How much do you know about apple cider vinegar and its benefits? What are your thoughts on it? Well, let me share you some personal thoughts and experiences, as well as some different ways of using this liquid that you may not have thought of before.
I watched my dad for years have apple cider vinegar every day, and remember driving to a local farm to pick up some on a regular basis for him. He was told to drink it to reduce the number of leg cramps he was getting. When I tried drinking it as a kid, I think I just had it by the spoonful and it felt like it burned my throat. Later I found out that he drank it with some fruit juice as well …
Fast forward a number of years to now and as most of you who’ve been following my culinary journey for a while realize, I have a special snowflake stomach with many, many, many digestive problems. And over the past year or so I’ve come to find some (note, some) relief when I have some sort of apple cider vinegar in my daily food and drinks. Many people recommend taking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach, so I developed a morning drink that I try to have every day before breakfast. But I wanted to share with you some other ways that I’ve incorporated apple cider vinegar in some, maybe surprising, ways through my daily cooking and baking adventures.
Let’s start of with some more obvious uses, shall we? How many of you have looked at the back of a ketchup (or tomato sauce for my Aussie readers) and cringed at all the ingredients, especially the high fructose corn syrup? And how many of you have actually checked out how easy it is to make ketchup, with no sugar? If you haven’t yet, you should check it out and see that making ketchup at home only needs simple ingredients, one being apple cider vinegar. And, while this doesn’t taste like the commercial ketchup, it’s very handy to have this in the fridge!
In a similar vein, what about BBQ sauce? Oh, you can imagine the tangy BBQ flavor on so many foods right now, can’t you? But again, have you looked at the ingredients in some of those commercial BBQ sauces? Check out this recipe for homemade BBQ sauce, using apple cider vinegar to give it a good zing in taste!
Ok that’s enough about sauces. Let’s look at some marinades that use apple cider vinegar, shall we?
Let me introduce you to my all time favorite marinade. This honey tamari marinade is my go-to for marinated chicken. Just ask my family. Any time they see marinated chicken on the whiteboard for our weekly meal plan, they’re pretty sure I’m going to be pulling out this recipe. And you know the funny thing is – I often make it Whole30 compliant, so without either honey or tamari … but I still call it a honey tamari marinade and no one is the wiser!
Now this next marinade is so versatile, it can be used as a dip, a marinade, or even a sauce for a curry. And it involves my favorite food group – peanut butter (yes, I did just say that peanut butter was a food group!). A lot of Thai sauces need to have that combination of sweet, savory, sour, salty and bitter – and this is where the apple cider vinegar comes in for this peanut satay sauce. Definitely on the sour and bitter side, but perfectly balanced by the peanut butter and other ingredients in there.
Following on the Thai theme, check out this spicy Thai cucumber salad. So many fresh veggies in the actual salad, but it’s the vinaigrette where the zing comes in from the apple cider vinegar. And of course, you can’t have the salad without nuts for added crunch!
Then there’s one of my all time favorite salads – this bacon and broccoli salad. Two foods that I thought I’d never use in the same phrase as ‘favorite’, let alone in a salad! And the addition of apple cider vinegar on this salad is so simple. Just drizzle it over the veggies before adding the mayonnaise and eat to your heart’s content!
Entrees / main meals
As a side note, why do Americans call their main course an ‘entree’ while in Australia, an entree is what you have before a main meal?
But I digress. Two yummy savory dishes/ main meals / entrees that use apple cider vinegar. And both are some of my favorite meals. The stroganoff baked potatoes are always a hit in my family – to the extent that once I make it, I get asked to make it again. Soon. And the avocado chicken zoodles – well that’s a personal favorite because no one else in my family is as enamored with avocado as I am. But in each case, the apple cider vinegar helps to give the sauce an extra zing to the taste!
And now we come to where apple cider vinegar can be used in baked goods. My favorite way of using it! I’m not going to go into too much detail about these, sufficient to say that using apple cider vinegar with a combination of baking soda produces bubbles, for lighter, yummier baked stuff. So check out these recipes for English muffins, Paleo bread with no flour at all, pumpkin bread stuffing and the sweeter bread with bananas and blueberries!
Cakes and cookies
Need I say more? When you can make such yummy things as these? You don’t need a huge amount of apple cider vinegar in any of these recipes, but adding it definitely gives the texture extra lift and lightness – and these cakes and cookies are also made without any refined sugar, so you can feel even better about eating them! Check out the recipes for the carrot pineapple cake, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and carrot cake cookies.
My basic rule of thumb when using apple cider vinegar in baking is wherever the recipe calls for any vinegar – white or otherwise – you can easily substitute 1:1 with apple cider vinegar. It hasn’t let me down yet!
How do you use apple cider vinegar?
There we go, my friends! I’ve shared the many and varied ways that I go through apple cider vinegar on a regular basis. I’d love to know whether you use it and how? And whether any of these ideas have appealed to you! Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with apple cider vinegar!