A fresh apple picked straight from the tree is one of nature’s healthiest foods. It contains fiber and pectin that reduces cholesterol, aids in digestion and digestive issues such as IBS, diarrhea, and constipation, and as a bonus contains a healthy dose of water to move things along.
Phytonutrient antioxidants in apples enhance levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (critical to cognition) and help prevent major disease. They also protect the brain by preventing the breakdown of dopamine-producing nerve cells. Apples can detoxify your liver, boost your immune system, and help you control your weight, so what happens when you turn apples into vinegar?
The Organic versus Conventional Farming Controversy
There’s been a debate over whether or not organic foods are worth the money you’ll spend on them. Equally debated is whether or not genetically modified food grown in some conventional farming is safe or insidiously harmful to the human body.
Each of these growing methods has an impact on how much money you’ll spend at the supermarket, the nutrient content of the food, the level of toxic poisons you’ll be consuming, the increase or decrease in tax dollars due to farm subsidies, and the general polluting of the planet, specifically natural water resources.
Agriculture is a business. Today’s conventionally grown major crops – soy, corn, and beets – are genetically modified by conglomerate agribusinesses designed to make the most profit with the least expenditure. Apples are highly sprayed with fungicides and pesticides.
Organic growing standards and laws do not permit genetic modification and organic produce must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. The fact is that anything that’s put on the apple when it’s growing and anything that’s in the soil it grows in becomes concentrated into the final product, in this case, apple cider vinegar.
Vinegar is an acid liquid that can be made from almost any lightly alcoholic beverage by fermentation, in this case, apples that have been turned into cider. Alcohol mixes with oxygen in the air, and when the alcohol disappears (it’s actually changed into acetic acid), the result is vinegar. Acetic acid is tart, so the type of apples used will determine the characteristic taste of a specific ACV.
Let’s take a look at the differences between organically processed and industrially processed or commercial apple cider vinegar.
- Apples used in industrially processed apple cider vinegar have been sprayed with pesticides to prevent diseases which could destroy the trees and crop.
- Windfalls or apples that have fallen from the tree can be used.
- Once harvested, they’re sprayed with fungicides to prevent mold from developing in the storage bins where they’re housed for weeks.
- During the fermentation process, apple juice can be placed in stainless steel drums or barrels, or they can be distilled using a generator and charcoal, wood or grape pulp.
- When the vinegar is ready, it’s heated to remove impurities and filtered to remove sediment. Essentially, all the nutritional value is gone. What you’re left with is acetic acid.
- Apple cider vinegar from organically grown apples is completely free from manmade chemicals. Only natural fertilizers and insect repellants are used, such as water blasting for aphids or oil coating to repel certain pests and prevent eggs from hatching.
- Orchards are kept free from weeds and windfalls, and planting herbs such as dill and yarrow that deter bugs are other methods used by organic apple farmers.
- Vinegars are not heated or filtered and all the original goodness contained in the apples are kept intact.