Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, the Easy Way—With 29 Uses

Making apple cider vinegar is a topic that is well-documented on various sites across the Internet. When I searched searched for recipes online, I found a wealth of information—covering how to make cider from fresh organic apples, how to transform that cider into hard cider (with many warnings to keep it out of reach of any alcoholics in the household) and, finally, how to allow the cider to go from alcohol to vinegar.

Making cider from fresh fall apples, as is recommended, can take up to six months from start to finish.

At the time that I wanted to do this, fall apples were not in season, and I was really looking for the quickest, easiest technique I could find. I opted to make my homemade apple cider vinegar using the “path of least resistance,” and here is how I did it:

How to Make Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, the Easy Way

clean-jar-and-apple-ciderAny large vessel should work for this fermentation project. Stick to glass or pottery; avoid plastic and metal.

Some time ago, a friend of mine was getting rid of unneeded items from her kitchen. She had two large Lipton Sun Tea jars that she thought I could put to use. I have a policy of accepting things that other people want to give me, so I took the jars home with me and started thinking about how I could use them.

When I started researching the method to make my own apple cider vinegar, I realized that these big jars would make the perfect vessel—so I dusted one of them off and headed to the store for some cider.

  1. jar-of-apple-cider-covered-with-cheese-clothI bought the cheapest, no-frills bottle of apple cider that I could find.
  2. After sterilizing my big glass jar, I poured the cider in and covered the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth, secured in place with a strong rubber band.
  3. I placed the jar in the cabinet above my stove to allow it to ferment in a warm, but not too warm, dark place.
  4. fermenting-apple-cider-vinegarVinegar can take between two to four weeks on average to complete the fermentation process. You can begin taste testing your fermenting apple cider after a few days and throughout the process until you are satisfied with the quality of your vinegar.
  5. At that point, you will want to put the vinegar into bottles or jars that you have designated for the storage of your finished product. In a sealed container, you can store your vinegar in the refrigerator indefinitely.

If you are anything like I am, you probably have a motley assortment of jars and bottles that you have saved and you will have plenty of ways to store your batch of vinegar. My grandmother’s oft-quoted motto of, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” is my guideline, so there are always jars, bottles, and containers aplenty in my home.

step 6 ready jars for bottlingI found that homemade apple cider vinegar is easy to make. The hardest part of making the vinegar was waiting for it to finish fermentation.

The next time I make vinegar, I will opt for creating my own organic cider from fresh fall apples and turning that cider into apple cider vinegar.

29 Uses for Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Health and Wellness

  • Take a tablespoonful daily in eight ounces of water as a preventative against colds and flu. It works, people. Just give it a try.
  • When battling gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, take a tablespoonful in eight ounces of water several times a day.
  • When battling diarrhea, take a tablespoonful in eight ounces of water several times a day. Don’t argue about it like my husband and kids do—just take it. You will be glad you did!
  • Treat sunburn by soaking a washcloth in undiluted vinegar and applying directly to the burned area of skin. Let the dampened cloth lie on the skin for 5-10 minutes. You will smell like a salad, but your sunburn won’t hurt!
  • Taking vinegar in the same dosage as for flu can help reduce joint pain and is safer than taking anti-inflammatory medicines.

Household

  • Clean and deodorize after pet accidents by spraying the carpet with a solution of 50 percent vinegar to 50 percent water. First, blot up any liquid, then soak carpet with vinegar water. After five minutes, blot the area thoroughly and allow to dry. Once dry, there should be no odor.
  • Clean and deodorize after the toddler’s potty training accidents, following the same process as is used to clean up pet accidents. Pets and toddlers do have some interesting similarities!
  • Use vinegar and water to clean glass and mirrors in a ratio of one part vinegar to eight parts water.
  • Adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the last rinse cycle of your wash load will help to soften clothes and control static cling.
  • Adding vinegar to the last rinse cycle also helps to reduce lint buildup on clothes and keeps pet hair from sticking to clothes. We all love our pets, but no one wants to wear the evidence of having pets on their clothing.
  • Vinegar can aid in removing stubborn stains such as coffee and tea. Soak the stain in a solution of 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/3 cup of water. After soaking, hang items out in sun until dry.
  • Full strength vinegar can remove stubborn mildew stains from clothing.
  • Use a mixture of 50 percent vinegar to 50 percent water as a stain treatment before washing any items that are stained. Keep this near the washer in a spray bottle. This solution costs way less than name-brand stain removers and contains no petrochemicals.

Beauty Treatments

  • Apple cider vinegar is a great hair conditioner. Mix with water in a one-to-one ratio in an old shampoo or conditioner bottle. Apply to hair and allow to sit for a couple minutes, then rinse.
  • Rinse it through hair to detangle and reduce frizziness.
  • Rinsed through hair, it helps control dry, itchy scalps due to the antifungal and antibacterial properties of the vinegar.
  • Use apple cider vinegar as a face wash. Mix one tablespoonful of vinegar to a cup of water and apply to facial skin using a cotton ball. Apple cider vinegar-water is naturally antibacterial and deep cleans pores. Follow with a moisturizer suited to your skin type.

Dog Treatments

  • Apple cider vinegar can help restore proper pH to your dog’s system. If your dog is itchy, scratches constantly, is losing fur, or is stinky, adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar twice a day to his or her food can help relieve the misery. You can increase the dose up to a tablespoonful a day if you are not seeing results at a lower dosage.
  • Apple cider vinegar is also useful for preventing ear infections in dogs. Apply a few drops inside your dog’s ears following a bath.
  • Spraying your dog after a bath with a 50/50 vinegar-water mixture and allowing him or her to air dry can help kill fleas, ticks, and ringworm.
  • Adding one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water can help reduce or eliminate the tear stains that light-colored pets often get by their eyes.
  • Apple cider vinegar added to a dog’s water can help to eliminate urinary problems.

Cat Treatments

  • Apple cider vinegar used in a 50/50 vinegar-water mixture can be applied to cats with pink eye to clear the infection.
  • Apple cider vinegar in a 50/50 vinegar-water water mixture can be wiped on a cat’s paws and applied to its neck to combat the urinary tract infections that cats seem to be prone to having. Adding vinegar to a cat’s water can treat the UTI, but cats can be finicky about the way their food and water taste and may avoid drinking the water. Applying the mixture to the paws makes them ingest it as they clean their paws. Do this twice a day for best results.

Horse Treatments

• Apple cider vinegar can be used to treat horses who have urinary tract stones by adding 1/2 to one cup of vinegar to six gallons of water.
• Treat hoof rot by soaking your horse’s hooves in apple cider vinegar two to three times a day.
• Treat your horse’s dry skin and dandruff by adding up to 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to your horse’s feed daily.
• Adding apple cider vinegar to your horse’s feed and water can help combat fly problems.
• It is effective in relieving painful joints in horses. Add up to 1/2 cup to your horse’s feed daily.

As with any information you read, it is your responsibility to do your research and evaluate the use of apple cider vinegar for yourself, your household, and your pets. I do not claim to be a medical professional or a veterinarian, nor do I play one on television, but I can tell you that I have used apple cider vinegar at home for myself, my family, and my pets with great success for the past twenty years at least.

Because my family and I survive and actually thrive on a tight budget, I have made it my mission to find ways to run my home as inexpensively as I can, while maintaining or improving our quality of life.

I also have a philosophy of thinking for the long term as my husband and I grow older, to find ways of keeping our spending low as our income decreases.

Using natural products such as apple cider vinegar has been a boon to our health and our budget, and I hope you will find similar results for yourself!

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This is an updated version of a post that was originally published on September 6, 2015.)

The post Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, the Easy Way—With 29 Uses appeared first on The Grow Network.

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, the Easy Way—With 29 Uses

Click here to view the original post.

Making apple cider vinegar is a topic that is well-documented on various sites across the Internet. When I searched searched for recipes online, I found a wealth of information—covering how to make cider from fresh organic apples, how to transform that cider into hard cider (with many warnings to keep it out of reach of any alcoholics in the household) and, finally, how to allow the cider to go from alcohol to vinegar.

Making cider from fresh fall apples, as is recommended, can take up to six months from start to finish.

At the time that I wanted to do this, fall apples were not in season, and I was really looking for the quickest, easiest technique I could find. I opted to make my homemade apple cider vinegar using the “path of least resistance,” and here is how I did it:

How to Make Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, the Easy Way

clean-jar-and-apple-ciderAny large vessel should work for this fermentation project. Stick to glass or pottery; avoid plastic and metal.

Some time ago, a friend of mine was getting rid of unneeded items from her kitchen. She had two large Lipton Sun Tea jars that she thought I could put to use. I have a policy of accepting things that other people want to give me, so I took the jars home with me and started thinking about how I could use them.

When I started researching the method to make my own apple cider vinegar, I realized that these big jars would make the perfect vessel—so I dusted one of them off and headed to the store for some cider.

  1. jar-of-apple-cider-covered-with-cheese-clothI bought the cheapest, no-frills bottle of apple cider that I could find.
  2. After sterilizing my big glass jar, I poured the cider in and covered the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth, secured in place with a strong rubber band.
  3. I placed the jar in the cabinet above my stove to allow it to ferment in a warm, but not too warm, dark place.
  4. fermenting-apple-cider-vinegarVinegar can take between two to four weeks on average to complete the fermentation process. You can begin taste testing your fermenting apple cider after a few days and throughout the process until you are satisfied with the quality of your vinegar.
  5. At that point, you will want to put the vinegar into bottles or jars that you have designated for the storage of your finished product. In a sealed container, you can store your vinegar in the refrigerator indefinitely.

If you are anything like I am, you probably have a motley assortment of jars and bottles that you have saved and you will have plenty of ways to store your batch of vinegar. My grandmother’s oft-quoted motto of, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” is my guideline, so there are always jars, bottles, and containers aplenty in my home.

step 6 ready jars for bottlingI found that homemade apple cider vinegar is easy to make. The hardest part of making the vinegar was waiting for it to finish fermentation.

The next time I make vinegar, I will opt for creating my own organic cider from fresh fall apples and turning that cider into apple cider vinegar.

29 Uses for Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Health and Wellness

  • Take a tablespoonful daily in eight ounces of water as a preventative against colds and flu. It works, people. Just give it a try.
  • When battling gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, take a tablespoonful in eight ounces of water several times a day.
  • When battling diarrhea, take a tablespoonful in eight ounces of water several times a day. Don’t argue about it like my husband and kids do—just take it. You will be glad you did!
  • Treat sunburn by soaking a washcloth in undiluted vinegar and applying directly to the burned area of skin. Let the dampened cloth lie on the skin for 5-10 minutes. You will smell like a salad, but your sunburn won’t hurt!
  • Taking vinegar in the same dosage as for flu can help reduce joint pain and is safer than taking anti-inflammatory medicines.

Household

  • Clean and deodorize after pet accidents by spraying the carpet with a solution of 50 percent vinegar to 50 percent water. First, blot up any liquid, then soak carpet with vinegar water. After five minutes, blot the area thoroughly and allow to dry. Once dry, there should be no odor.
  • Clean and deodorize after the toddler’s potty training accidents, following the same process as is used to clean up pet accidents. Pets and toddlers do have some interesting similarities!
  • Use vinegar and water to clean glass and mirrors in a ratio of one part vinegar to eight parts water.
  • Adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the last rinse cycle of your wash load will help to soften clothes and control static cling.
  • Adding vinegar to the last rinse cycle also helps to reduce lint buildup on clothes and keeps pet hair from sticking to clothes. We all love our pets, but no one wants to wear the evidence of having pets on their clothing.
  • Vinegar can aid in removing stubborn stains such as coffee and tea. Soak the stain in a solution of 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/3 cup of water. After soaking, hang items out in sun until dry.
  • Full strength vinegar can remove stubborn mildew stains from clothing.
  • Use a mixture of 50 percent vinegar to 50 percent water as a stain treatment before washing any items that are stained. Keep this near the washer in a spray bottle. This solution costs way less than name-brand stain removers and contains no petrochemicals.

Beauty Treatments

  • Apple cider vinegar is a great hair conditioner. Mix with water in a one-to-one ratio in an old shampoo or conditioner bottle. Apply to hair and allow to sit for a couple minutes, then rinse.
  • Rinse it through hair to detangle and reduce frizziness.
  • Rinsed through hair, it helps control dry, itchy scalps due to the antifungal and antibacterial properties of the vinegar.
  • Use apple cider vinegar as a face wash. Mix one tablespoonful of vinegar to a cup of water and apply to facial skin using a cotton ball. Apple cider vinegar-water is naturally antibacterial and deep cleans pores. Follow with a moisturizer suited to your skin type.

Dog Treatments

  • Apple cider vinegar can help restore proper pH to your dog’s system. If your dog is itchy, scratches constantly, is losing fur, or is stinky, adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar twice a day to his or her food can help relieve the misery. You can increase the dose up to a tablespoonful a day if you are not seeing results at a lower dosage.
  • Apple cider vinegar is also useful for preventing ear infections in dogs. Apply a few drops inside your dog’s ears following a bath.
  • Spraying your dog after a bath with a 50/50 vinegar-water mixture and allowing him or her to air dry can help kill fleas, ticks, and ringworm.
  • Adding one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water can help reduce or eliminate the tear stains that light-colored pets often get by their eyes.
  • Apple cider vinegar added to a dog’s water can help to eliminate urinary problems.

Cat Treatments

  • Apple cider vinegar used in a 50/50 vinegar-water mixture can be applied to cats with pink eye to clear the infection.
  • Apple cider vinegar in a 50/50 vinegar-water water mixture can be wiped on a cat’s paws and applied to its neck to combat the urinary tract infections that cats seem to be prone to having. Adding vinegar to a cat’s water can treat the UTI, but cats can be finicky about the way their food and water taste and may avoid drinking the water. Applying the mixture to the paws makes them ingest it as they clean their paws. Do this twice a day for best results.

Horse Treatments

• Apple cider vinegar can be used to treat horses who have urinary tract stones by adding 1/2 to one cup of vinegar to six gallons of water.
• Treat hoof rot by soaking your horse’s hooves in apple cider vinegar two to three times a day.
• Treat your horse’s dry skin and dandruff by adding up to 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to your horse’s feed daily.
• Adding apple cider vinegar to your horse’s feed and water can help combat fly problems.
• It is effective in relieving painful joints in horses. Add up to 1/2 cup to your horse’s feed daily.

As with any information you read, it is your responsibility to do your research and evaluate the use of apple cider vinegar for yourself, your household, and your pets. I do not claim to be a medical professional or a veterinarian, nor do I play one on television, but I can tell you that I have used apple cider vinegar at home for myself, my family, and my pets with great success for the past twenty years at least.

Because my family and I survive and actually thrive on a tight budget, I have made it my mission to find ways to run my home as inexpensively as I can, while maintaining or improving our quality of life.

I also have a philosophy of thinking for the long term as my husband and I grow older, to find ways of keeping our spending low as our income decreases.

Using natural products such as apple cider vinegar has been a boon to our health and our budget, and I hope you will find similar results for yourself!

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This is an updated version of a post that was originally published on September 6, 2015.)

The post Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, the Easy Way—With 29 Uses appeared first on The Grow Network.

Alternative Strategies for a Disrupted Water Supply

Click here to view the original post.

rainwater-collection-tanks-and-solar-panels-for-well-pumpMost all of us have gotten up one morning or another, turned on the faucet, and gotten a big, fat nothing coming out. It is annoying, but not usually a big deal because the water comes back on at some point, generally sooner rather than later. During times of extreme heat or extreme cold, many of us have had a nearby water main break, leaving us without water for eight hours or longer. But what if one day the water supply is interrupted for days, weeks, or even months? How would most of us manage without a steady supply of running water?

Everyone should keep enough bottled water on hand to meet drinking water needs for each person in their household if an emergency arises. But how much is enough? The minimum recommendations say that we should store at least one gallon of water per person and to keep a three day supply on hand at all times. If the climate is hot, water needs may be double that recommendation. This is just water for drinking – not for washing, flushing the toilet, watering the garden, or any livestock we may have.

Those folks who provide their own food by gardening intensively and raising livestock not only need to supply water for their families, they also need to plan on how to keep their plants and animals watered in the event of a disaster that disrupts the water supply for an extended amount of time. During the first day or two without running water, water can be found in places such as toilet tanks, water heaters, and swimming pools. But once these supplies are depleted, locating water will be an ongoing effort. In my area, if we are not in a drought, there may be a few places nearby where I can go to get water. But I cannot depend on those sources being available if and when I need them. And if these water sources are available, I certainly won’t be the only person needing the water who will be using them. I really do not want to have to fight another person to get water for myself and my household. I would much rather employ other means to get the water we will require.

Unless we plan ahead and get prepared beforehand, having enough water to take care of gardens and livestock in a lengthy water emergency is going to be very, very difficult. In some locations, it might actually be impossible.

With this in mind, here are some ideas you can get started on right away so that you will be prepared if problems do arise. And if the problem never happens, you will be using less water, conserving both resources and funds. The older my husband and I get, the more we have come to appreciate lowering our expenses as one of our tactics to live comfortably after retirement – and some of these ideas can help you lower your expenses too.

A Well with a Solar Powered Pump

Many folks living in rural areas are on well water, which is great because it is usually a reliable source of water – unless there is no electricity to operate the pump. In my research, I discovered that there are solar-powered well pumps which have been in use for around thirty years. Apparently, the availability of solar pumps is not common knowledge, even among people who have wells. I had a conversation with a well owner who told me that her family has a generator to run their well in case of a power outage. She was not aware that solar pumps even existed. If you are on a well, you may want to look into a solar powered pump now so that you have a measure of comfort in being able to access your water during an electric or water emergency. Owners of wells with solar pumps will be in a much better position than the rest of the population in a grid down situation because they will be able to provide water for their families, gardens, and animals. You may want to explore the option of digging a well and outfitting it with a solar pump as your first line of defense against a water emergency. This is the most costly option of all the strategies I found, but it’s also the option that offers the most reliable supply of water.

If you don’t have a well, then I recommend using the following four strategies listed below, either separately or together, to ensure that your plants and animals make it through a water interruption with the least amount of stress for them and you.

Simple Strategies to Keep the Water Flowing When Supply is Disrupted

An ancient way of collecting water is to construct a condensation trap. In ancient times, people dug a pit into which they placed some type of receptacle to catch water. They used branches angled down towards the receptacle to direct the dew and frost that gathered on the branches overnight into the catchment container. With the advent of plastic sheeting, we can now use plastic instead of branches for this purpose, which has the advantage of not allowing water to be misdirected as can happen with branches. This method of collecting water might help water some animals or a small garden but unless you have quite a few condensation traps set up, you are not going to get enough water. Detailed instructions for creating condensation traps are widely available on the internet.

Rainwater collection is something everyone can do, whether they have a nice set up with gutters feeding into a storage tank or not. If you don’t have tanks or a rain barrel, you can collect water in various receptacles such as clean trash cans with lids or a swimming pool with a cover. Keeping the collected water in a covered container prevents mosquitoes from using your water as a breeding ground, and prevents evaporation of your precious water supply. If you don’t have gutters on your home, you can still make use of channels in your roof that divert water into a stream off the rooftop and arrange containers underneath that area to catch the rainwater. My roofer added two diverters that direct water quite nicely off the front of my roof, which makes it possible to catch the water in large basins and buckets during a rainfall.

In addition to collecting rainwater in whatever way you are able to catch it, you may also wish to consider creating swales to catch and keep rainwater in your garden. Swales are water-harvesting ditches, but unlike drainage ditches that cut across the contour of the land to speed water along, swales are built “on contour” to slow water down and sink it into the earth. Swales built on contour collect water and help to recharge groundwater tables, and they help to control erosion as well. You don’t need any special equipment to build a swale – all you need is a shovel, a pick, some stakes, and some muscle. There are many instructional videos on the internet that demonstrate how to layout and dig swales. Large swales have become very popular in many communities to direct and retain the flow of water. In a water emergency, neighborhood swales might be a place where you could obtain water for your garden and animals. Of course, this is something that you would need to build ahead of time, before the water supply is actually disrupted.

And finally, learning the principles of dryland farming will help every gardener use the least amount of water necessary and keep the moisture in the soil longer, which means less water will be needed. Using the least amount of water possible is very useful in a watering emergency. Tim Miller of Millberg Farms in Kyle, Texas is well-known in central Texas for his dryland farming. An article on Texas Young Farmers website shares many of Tim’s techniques, such as mulching heavily and making liberal use of rotting wood chips in his garden beds, along with rainwater collection. Another component of dryland farming is making use of drought-resistant, region-specific crops so that your garden or farm needs less water.

The good news is that there is a lot that we can do to survive a lengthy water supply disruption. The bad news is that advance preparations are pretty much required to take advantage of these techniques. There really is not a way to just “wing it” when it comes to keeping animals and gardens watered during a water outage. Getting prepared doesn’t necessarily mean a huge cash outlay but it will require planning, time, and effort to dig swales, set up condensation traps, catch rainwater, and create a drought-resistant dryland garden. In the area of the country where I live, we are in an El Nino, which means more rain. I would be foolish not to collect this rain while it is plentiful. If that is all I do to prepare, it will be a huge help in surviving a water interruption. If I do all this preparation and do not need it, I certainly will not regret it. My water bill will be reduced at the very least and at the most, my family and I will be able to sustain ourselves if the worst occurs.


Sources:

• Making a Condensation Trap – http://www.ehow.com/how_11367791_make-condensation-trap.html
• Water Wells – http://www.totallyhomeimprovement.com/exterior/installing-home-water-well
• Solar Powered Well Pumps – http://www.ruralpowersystems.com/blog/10-reasons-to-install-a-solar-powered-well-pump-system-today/
• Texas Young Farmers/Tim Miller Dryland Farming – http://www.texasyoungfarmers.org/tim-miller-teaches-dry-gardening-all-around-excellence/
• Dryland Farming – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dry+farming