Do you have any vinegar in your house? If so, what kind is it? And what do you use it for? Over the years I have grown to appreciate vinegar and all the amazing things it can do for us—not only in our food preparation but also as a less expensive and more eco-friendly household cleaner. So today, let’s take a closer look at this fascinating human-made commodity. First, a definition: vinegar is a liquid composed mainly of acetic acid and water. The acetic acid is produced through the process of fermentation.
The word “vinegar” comes from the French vin aigre which literally means sour wine. How long has vinegar been around? The first documented use of vinegar comes to us from the Babylonians in about 5,000 B.C. Traces of vinegar have also been found in some of the urns of the ancient Egyptians. Called the poor man’s wine, vinegar was routinely carried by Roman soldiers as they marched along conquering the world. And we Christians remember how scripture says that the Roman soldiers offered Jesus vinegar (their wine) as he hung dying on the cross.
Vinegar can be made from a variety of things. From fruit such as apples, figs, pears, prunes, dates, strawberries and other berries. It can be made from vegetables such as potatoes, cucumbers, beetroots, and tomatoes. (I know, I know, technically tomatoes are fruits…) Vinegar can also be made from herbs such as thyme, oregano, basil, sage, garlic, mint. The most popular vinegar in the United States is cider vinegar made from apples. Consumers in the American south use more white distilled vinegar than any other region in the country. If you’re interested, you could visit the International Vinegar Museum in Roslyn, South Dakota. Roslyn even hosts an annual Vinegar Festival in June. You missed this year’s, but you can put it on your calendar for 2022.
Vinegar has a variety of industrial, medicinal, agricultural, culinary, and cleaning purposes. Discoveries during the Industrial Revolution enabled commercial vinegars to be produced more quickly. But even today, high quality vinegars (such as those made in Italy) continue to use a slow process of fermentation, aging the vinegar for years in wooden barrels.
What are some of the uses of vinegar? Some of the following uses have studies to back them up. Others not so much. Reader beware. Vinegar can be used:
+ To soothe a sore throat. Just mix together apple cider vinegar, water, and honey. (Many years ago, our switchboard operator, Sister Mary St. Mark Florence, always drank such a concoction and tried to get us, her young switchboard-operator-trainees, to drink it too. She swore it kept her voice clear and strong—and it prevented sore throats. I never tested her theory.)
+ To help regulate blood glucose levels.
+ To treat jellyfish stings and sunburn.
+ To get rid of dandruff. Simply massage a teaspoon of vinegar onto your scalp, rinse, and wash with regular shampoo.
+ To clean wooden cutting boards and butcher block counters.
+ To wash windows.
+ To clean coffee machines. (I regularly run water with a little bit of vinegar through the small coffee maker in my bedroom).
There’s a certain magical power associated with vinegar. Most school kids know if you mix vinegar and baking soda you can create your very own do-it-yourself erupting volcano. Pearls will melt in vinegar, and egg shells will get very soft. Supposedly, if you put an open dish of vinegar in a room it will absorb paint smells.
Let me end this reflection on vinegar with two recipes for cleaning solutions made with vinegar:
Basic cleaner: mix 3 parts water with 1 part distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Disinfectant: 1 part lemon juice, l part vinegar, 2 parts water. Put in a spray bottle. Replace nozzle and shake. Spray on the surfaces you wish to disinfect—especially in the kitchen and bathroom. “They” claim this solution can kill 99% of bacteria.
For more recipes for vinegar cleaning solutions, just go to WikiHOW vinegar solutions.
Did you learn anything new in this reflection?
Do you use vinegar? If so, how do you use it?
Can you think of any other ordinary thing you have hanging around your house that’s really pretty amazing? (Not including people, of course!)
The video today has little (if anything) to do with vinegar… Rather, it is a song to comfort those mourning the loss of a loved one. I chose this song because this pandemic has caused millions of individuals to lose their loved ones. The actual number of deaths world-wide is impossible to know. The wide-spread grief is impossible to fathom… So when I heard this song recently on my local Cleveland Christian music station (The Fish at 95.5 FM), I knew I had to share it with you. It’s called “Scars in Heaven” and it’s a new song by Casting Crowns, the same group that produced last week’s song. I dedicate this song to all of you who may be missing a loved one—whether that loved one passed away from Covid or from some other cause… and whether they died recently or years ago. I know when I’m missing someone special to me, I find myself saying some of the same words in this song: “If only I had known the last time would be the last time… What I’d give for one more day with you…” I hope this gentle and faith-filled song brings you (or someone you know) comfort and strength…
I invite you to respond to this blog and/or to this song below. We all love to hear from our readers like you!