So, some History and interesting facts (gotta make it educational!)
The word vinegar comes from the French word “vinaigre” which means “sour wine.” It was probably discovered by accident thousands of years ago—after a cask of wine had gone bad. When the wine was first made, natural sugars were fermented into alcohol. Over time, bacteria in the air transformed the alcohol into acetic acid, which gave the “sour wine” its bite.
Vinegar’s role in history is well documented. This versatile product was used by everyone—from kings and conquerors to explorers and everyday people.
- The Babylonians used vinegar to preserve and pickle food.
- Hippocrates prescribed vinegar as a remedy for a variety of ailments.
- Caesar’s armies used vinegar as a beverage. (Ok, EW!)
- Hannibal drenched huge boulders in hot vinegar which cracked them into small pieces, enabling his army to continue its journey across the Alps.
- Helen of Troy bathed in vinegar to relax.
- Jesus was offered vinegar before he was crucified.
- Early Europeans used vinegar as a deodorizer.
- During the Bubonic Plague people poured vinegar on their skin to protect themselves from germs.
- Cleopatra dissolved pearls in vinegar to prove that she could consume a fortune in a single meal. (Ok, can you say, Smart WOMAN? Naturally!)
- Sailors used vinegar as a food preservative during long voyages.
- World War I medics used vinegar to treat soldiers’ wounds.
I bet you didn't know it was made from corn alcohol! It's combined with water and nutrients and then fermented until all the alcohol is gone.
It's been around forever (!) and it's ususally used for cooking or cleaning/disinfecting.
The International Museum of Vinegar is in South Dakota and the Vinegar Festival is held there in June. (Can you say ROAD TRIP?)
Vinegar can be made from a variety of fruits, honey, cane sugar, cider, raisins, and even, go figure, Beer!
Here are a few uses, other than food, that are of particular use to me:
Stop a dog from barking with a spray bottle filled with equal amounts of water and white distilled vinegar. When the dog barks, spray the vinegar water in its direction but not in the face.
Remove pet odors. After cleaning, cover the area with baking soda. Let it stand overnight. The next day vacuum up the baking soda and wash the area with white distilled vinegar. Rinse and let dry.
Get rid of the deposits and water lines that form in aquariums and fish bowls by wiping them down with white distilled vinegar and following with a good rinse. For stubborn deposits, soak for several hours or overnight.
Stave off high blood sugar and other Alzheimer's risk factors with a daily dose of vinegar. It can curb appetite and food intake, helping prevent weight gain and obesity. Two or three tablespoons of vinegar with white bread cut expected rises in insulin and blood sugar by about 25 percent. Pour on the vinegar - add it to salad dressings, eat it by the spoonful, even mix it into a glass of drinking water. Any type of vinegar works because it's the acidity that counts.
Stop insect stings and bites from itching by dabbing them with a cotton ball saturated with undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Soothe sunburn with a spray of white distilled vinegar, repeating as often as you like. Ice-cold white distilled vinegar will feel even better, and may prevent blistering and peeling.
Clean a hairbrush by soaking in a white distilled vinegar solution.
Tone facial skin with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water.
Eliminate bad breath and whiten your teeth by brushing them once or twice a week with vinegar.
Make nail polish last longer. Wipe fingernails with cotton balls dipped in white distilled vinegar before putting on nail polish.
Sooth a sore throat. Mix apple cider vinegar, water and honey.
Get rid of Foot Odor and Athlete's Foot. Soak 'em in vinegar for about 10 mins. daily.
Stop Hiccups. Drink a teaspoon.
STOP Dandruff. Massage white distilled vinegar into your scalp, rinse, then wash with regular shampoo and watch dandruff disappear.
Fresh air. An open dish of white distilled vinegar will help remove paint smells from a room.
Kills most mold, bacteria, and germs.
Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.
Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.
For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.
Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water.
Wipe grease off exhaust fan grids, the inside of your oven, or anywhere grease gathers with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar.
To remove a label, decal, or price tag, cover with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave the cloth on overnight and the label should slide off.
Deodorize the toilet bowl by allowing 3 cups white distilled vinegar to sit in it for about a half hour before flushing.
For an economical and environmentally friendly floor cleaner, mix a solution of 3 drops dishwashing liquid to 1/3 part white distilled vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. Spray sparingly and mop for a fast clean-up.
Some carpet stains can be removed with a paste of 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup salt or baking soda. Rub into the carpet stain and let dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet first).
Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight.
Remove smoky odors from clothes by filling the bathtub with very hot water and 1 cup white distilled vinegar. Hang the garments above the steaming water and shut the door so the steam can penetrate the fibers.
Get cleaner laundry and bring out brighter colors! Add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to the last rinse. The acid in white distilled vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. Besides removing soap, white distilled vinegar prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.
Keep car windows frost-free overnight in winter by coating them with a solution of 3 parts white distilled vinegar to 1 part water.
When doing car maintenance, soak rusty bolts and screws with white distilled vinegar to make them easier to remove.
Loosen chewing gum stuck to carpeting or upholstery by soaking it in white distilled vinegar.
And, of course, Cooking. There are sooo many uses, but here's some tips:
Turn out great rice by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water.
To keep eggs from cracking when boiling add a tablespoon or two of white distilled vinegar to water.
If you’ve added too much salt to a recipe, add a spoonful of white distilled vinegar and sugar to try correcting the taste.
Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.