Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Multi-Purpose Apple Cider Vinegar!

High up on my list of "pros" for Armenia, as mentioned in my article for The Armenian Weekly, is the availability of the farmer's markets, or shugas. In Canada I had to go to so many shops and even supermarkets before I could find a well-made and genuinely unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. In Armenia, in just under 15 minutes, I can walk to the closest shuga, choose from over 15 people selling it, ask those directly making it all the annoying questions I have, be invited to see where it is made, and leave satisfied after spending about 300 drams on a half litre.

Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is always in my house. There are lots of reasons, and I will go over just a few. Of course a tasty and nutritious addition to any salad or dressing, it livens up the flavour and also helps out our digestive system. ACV mimics stomach acid, or HCl, much like lemon juice, and helps break down food--especially proteins, easing the burden on our bodies. You can even drink it diluted with water in preparation for meals beforehand to avoid any indigestion.

It can also be used on hair - about a month or so ago I officially jumped on the "no shampoo/conditioner" bandwagon and have been using ACV as my conditioner, again, well diluted with water. It works great by detangling my hair, and keeping it clean and shiny. The smell isn't fantastic, but as your hair dries it gradually disappears (if anyone thinks I smell like ACV speak now please). Again, a much better alternative compared to conditioners loaded with chemicals that strip away our hair's natural oils and replace it with headache-inducing "flower" fragrances (gross imported Russian conditioners, I'm looking at you).

I recently noticed that ACV is packaged nicely in supermarkets as well here in Armenia, but unlike the ones I find at the shugas, they are too 'pretty' - like kombucha, you always want to look for the ones with the "residue" or strands at the bottom of the bottle - showing that they have not been over-heated/filtered and therefore still contain all of the beneficial enzymes and bacteria. Just give the bottle a gentle shake before using to distribute all of the good stuff!

Here is a very simple and delicious dressing incorporating ACV into your salads or grains:

-4 TBSP of ACV
-1 TBSP tahini
-a couple of pinches of dried herbs (dill, parsley, cilantro)
-hot pepper
-salt

Mix them all together, adding more ACV depending on the consistency you want, and enjoy!

For my braver blog readers, make sure to google "apple cider vinegar mother" to check out what the bacteria looks like!

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