Mother of vinegar is the slimy, gummy, jelly-like substance or layer of film that can form on the top of or in the liquid of apple cider vinegar. It can sometimes make the vinegar look cloudy. Sometimes, it's wispy and looks a lot like a little spider web.
The mother is actually a cellulose substance made up of various Acetobacter, a very acidic strain of bacteria. The Acetobacter combine with the oxygen in warm air to cause fermentation in apple cider, wine, or other alcoholic liquids to produce vinegar. It is the mother that gives the vinegar its characteristic sourness.
This substance can form naturally in store-bought vinegar if there is some non-fermented sugar or alcohol contained in the bottle. While not exactly appealing in appearance, it is completely harmless and the vinegar does not have to be thrown away because of it. Mother of vinegar can be easily filtered out using coffee filter, or, perhaps even better, the mother can simply be left in the vinegar and ignored.
People into home remedies and more holistic healthcare have long believed that mother of vinegar has many health benefits, especially antibacterial and antifungal properties. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, thought vinegar was a powerful elixir and used the mother to fight common germs. Today, popular uses of mother of vinegar include losing and controlling weight, improving digestion, and soothing dry, sore throats. Some people also use it externally to soothe the pain of sunburn, prevent dandruff or itchy scalp, and maintain healthy skin. The people of the Philippines even use sweetened mother of vinegar to make some of their traditional desserts.
It is increasingly rare these days to see natural vinegars containing mother on the grocery store shelf. Because of its unappetizing appearance, the large companies that produce vinegar use the pasteurization process to refine, distill, and clarify the vinegar to get rid of the mother. Many people believe, however, that the process that kills the mother also kills all of the special nutrients and health-promoting properties of the vinegar.
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar containing mother can be found at most health food stores. It is an inexpensive addition to any kitchen pantry, and many people swear it is worth every penny. Just the mother of vinegar itself can be found at stores catering to home brewing enthusiasts or winemaking supply merchants.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mother of Vinegar?
Mother of vinegar is composed of cellulose and Acetobacter (acetic acid bacteria). In raw, unfiltered vinegar, it appears as a slimy, cobweb-like glob and converts alcohol into vinegar. Given that it transforms alcohol into acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, it is regarded as a helpful bacteria.
What distinguishes Mother of Vinegar from white vinegar?
Mother of Vinegar is made from raw, unfiltered vinegar, while white vinegar is made from distilled alcohol. Mother of Vinegar is edible and can be eaten in tiny amounts, whereas white vinegar is typically used for cleaning and is not advised for ingestion. White vinegar does not contain any healthy bacteria, in contrast to Mother of Vinegar, and is not a living substance like Mother of Vinegar.
How is Mother of Vinegar made?
When good bacteria are allowed to interact with alcohol, acetic acid, the main constituent of vinegar, Mother of vinegar, is produced. Unfiltered, raw vinegar is allowed to rest in an open container for a set amount of time so that the good bacteria can create Mother of Vinegar.
What are the health benefits of Mother of Vinegar?
Mother of vinegar is believed to help with digestion, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the immune system, among other health advantages. People into holistic healthcare and home remedies also believe that along with possessing anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects, it also decreases cholesterol and assists in controlling blood sugar levels.
What are some uses for Mother of Vinegar?
Mother of vinegar can be used for various purposes, including as a natural cleaning agent, as a health supplement, and in sauces and salad dressings. It can also be added to homemade cleaning products and used as a natural weed killer.