around her home in Quebec.  This made me remember a paper I had recently bookmarked about the health properties of vinegar, but hadn't gotten around to reading. 

I clicked on the vinegar paper and scrolled down, wow.  Vinegar is amazing stuff! 

The abstract alone will make you want to start including vinegar on a regular basis:

A variety of natural vinegar products are found in civilizations around the world. A review of research on these fermented products indicates numerous reports of health benefits derived by consumption of vinegar components. Therapeutic effects of vinegar arising from consuming the inherent bioactive components including acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, ephicatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, and ferulic acid cause antioxidative, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antitumor, antiobesity, antihypertensive, and cholesterol-lowering responses. The aims of this article are to discuss vinegar history, production, varieties, acetic acid bacteria, and functional properties of vinegars

The paper lays out a great timeline and early uses of vinegar:

The earliest known use of vinegar dates to more than 10000 y ago (Tan 2005; Johnston and Gaas 2006). Flavored vinegar has been produced and sold as a commercial product for approximately 5000 y. The Babylonians produced and sold vinegars flavored with fruit, honey, and malt until the 6th century. References in the Old Testament and from Hippocrates indicate vinegar was used medicinally to manage wounds. Sung Tse, who is credited with developing the field of forensic medicine in the 10th century in China, used sulfur and vinegar as hand washing agents to prevent infection (Chan and others 1993; Tan 2005). Early U.S. medical practitioners used vinegar to treat many ailments including poison ivy, croup, stomachache, high fever, and edema or “dropsy” as it was known in the 18th century (Tan 2005).

So, I guess we could say that vinegar is "Paleo" if that term still does anything for you, and it is certainly an ancestral food.  When you find out how easy it is to make vinegar, you will see that vinegar has probably been with man since the very first Autumn.

Here is a list of the microbes associated with some different types of vinegar.  We'll call them 'probiotics':

SpeciesType of vinegar
Acetobacter acetiCider
Acetobacter intermediusCider
Acetobacter pasteurianusCider, red wine, traditional Balsamic and rice
Acetobacter pomorumIndustrial
Acetobacter obiediensIndustrial
Gluconacetobacter entaniiIndustrial
Gluconacetobacter europaeusWhite wine, red wine, spirit and cider
Gluconacetobacter hanseniiCider and traditional Balsamic
Gluconobacter oxydansWine
Gluconacetobacter xylinusCider, white wine, and traditional Balsamic

I asked Christine how she makes vinegar, and her reply was in terms I can fully relate to!  I'll let her explain the process:

Woot! That paper made my brain very happy. Not that I understood it all, but that's part of the fun. I'm weird that way.

Anyway - I'm pretty rough and ready in my kitchen, so here, roughly is how I've made vinegar:

I have one of those nifty hand cranked apple peeler/corer devices. I dry a lot of apples (bought, wild, and homegrown) for winter. Last year I put my peels and cores, roughly chopped (and the browner the better) into industrial sized pickle jars, tossed in some sugar, topped it up with water. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to use tap water with chlorine, but it worked out fine, so I guess they don't over-chlorinate the water in this village..

Anyway, I'd say the jar was a little over half full of peels and cores. Stirred it several times a day. It was covered with cheesecloth & rubber band, then a tea towel. Eventually I kind of forgot about it (that's the rough and ready part). I peeked once in a while and began tasting at about a month (?). It was boozy for a long time, then the blob grew. I let it get to a good size, strained it and in a little while longer hey presto, vinegar.

I've read it takes longer with whole fruit than peels, we'll see. This year I'm using some of last years left over mother to kickstart the process. Sorry I can't give accurate time lines, it's likely dependent on too many variables.

By the way, for years I've been infusing regular ACV with various weeds. Dandelion leaf & root, nettle leaf, comfrey, red clover, burdock root, etc. They're all delicious and apparently you get some of the minerals/medicinals from the herbs this way. The BEST for flavour is pine needle. Tastes like balsamic. Just stuff a jar with the plant material, fill it with vinegar, walk away. Supposed to be ready in 4 - 6 weeks, but I've left the herbs in the jars for over a year with no ill effects. Good for baths, too.  - Christine

Yep, that's all.  Stuff some apple cores and peels in a pickle jar, cover, and walk away.  I'm sure you have a thousand questions, so hopefully Christine will be around for comments. 

I plan on giving this a try soon, we have an abundance of rose hips and cranberries this year, I wonder if those will work.  The jug I want to use is in 'Beet Kvass Mode' right now, so it will have to wait a couple weeks.

Also from the paper is a flowchart of vinegar production methods.  It looks a bit more involved than Christine's methods, and it makes me wonder if the success that Christine has is due in part to a local population of the microbes responsible for turning fruit into wine and then vinegar.  My Grandpa used to make elderberry wine and used no yeast, it relied on wild yeast.  I tried making wine in this fashion in Alaska and it didn't turn out at all.

So, we'll see.  I'll take pictures and chronicle my own vinegar production trials soon. If anyone else tries, let us know how it turns out.  

I've also just learned that Christine has her own blog, Falling into Grace, one that is exactly like the blogs I love the most.  It's homegrown and from her heart.  I've just added it to my blog list.  I think we can learn a lot from Wild Cucumber. 

Her email, that I quoted above, looks at first like a jumble of rambling thoughts, but hidden in that email are concepts that we are just beginning to understand the importance of...probiotics, prebiotics, and Short-Chain Fatty Acids  I hope you all take a look at the vinegar paper and then learn to make your own vinegar just as Christine describes.  The 'blob' thing scares me a little, I managed to kill my first batch of water kefir much to the horror of 'The Kefir Kween,' Lauren, but I did learn how to do it and it turned out very good.  I even made some homemade cream soda with it.  Another blog!

Anyway, thanks Christine for the emails and vinegar inspiration.  This is definitely the right time of the year for this.

I'll leave you all with these thoughts from Christine:

Oh also, I make my herbal tinctures in vodka. My dandelion root and burdock root and come to think of it, echinacea all separate into layers, with white stuff in the bottom. Turns out the white stuff is inulin!! I'm pretty much convinced that anyone with access to weeds can skip supplements of pre and pro biotics...

I know, it's ridiculous how we think everything is so complicated when it just plain isn't. Once I got the hang of sauerkraut I got much braver with letting things get smelly on my counter.
Words of wisdom.


  1. "the inherent bioactive components including acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, ephicatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, and ferulic acid"

    Good to know :-)

    1. I knew you'd love that! I was simply amazed by the components that make up vinegar. I would love to see a comparison of these bioactives and microbes in traditionally prepared vs. industrially.

  2. I've read that my beloved kombucha is a form of vinegar. It certainly tastes like vinegar if you leave it to ferment for too long, and grows a "mother" like vinegar does.

    I've tried making my own cider and it ended up tasting pretty vinegary. If I'd let it ferment for longer, I'd have ended up with homemade cider vinegar. I still enjoyed the alcoholic cider though, even if it didn't taste quite right!

    I plan on trying pineapple vinegar next time I buy a pineapple. The peel is used to make the vinegar so none of the fruit is wasted.

    1. I haven't tried making kombucha yet, it's on my list, though. I suspect that all of these lacto-fermented drinks are similar to vinegar, maybe just not quite as strong.

      Let me know how the pineapple vinegar turns out, that sounds amazing. I have a chokecherry tree in my yard, maybe I will try to beat the robins to them and use those for vinegar, would that work?

    2. I must admit that I'm not familiar with chokeberries. I have successfully made a wild fermented young country wine using mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrents, I believe) following these instructions by Sandor Katz:-

      As Mr Katz says in his book "Wild Fermentation":

      "Most of my experience with vinegar-making has been from wine-making gone awry. I imagine that is how vinegar first came into being, for alcohol ferments left in contact with the air inevitably become home to bacteria of the genus Acetobacter and aerobic yeasts, called Mycoderma aceti, that consume alcohol and transform it into acetic acid. The word “vinegar” comes from the French vinaigre: vin, wine, and aigre, sour. Vinegar is an excellent consolation for your wine-making failure. It is a preservative in its own right, healthful, with many delicious uses in cooking."

      Given that, I don't see why you couldn't make vinegar with your chokeberries, Tim. There's only one way to find out!

    3. I'm uber lazy. Buy fruit vinegars at the Korean supermarket. But this pineapple vinegar sound intriguing. Just add sugar and water to all the peels? And wait it out?

    4. Here's a good tutorial on making pineapple vinegar:-

      I haven't tried it myself yet, but will soon.

      Just a note on that article. It specifies using organic pineapple, and I think most of us would agree that organic is preferable. I can't always afford organic produce though and have used non-organic in plenty of different ferments and they've always worked fine. Just give them a good scrub with a brush first.

    5. Well, my pineapple vinegar didn't turn out well. I had to chuck it! :-(

      I didn't use organic pineapples because I couldn't source any. My previous experience has shown me that fermenting non-organic produce, while not ideal, usually works fine. I did some research on pineapple production and found to my horror that they're often sprayed with some heavy-duty chemicals to keep their appearance (this usually presents little danger to consumers because of a pineapple's thick skin). So, I won't be using non-organic pineapples to make vinegar again. I'm now loathe to buy non-organic pineapples at all after reading the destruction those harsh chemicals wreak on the local communities of the pineapple growers.

      I hope I can buy organic pineapples in my area in the future. I'd prefer to eat a lot less organic pineapples than lots of cheap ones.

  3. I buy Braggs ACV by the gallon. I cook with it and I drink it before bed. Not everyday but a couple of times per week. It's usually just a TBSP that I water down. If I get a nasty taste in my mouth I'll swish it around and then do a thorough rinse.

    1. me too, its around $18/gallon at my local co-op.

      BTW Tim, there's a nutritionist on Christian radio stations, Dr. Bob Marshall that recommends juicing russet potatoes for kidney problems. I tried this and there was quite a bit of starch produced that settles. Might be an effective way for some folks to try RS.

    2. I have one of those cool Jack Lalanne Power Juicers and use it all summer when I have carrots and beets. The other night, I threw a potato in and juiced it. I got about 1TBS of starch in the juice and then squeezed another TBS out of the pulp (through cheesecloth). This was a new red potato and they seem kind of watery, I want to try again with a mature Yukon Gold, I'll bet I can get 4-5TBS from a big potato.

      There are all kinds of websites touting the benefits of potato juice. I drank it, it was OK. All of the 'bad stuff' people are scared of with potatoes (solanine, choconine, etc..) are in the proteins of the potato which would be removed when juicing a potato. I'm not convinced there's anything bad in a potato unless it's turning green or sprouted.

      I have been trying different ways to extract starch from potatoes. I am amazed at how much starch is in a potato. They say 16-20% of the weight of a potato is starch, so a huge one pound (455g) potato should have nearly 90g (9TBS) of starch in it. I've been able to get 4-5TBS just by grinding in a food processor and squeezing the pulp through cheesecloth. I have a bunch of pictures, I'll do a blog on it soon.

      The only thing I don't like about store-bought potato starch is that you just don't know 100% it's origin or RS content. Also they add sulfur to keep it white, not much, less than what's in dried apricots or raisins or a glass of wine, but still, it's something added.

      Homemade PS is kind of off-white, grayish. I wouldn't mind this color if I was buying it, but people expect it to be bright white.

    3. Am I wrong that a half water, half ACV makes a good mouth wash? Would the acidity tend to kill bad bugs while being OK for good bugs? I don't buy the idea that the acid it bad for your tooth enamel because humans have been eating acidic fruit for ages. Maybe if you suck on limes all day ;-) But I would think if you follow an ACV rinse with a rince of just water,... that plus the saliva produced would bring the PH of your mouth back to normal pretty darn quick.

    4. Brad, acid dissolves tooth enamel. But don't let me stop you. There's some great images I've seen of people who chronically suck on lemons........ $30,000 worth of dental work to restore all the acid damage. But go right ahead and when you are done, make an appointment with me. LOL!

    5. I was hoping you'd see that! Thanks, Gab

      Brad - I'd listen to her.

    6. Gab, how much damage from 30 seconds per day of a diluted ACV rinse? Again, I'm skeptical but willing to believe if there is evidence. Any studies on this? Do you know what is the chemical difference of the teeth (or saliva?) of primates that keeps their teeth from self destructing in short order with all the fruit they eat?

    7. Loewenhoek, the microscope guy took plaque off his teeth to look at the 'animalcules' under the microscope. Applying vinegar to the plaque had not effect on killing it.

      The ambient pH of saliva is close to 7.0. It's like that for a reason. It also contains buffer to keep pH up.

  4. It took me months to get up the courage to make kefir from real grains, but I'm proud to say I'm an expert. Only problem is, I LOVE this kefir, and can't drink just a cup, but end up guzzling the whole mason jar down. So....I let my grains drink milk in the refrigerator for a few weeks, and then try again - same thing happens. I have all the stuff for sauerkraut, but for some reason can't bring myself to try making it myself. Yet.

    1. does water kefir help much in re-establishing good bacteria? i have seen a website that says it contains about 20 different strains of good bacteria but not sure if people find it working or not.

    2. From all I've read kefir is great for everything gut-wise. I don't think it can directly re-populate a gut biome, but it does all sorts of other things that lead to 'setting the stage' for the biome to return to a normal, healthy state.

      I think that's all you can really do, aside from fecal transplants. You just need to provide nourishment and live a gut-friendly life (sleep, exercise, etc..).

      Incorporate as many gut-healthy things into your diet as you can. Read carefully all of Christine's comments I quoted above. Note words like 'dandelion' 'inulin' 'weeds'. I would like to think that Christine has an excellent gut flora eating and living the way she does.

    3. I'd like to think I do too, and the old gut certainly doesn't give me much trouble (knock wood). My weight is ok, a little plump but past menopause that's likely a good thing.

      Here's a crazy thought - could my "allergic reactions" to antibiotics actually be my 90% fighting back? I haven't had much occasion to take them, just once or twice on a prophylactic basis from dentists in the last 20 or so years. Never more than one dose, seeing as how I started fainting.

    4. Thanks again for letting me use your ideas. I have a beet kvass blog read, a sauerkraut one in the works, potato starch making, and maybe a kombucha blog! Oh, and a spruce gum blog, too. I really do like your blog! I spent all yesterday afternoon reading. You do need to find a good mushroom expert and pick his brains where you live, you'll be amazed! It's good to be scared if you aren't sure, though.

      I don't know what to make of your reaction to antibiotics. It could very well be as you say. I know when I first took a probiotic last year, it made me feel ill. It was like my gut bugs were saying, 'Hey, nobody invited you guys!'

      I have 10 blog posts on antibiotics that will auto-post every Monday starting next week. I learned a lot writing them, I think you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about antibiotics by the time they are through.

      Thanks again!

    5. Tim, didn't I read you once said that probitics with tend to "bind" to RS if you ingest them at the same time?, a benefit to mixing spud-starch in with your kefir before chowing down?

    6. Yep! It's amazing science known as 'ligand (or molecular) mimicry'. The bacteria are tricked into thinking the RS is actually the large intestine, so they bind to it. These particular bacteria don't eat it, they just like the way it feels. Once they get to the large intestine, they get kicked off and have to find a new home as bacteria that do eat RS chow down.

    7. Wait, what?? That's amazing. I had a fermented veggie mix with my reheated rice and an egg this morning. I just though it would taste good, who knew I was being so smart!

      I am never going to get any sleep if I keep hanging around your comment section at night.

    8. I forget not everyone has followed the RS show from the beginning. Read this and be even more amazed:

  5. Coincidentally, last month I experimented with using ACV as a mouthwash. Maybe it sounds gross, but what I did was take a half swig of ACV right from the bottle followed by a half swig of water, swish, then swallow. I quickly became used to the flavor then even liked it. Maybe I'll start doing it again.

    1. The rumors are that it whitens teeth *but* can be bad for tooth enamel. The latter I don't buy. The whitening effect I don't know. Didn't do it long enough I think. Plus I'm a big coffee drinker so...

    2. No idea. I have read several warnings that ACV is bad for teeth, but don't know if that's true or not. Watered down should be fine anyway.

      I'm just now eating a big bowl of hashbrowns drenched in balsamic vinegar...mmmmmm

    3. Brad, the vinegar will weaken your enamel eventually. Been there, so I second what Tim says, diluted is better.*Gargling* with ACV diluted with water is great for the throat and therefore the whole mouth. I'm a coffee drinker too, and a smoker (!). I've found a strong mint tea makes a great mouthwash and if you keep at it, whitens teeth.

    4. I'm confused. So the suggestion is to eat all kinds of acidic fermented foods and fruit but 30 seconds of a mouth rinse with diluted vinegar is a problem? I don't see the difference. Now if you are saying that undiluted vinegar is damaging, then OK. That seems plausible enough.

    5. There was an article in the WAPF journal earlier this year, written by a holistic dentist, who said that he is seeing a lot of tooth enamel damage in his patients who eat a lot of lactofermented foods and drinks. He recommended brushing your teeth after consuming them.
      My daughter's midwife recommends drinking ACV through a straw to the back of the throat.
      I wonder if it is a problem because so many of us grew up on an SAD diet which was detrimental to teeth and bone development? Thin enamel? Low mineral absorption?

  6. Thanks again for another good blog. I'm so glad I got onto your blog at the very beginning. It sure beats trying to read through two years of blogs with 50 comments on each one but you don't want to miss anything.

  7. Love this blog. Some good info about kombucha/kefir and vinegar making can be found here:

  8. Hi Tim,

    I created a Live Journal account just so I could comment on your blog. (Same Kathy who emailed you last week.) I have a couple questions for you:

    1. Do you think there is an optimal fat content in the diet to help balance microflora? I eat 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil a day because I'm teetering on being underweight (105 #). Wondering if that's too much or makes any difference at all. It's my primary source of fat because I can't do dairy.

    2. I have not had much luck with potato starch. Once I get up to a tablespoon, it shuts things down, so to speak. Your comment about commercial potato starch got me thinking about sulfur. I'm working on getting my microbiome tested (insurance issues), so I don't know what's in there. But if it's too much sulfur-reducing bacteria, could that be the problem with PS, and if so, could a low sulfur diet starve out the little b@stards? Is this too much of an oversimplification?


    1. Well I'm honored to have you here!

      1. I'd have to refer you to the Perfect Health Diet. I have never really given it much thought. I think the tendency is for people to over-do the fats. They don't seem to have an impact on gut flora, but some oils are more antimicrobial (a good thing) than others, ie. coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil.

      2. Try making your own potato starch, it's easy. Or try a different prebiotic like inulin, larch AG, or a combination of several.

    2. Thanks so much for the suggestions! Time for the next round of experiments.

  9. i stopped taking vinegar, after i had a root canal even i took K2 daily

    1. try the green pastures high vitamin butter oil + cod liver oil combination. R. Nikoley said it worked great for his teeth, noticeably better than just K2 pills. I have 5 root canals and before going paleo my teeth felt like chalk. i think i'll finally have the money in Sept to supplement with both of those as well as some K2-mk4 and mk7.

  10. I didn't see it mentioned in any of the other comments but part 2 of the Catalyst program on gut health is up and it's quite good, as was part 1.

    Anyway, one of the segments was on the benefits of vinegar.

  11. Does store bought vinegar have the health qualities you are looking for or do you have to make it at home like sauerkraut to get the most benefit?

    1. I would guess it's 'almost' as good as homemade. Similar to the differences between raw, whole milk and pasteurized milk.

      Someone mentioned Bragg's ACV up above. Bragg's has 'the mother' in it. I think that makes it a bit more healthy than the clear ACV you normally buy.

      I'm going to give making it a good try, if it doesn't turn out I will just keep using my store bought stuff.

    2. any opinions on the refrigerated sauerkraut in the bag? i see it at Walmart for about $2.50 for what must be around 20 ounces or so. i wonder if there's any live cultures or even much benefit to be had from consuming it. does taste quite a bit better than the canned stuff.

  12. Hey Tim, could you describe your process for making hash browns, thank you

    1. Easy. I have one of those hand-held box shredder dealies, a cheap one. Just shred up a pile of potatoes, throw them in a hot no-stick pan. We use a ceramic pan. If it's not no-stick, you will have a mess on your hands! A well-seasoned cast-iron pan works, too.

      I cover and cook about 5-10 minutes until the bottom is nicely browned, then flip the whole thing. Cook on the other side until it's as brown as you like.

      That's how I 'dry fry' hash browns. Normally I'd do all this in bacon fat or butter.

      My shredder has 4 different cutting sides, I either use the one that makes long shreds or the one that makes thin slices, like for super-thin fried potatoes.

      They are also good cut into 1/4" cubes, they normally call those 'home fries' around here.

      But I think you'll find with the right pan you can fry potatoes just fine with no oil of any kind. But made with oil they are a lot tastier and easy to cook.

    2. thanks Tim, I am assuming that you then put them in the fridge overnight to generate RS and then re-heat them the following day? It seems pointless to eat them fresh and hot and not get the RS that you can get by cooling and then re-heating them the next day, right?

    3. Busted! You caught me. I always eat hashbrowns hot and fresh. They are just soooo good this way.

      For RS, just eat a big slice of raw potato when you are shredding them, a slice of raw potato has more RS than a whole potato cooked and cooled.

      Here's a good trick, though. Boil and chill potatoes, then cut into cubes and fry for 'home fries'. Those turn out really good.

  13. what about just flat out adding a few TBSP of dirt to a smoothie every day to restore beneficial bacteria?

    anyone got the stones to try it and let us know how it goes for a month or so?

    1. DON'T DO IT!

      While it sounds like a good idea, and might even work, here's why I would recommend against it:

      The soil is a jungle filled with microbes, fungi, and microscopic life of all kinds. Anthrax lives in the soil. T. gondii lives in the soil. You just can't be sure what you are getting.

      Here's a better idea: Plant a garden with lots of root crops or join a community farm that grows organically or figure out some way to get access to fresh, organic produce.

      The roots of plants are just like our large intestines, they rely on microbes to convert soil nutrients into plant nutrients, and for host defense. Plant roots attract the beneficial microbes that live in the soil and secrete loads of natural antibiotics that chase away pathogens.

      When you pluck a carrot from the dirt, it is covered in probiotics from the soil and also antibiotics, natural antibiotics.

      If you look at the background image, you'll see dirty carrots. I wouldn't eat them quite that dirty, usually I just quickly hose them off. But this is where your soil probiotics are concentrated...around plant roots and clinging to the microfilaments of the root hairs.

      There are pockets of soil around the world that have been studied and used as probiotics and even antibiotics, but just arbitrarily digging up a spoonful of dirt is not a guarantee of good microbes.

  14. Good post Tim!

    What's your take on cinnamon and it's health benefits? I've heard that it lowers bg aswell.

    1. I have heard that , too, but never really looked into it. I think there is 'magic' in all sorts of spices and hope to delve into more this year...all part of the Vegetable Pharm schtick, ya know.

    2. This is anecdotal, but if you have a tendency to be hypoglycemic, be careful with cinnamon. I was eating a teaspoon a day and began to feel as though I was drugged, sleepwalking with brain fog.
      Also, you want to get the Ceylon cinnamon, not the kind known as Saigon or Cassia Cinnamon which is the most common kind sold for baking etc.. Ceylon is a lighter, golder color. It's not as strong and has a mellower earthy smell. You can usually get it a specialty spice shops. Here's why: The Ceylon cinnamon has lower quantities of coumarin, which is a toxic substance in cinnamon that can affect the liver if taken on a daily basis.

    3. that's too bad. i was looking into adding cinnamon and piperine x turmeric to my smoothies :(

    4. While I attributed the brain fog, drugged feeling, to the blood glucose lowering effects of cinnamon, it is possible that it was actually caused by the toxic effects of the coumarin. You may want to try it for yourself, watching closely if you have any bad reaction, but definitely get the Ceylon cinnamon. Americans are used to the intense flavor of the Cassia cinnamon, but in Europe it has been greatly limited or banned for pubic consumption. The Ceylon type is more expensive, and harder to find, but this website:
      says :
      "the report shows that Ceylon Cinnamon has ultra low levels of Coumarin as to be totally insignificant, while all other types of Cinnamon exhibited high levels of Coumarin, especially Saigon Cinnamon."

      Cinnamon definitely has some very good antioxidant properties. There is good and bad in many foods, and at some point we just have to do the best we can with what we know, and not drive ourselves crazy over every thing we put in our mouths. It is hard though, for people who suffer the effects of chronic illnesses caused by the Sad American Diet and lifestyle. I guess that's why we come to websites like Tim's and try using the experiment of one, amateur scientist method to get well. It seems to be helping a lot of people.

    5. Anne - Wow, I hope you comment a lot here! I hope to explore thoughts exactly like these...vegetable pharm! Coumarin plays a big part in lots of botanicals. Probably more than we can even imagine.

  15. Check this out Tim et al:

    HIV, the gut, and lactobaccillus plantarum. Exciting!

    1. Yes that is exciting. L. plantarum is one of those probiotics that are easy to find in pill form, but we are probably better off getting from our beans, sauerkraut, and kefir.

      This part from the article was particularly intriguing:

      "We want to understand what enables the virus to invade the gut, cause inflammation and kill the immune cells,"


      "The epithelium is more than a physical barrier," said first author Lauren Hirao. "It's providing support to immune cells in their defense against viruses and bacteria."

      This has kind of been the underlying theme of the entire RS movement. (pun intended)

      Thanks! Great blog today, btw.

  16. I've just read a very interesting post about vinegar as a weigh-loss aid. When taken before a carbohydrate-rich meal, it reduces glucose and insulin spikes, especially in those with insulin resistance.

    Of particular note to those of us interested in resistant starch and potatoes is this quote:

    "Potatoes, served cold and dressed with vinegar as a salad showed considerably lower glycemic index than regular potatoes. The cold storage may favour the development of resistant starch, and the vinegar adds to the benefits. Both glycemic and Insulin Index reduced by 43% and 31% respectively."

    This post is part of a series of excellent and thoroughly researched articles on hormones and obesity.

    I posted about making pineapple vinegar earlier in the thread. I made mine on Saturday and after 3 days it's bubbling like mad. Very exciting!

  17. ACV is such a wonderful remedy for so many things. I still remember how astonished I was when it made my acidic belching from too much drinking and eating disappear within minutes. I used to think it had something to do with the acetate. But now it seems like it could have probiotics as well as acetate...that's double bonus! I have used it on my hair and my wife used it in her facial scrub...highly recommended for both!

    Also, it seems like a very simple thing to make at home. Buy frozen apple juice, mix some raw vinegar with mother and let it sit at room temp for a couple of weeks. I might try it one day but for now I am buying mine from Amazon!

  18. Oh yeah, ACV for seasonal allergies is another popular folk remedy. Now it all makes sense on the possible mechanism- the mighty good bacteria!

  19. Good to know ACV might be rich in boron.

  20. I've started making a syrup using a 50:50 mix of crushed fruit and unpasteurized ACV. After 10 or so days in the fridge, , the fruit solids are drained and what is left is a sweet and sour syrup which is added by the spoonful to recipes - in a glass of club soda, in a marinade or salad dressing. Traditional cultures (cool stuff found online - colonial America, Asian, etc.) called these "shrubs" or "drinking vinegars". According to the experts, over continued months in the fridge, these syrups will develop complex flavors in the same way that wine does....I am hoping that the vinegar, when combined with the fruit, cancels out at least some of the glucose punch of the fruit juice.

    1. Hey, that sounds fantastic! I started my first jug of vinegar several months ago. I chopped up about 10 or 12 apples and stuffed in a jug, covered with water, and added a cup or so of sugar. I covered it with cheesecloth only. After a few days it started bubbling and smelling of wine. after about 3 weeks, I strained it and put the liquid back in the jug. Now a month later it still smells very 'apple-y' and sweet. I'm noticing some strange growths appearing on the bottom, I'm hoping these are the 'mother.'

      I have no idea how to tell if I did it right, I'm kind of afraid to try it! I was reading a website that sells wine and vinegar supplies and they sell pH meters to test the acidity, that makes sense! I may get one soon.

      Your 'Shrubs' and 'Drinking Vinegars' looks like maybe a better DIY project.

      Here's a blog discussing and a tutorial for Elderberry Vinegar Shrub

      And also a Wiki entry for Shrub drinks

      Thanks! I just love vinegar!

  21. I haven't tried making vinegar yet, just using the Braggs unpasteurized in the shrub recipe... it's no wonder people were healthier before sodas - they were drinking shrubs lol. Thanks for the link. It you decide to do a drop dead easy shrub experiment, please post your results here - and I will do the same - next up is a ginger shrub. - oh I forgot to mention that some add sugar to the shrub recipe if using low sugar fruits....

  22. Vinegar Update!!!!

    I started a batch of apple vinegar back in late Sep/early October. 10 apples cubed and put in a 2 gallon jug and covered with water. I also dumped in 1 cup of corn sugar about a week later because I thought it looked like it wasn't doing anything. I covered the mouth of the jug with cheesecloth.

    This is exactly how I would have made apple wine, or hard apple cider, except in that case I would have used an airlock instead of cheese cloth.


    The apple juice started bubbling merrily away, quite vigorously at times for about a month, then slowed to just a few random bubbles. It smelled like sweet apple cider and slightly wine-y.

    In late November, I strained the juice off of the apples and put just the juice back in the jug and brought it in the house where it was warmer, in fact, put it next to the old wood stove where it gets quite toasty.

    I've been contemplating tasting it, but really thought I would dump it unceremoniously down the drain. It just seemed wrong. Like really bad wine. It was brown and cloudy.

    Last week, I bought a nice pH meter and tested the pH of the vinegar. It was 2.5. Very acidic. I looked at several websites and they all said vinegar should have a pH of 2.5. Promising!

    So, knowing that the pH was right, and liking the way the stuff smells, I took a sip.

    WOW! This is the best vinegar I have ever tasted. It smells sweet and apple-y, but tastes tangy and vinegar-y. Seriously, the best vinegar I maybe have ever had.

    I looked through the cupboards and found 3 old bottles of apple cider vinegar that were 3/4 gone and hiding behind the Stove Top Stuffing mix on the top shelf where no one ever goes. I dumped those and refilled with my Wild Cucumber Brand vinegar.

    I had just a bit left over that I have in an old pickle jar in the fridge, but I don;t suspect it will last very long.

    I had a big splash of it on my fried potatoes last night and I'm making some BBQ sauce tonight with my secret BBQ sauce recipe:

    Brown Sugar or Molasses

    Don't ask amounts, I just mix til it looks and tastes right!

    Anyway, just wanted to say 'Thanks' to Christine for the expertise and motivation to make my own vinegar. I'm a convert!

    1. Aw shucks, you're welcome for the motivation. Not so sure about the expertise, mine was a bust this year!

  23. Well, chaga is also grown in wild and it can also be included in the list as it is very useful to human.