Apple cider vinegar is an aid to digestion and helps maintain the balance of healthy microbiome in the gut.
It is a natural product made by fermenting apple juice with yeast and bacteria.
The liquid turns into alcohol then in a second fermentation process, the alcohol turns into an acidic vinegar giving the liquid a sour taste and cloudy amber colour.
Apple cider vinegar possesses a more round and balanced flavour than red or white wine vinegars and works particularly well in salad dressings.
Marinating meat, particularly pork, in apple cider vinegar helps to tenderise it, and adds a nice acidic fruitiness, you can also add a little of the vinegar to the gravy after roasting the meat.
An addition of a dash of cider vinegar to the water while boiling ham improves flavour and cuts through the salty taste.
Vinegar’s acidic properties break down fats both in the body and outside of it.
Using vinegar as a household cleaner has been an old trick and it works for oven cleaning as well as wiping down greasy surfaces.
Putting vinegar on your chips helps your body break down the fats that the thin sticks of potato have been fried in.
More and more studies are being developed to educate us about the importance of a healthy digestive system to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Many small Irish businesses are now making their own cloudy apple cider vinegar.
The Apple Farm just outside Cahir, Co Tipperary, make really wonderful products and their vinegar is particularly excellent.
David Lewellen also makes a similar vinegar, nearer to Dublin, he also does a great Irish version of a balsamic vinegar.
Other fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut are know to help improve the flora in your gut as well.
This crumble topping is very versatile and can be used with any combination of fruit, I made a pineapple crumble recently and added some desiccated coconut to the topping and it was delicious.
The dash of vinegar brings out the apple flavour in this recipe and adds a nice bit of tartness.
If the apples are very bitter you may like to add a spoon of honey as well.
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND
Crumble with apples caramelised in cider vinegar
320g of butter, cubed
340g of plain or spelt flour
45g of caster sugar
55g of brown sugar
135g of porridge oats
½ tsp of chopped rosemary, optional
450g of apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1½ tbs of apple cider vinegar
a handful of mixed nuts, chopped
Beat together 270g of the butter with the flour, both sugars, the oats and the rosemary until the mixture resembles rough bread crumbs.
Do not overbeat as it will start to combine too much you want it to look crumbly. You can add a pinch of sea salt to bring out the flavours.
Melt the other 50g of butter in a pan and add the apples allowing them to turn golden. Add the vinegar and a sprinkling of brown sugar, continue to cook for another five minutes.
Add the apple mixture into an oven proof dish and top with the nuts and a little sprinkling of brown sugar if you like.
Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees, until golden brown on top, it will take about 20 minutes.
Apple, mint and beetroot salad
40 mls of apple cider vinegar
60 mls of olive oil
½ tbs honey
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 large crisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 medium beetroots, peeled and cut into very thin sticks
¼ of a small white cabbage, thinly sliced
a bunch of mint, roughly chopped
2 tsp of sesame seeds, toasted
Whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey, cumin, and some seasoning.
Toss the apple, raw thinly-sliced beetroot, cabbage, and mint in the dressing. Sprinkle with the toasted seeds.
This is a nice accompaniment to a roast; used in a leftover chicken sandwich; or on the side of the dish above. The mint adds a nice freshness.
QUICK MID-WEEK MEALS
Chicken with spring onion and apple cider vinegar
Rice for four
4 chicken thighs on the bone
a dash of rapeseed oil
a bunch of spring onions, very finely chopped
200 mls of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
a knob of butter
a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.
Brown the chicken in the heated oil, using a pan that you can put into the oven. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and bake the chicken for 20 minutes.
Add the spring onions, vinegar, cinnamon, and butter to the pan and place back into the oven until the juices are bubbling and chicken is cooked through.
Season the juices to taste and serve the chicken over the rice with a sprinkling of parsley and cracked black pepper.
Butternut squash roasted in cider vinegar on a bed of buttered pasta
1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
a dash of olive oil
a generous dash of apple cider vinegar
4 tsp of whole grain mustard
4 tsp of honey
tagliatelle for four
2 cloves of garlic
a large knob of butter
a small bunch of thyme, removed from the stalk and chopped
Toss the squash in the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey and seasoning. Place into an oven proof dish and roast for 35 minutes until soft.
In the meantime put the pasta on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.
Melt the butter and fry the garlic and thyme until the butter is starting to turn slightly golden. Toss the pasta in the butter until it is coated. Lay the squash on top making sure to scoop any juices from the dish.
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