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Delicious & Healing Foods by Dr. Cook a.k.a. the Cultured Cook

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Make Your Own Sauerkraut

February 14, 2018

Sauerkraut with live cultures is packed with health benefits.

When it comes to probiotic-rich foods, yogurt gets all the fanfare but sauerkraut with live cultures contains a wider variety of probiotic strains, and arguably more health benefits.  But why choose when you can enjoy both foods? 

Sadly the art of making homemade sauerkraut has dwindled over the years.  Most people wrongly assume that it takes a lot of work and is difficult to make but it actually requires minimal effort and is quite simple once you get used to it.

The following recipe is for making a “plain” sauerkraut without the many possible flavor additions.  It is delicious on its own but feel free to add a handful of flavor additions, including:  caraway seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, juniper berries, fresh basil, fresh or dried rosemary, mustard seeds, or others.  Use your imagination if you want to try different flavors of sauerkraut but feel free to also enjoy this simple sauerkraut recipe “as is” because it has a great flavor all on its own.

The description below may seem intensive but once you get used to the basic process, it’s actually simple.  The technique to make probiotic-rich vegetable dishes usually involves brining.  Brining is a process in which vegetables are fermented in a salt-water solution.  Brine is simply the salt-water solution.  The salt draws water out of the cabbage and helps protect the vegetables from microorganisms that decompose food.  Many probiotic bacteria still grow in the salt solution, however, if excessive amounts of salt is used then no microorganisms can survive and fermentation won’t take place.

You can use a variety of fermentation vessels, ranging from small to large stoneware crocks, ceramic or glass bowls to wide-mouthed mason jars.  Avoid using metal or plastic containers as the level of acidity will increase which can cause a chemical reaction with the metal or plastic.  Additionally, most beneficial microbes do not grow well in a metal container so they are best avoided.  Glass, ceramic, or stoneware are best. 

Whatever type you use, you’ll need a plate, jar, or cover that fits inside the crock, bowl, or jar.  The reason for this is simple:  it helps submerge the vegetables that would otherwise float to the top and potentially spoil.   For the cover, I use a plate as large as I can find.  Flea markets and antique shops are great places to find both crocks and plates of different sizes to fit.  Then, you’ll need a weight.  I sometimes use a bowl filled with extra salt water to sit on top of the plate but you can also use a rock that has been scrubbed and boiled for at least 15 minutes.  A one-gallon glass jug tends to be a great weight for larger crocks and mason jars filled with water make good weights for smaller crocks or bowls.

Don’t panic if you open your crock after a couple of weeks to find a disgusting mold growing on top.  It can be scooped off the surface and provided it has not penetrated deeper within the crock will still result in a perfectly good sauerkraut.

Cabbage has been found to have anticancer properties.

2 small to medium heads green cabbage, shredded

3 Tablespoons of unrefined fine sea salt or 6 Tablespoons unrefined coarse sea salt (do not use iodized salt as the iodine interferes with the fermentation process)

1 quart (1 Liter) of filtered water (It’s best not to use chlorinated water since the chlorine can interfere with the natural fermentation process that is required to turn cabbage into sauerkraut). 

1 tablespoon juniper berries, coarsely cracked with a mortar and pestle or pepper mill (optional)

Using a wooden spoon or your clean fist, punch down the cabbage and apple mixture to make it more compact and to release the juices. 

In a large, clean crock or large bowl place the green cabbage, pushing down with your fist or a wooden spoon to release the juices as you go.  In a pitcher or large measuring cup dissolve the sea salt in the water, stirring if necessary to encourage the salt to dissolve.  Pour over the cabbage in the crock until the ingredients are submerged, leaving a couple of inches of room at the top for the ingredients to expand.

Place a plate that fits inside the crock over the cabbage-water mixture and then weigh it down with food-safe weights or a bowl or jar of water until the vegetables are submerged under the water-salt brine.  Ideally, choose the biggest plate possible to fit inside the crock and provide the greatest amount of surface coverage to prevent cabbage pieces from floating to the top of the crock.  Cover with a lid or cloth.  Allow it ferment for at least two weeks, checking periodically to ensure that the cabbage mixture is still submerged below the salt-water brine.  After two weeks the sauerkraut is still fairly crunchy.  If you like a more traditional sauerkraut allow it to ferment longer than that.

If any mold forms on the surface of the crock, simply scoop it out.  It will not spoil the sauerkraut unless it gets deeper inside the crock.  It may form where the mixture meets the air but not usually deeper inside the crock. 

 

After two weeks, or longer if preferred, dish out the sauerkraut into jars or a bowl and place in the fridge, where it will last for at least a few months to a year.  

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life60 Seconds to SlimThe Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

20 Surprising Reasons to LOVE Bacteria

January 20, 2018

Kimchi offers a wide variety of probiotic strains.

 

Few people would say they love bacteria and, indeed, it may come as a surprise to learn that there are any reasons to love bacteria at all but after poring through medical journals, I found that there are at least 20 reasons to love probiotic (health-supporting) bacteria.  They are:

1. Digestion and Nutrition

Certain types of bacteria help ensure that food is adequately broken down and that the nutri­ents are synthesized and absorbed by the body. 

2. Anti-Toxic Effects

Probiotic bacteria help to ensure that toxins are not absorbed into the blood and at the same time, help keep harmful bacteria in check.  This aids gut and immune system health.

3. Allergies

Research by scientists at the Osaka University School of Medicine found that certain probiotics were effective in the treatment of nasal and sinus symptoms linked to allergies.  Published in International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, the specific strains they found to be effective include:  Lactobacilli casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, L. acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.

4. Inflammation

Research conducted at the Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research in Tokyo, Japan and published in the journal Gut Microbes found that certain bacteria can reduce the inflammatory response in the body.  Since inflammation has increasingly been linked with many chronic diseases, effective anti-inflammatories like probiotic bacteria may play an important role in the natural treatment of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and others.

5. Susceptibility to Colitis

Researchers at the University of British Columbia, Canada, have linked susceptibility to this serious bowel disorder to the types and quantities of flora found in the intestines.  Since supplementation of probiotics can positively influence the bowel flora, taking beneficial bacteria may play a role in the likelihood of developing colitis.

6. Celiac Disease

Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology showed a significant improvement in immune-system markers in animals with celiac disease—an immune system disorder in which an individual is unable to digest gluten and/or gliadin, common components of many grains.  Probiotic supplementation may aid in the treatment and management of celiac disease.

7. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Probiotic supplementation resulted in functional improvements in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, according to scientists at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.  Published in the June 2011 edition of the Medical Science Monitor, improved function was observed in participants within three months.

Kefir is a good source of probiotics.

8. Breast Milk Nutrition

Scientists at the University of Turku, Finland published research in the European Journal of Nutrition that indicated improved nutritional quality in the breast milk of women who supplemented their diet with the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis and canola oil.   

9. Anti-Viral Activity

Scientists at Sapienza University, Italy, found that the bacteria Lactobacillus brevis showed significant anti-viral activity against the herpes simplex type 2 virus.  Their research was published in the May 2011 journal Anaerobe.

10. Anti-Aging Effects

Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria can also act as antioxidants in the body.  Antioxidants are substances that reduce free radical damage in the body.  Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that result from normal metabolic processes, harmful toxins, and other substances. They cause damage to otherwise healthy tissue in the body, depending on where they are found. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and have been linked to virtually all diseases and the aging process. They speed up aging and disease. 

11. Depression

Studies show that probiotic bacteria lower negative immune system com­pounds called “cytokines,” not only in the gut, but also throughout the bloodstream. Cytokines are linked to anxiety and symptoms of depression, among other symptoms in healthy adults.

12. Colon Cancer

Research at the International University of Health and Welfare Hospital, Japan found that probiotic supplementation improved the bowels of people suffering from colon cancer.  The scientists concluded that their findings “suggest the possibility of preventing colorectal carcinoma with probiotics.”

13. Brain Health

In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Swedish researchers showed that oral administration of a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum, resulted in a thirty-seven percent reduction in chemicals that mark oxidative stress in the body and are elevated in many brain and neuro­logical diseases.

14. Ulcers

The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) that has been linked to stomach ulcers, have also been associated with a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease, among other health problems.  At least four research studies demonstrate that vari­ous strains of probiotic bacteria can inhibit the growth of H pylori.

15. Liver Function

Research at the University Clinical Centre Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina found that probiotic supplementation improved the recovery of liver function after surgery for liver cancer patients.

16. Reduces Symptoms from Chemotherapy and Radiation

Scientists at the University of Alberta, Canada, found that probiotic supplementation may reduce the gastrointestinal (GI) complications linked to chemotherapy. Since GI complications can compromise the efficacy of chemotherapy, probiotic supplementation may play a role in improving the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments in people suffering from cancer.  Additional research at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, Canada, found that probiotics aided in the prevention of diarrhea caused by radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer.

17. Anti-Cancer Effects

Scientists at Harvard Medical School found that Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria may induce tumour cell death in colon cancer cells.  Published in Letters in Applied Microbiology, their research suggests a possible role for supplementation with L. acidophilus in the prevention or treatment of colon cancer.

18. Obesity and Overweight

Research in the journal Internal and Emergency Medicine indicated that probiotics may help balance the intestinal bacterial flora in humans, with promising preliminary results in the prevention and treatment of obesity and metabolic disorders.

19. Urinary Tract Infections and Other Infections

Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition indicates that urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and other types of organ and tissue infections may be helped through probiotic supplementation.

20. Your Body is Made Up of Bacteria

Over one trillion bacteria of more than four hundred different spe­cies reside in your intestines.  Actually, there are more micro-organisms found in your digestive tract than there are cells in your body.

 

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life60 Seconds to SlimThe Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

 

World's Easiest Vegan Yogurt

January 3, 2018

Vegan Yogurt with Cherries and Pomegranate

One day while I was busy straining whey from a batch of homemade dairy-free yogurt, and waiting for what seemed like way too much time, I said to myself “there must be a better way.”  I knew that yogurt had been made this way for hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of years, but that was when yogurt was made from cow’s, goat’s or camel’s milk.  With the substitution of cashews in place of milk, I set to work to find a better, no muss and no-fuss method for making dairy-free yogurt. 

Realizing that the culturing time can only be sped up so much (after all, the little beneficial bacteria need time to work their magic), I figured that the best way to improve yogurt-making was to remove the straining curds from whey process, which is not only time-consuming, and somewhat labor-intensive, it is also messy. I wanted a simple, delicious, and healthy recipe to share in my new book: THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life

After a few tries, I discovered that it is possible to make delicious, cultured yogurt without all of the fuss (or mess) of straining curds from whey.  While it still takes several hours for the probiotics to proliferate, which gives yogurt its signature tangy taste, in a mere few minutes of actual prep time you can make your own yogurt. And, of course, you can set the probiotics to work while you sleep, thereby greatly reducing the seeming wait-time for your fresh-yogurt. 

Not only is this yogurt delicious, it tends to have a larger diversity of probiotic strains than commercial yogurt…and you know from the taste whether it actually contains live cultures, which is hard to know from commercial varieties that often contain many additives.

Additionally, this recipe contains all of the fiber (most unflavored yogurt contains none) and is naturally thick like Greek yogurt.  It even thickens up even more overnight, making it the perfect base for sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. 

Vegan Yogurt with Flaxseeds and Sunflower Seeds

World's Easiest Yogurt

Makes approximately 1 quart/Liter of yogurt

3 cups raw, unsalted cashews

2 cups filtered water

1 probiotic capsule or ½ teaspoon probiotic powder

In a medium-sized glass bowl with a lid, place the cashews, water, and empty the contents of the probiotic capsule.  Discard the empty capsule shell.  Stir ingredients together until combined.  Cover and let sit for 8 to 24 hours depending on how tangy you like your yogurt.  Puree the ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Return to the bowl.  Serve or refrigerated for up to four days.  Enjoy!

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life60 Seconds to SlimThe Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

 

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese! (Vegan)

December 21, 2017

Cranberry Cracked Peppercorn Cheese (Vegan)

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved.

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese! How lovely are your flavors.

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese! How silky are your textures.

Not only gluten-free and dairy-free, but also packed with probios.

O Christmas Cheese! O Christmas Cheese!

Thy delicious-ness is astounding!

Okay, it’s not exactly Shakespeare but you get the idea. I wanted to create some cheeses that were perfect for holiday gatherings and parties so I used Chevrew (my own dairy-free, fermented creation that I showcased in my book The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.

Then I gave the cheese the holiday makeover and turned it into two types: Cranberry & Cracked Peppercorn and Rosemary Chevrew. Both cheeses were an absolute hit and everyone who ate them at my recent Christmas gathering loved them! And, unlike most cheeses these ones are packed with plentiful amounts and a wide variety of health-boosting probiotics. So they are all pleasure and no guilt.

 

Chevrew

Makes two blocks

This creamy, savory cheese is the perfect accompaniment with fruit, crackers, or on a cheese and antipasto platter but it’s so good you’ll likely eat it on its own now and then.  I love it atop a mixed green salad with sweet fruits, particularly peaches or figs, and a handful of pine nuts or pumpkin seeds.  You can also serve this cheese with the peach chutney on page xx.  This delightful cheese has a soft texture reminiscent of the goat cheese known as chèvre.  This cheese is one of my favorites and is packed with health-building probiotics.  It’s so good you’ll probably want to eat it every day—like I do.

Makes approximately 1-1/2 cups

2 cups raw, unsalted cashews

1 cup filtered water

2 capsules probiotics or 1 teaspoon of probiotic powder

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot

1-½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt

 

Cranberry Cracked Peppercorn Cheese:

1/4 cup dried cranberries + extra for garnish, coarsely chopped

Pinch cracked peppercorns

 

Rosemary Chevrew:

1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced + extra for garnish

 

Soak cashews in the water for 8 hours or overnight.  Blend the cashews and water together until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a small glass dish with a lid.  Empty the capsule of probiotics into the cashew mixture and stir together.  Discard the empty capsule.  Cover with a lid or clean cloth and allow to the mixture to ferment for 24 hours.

Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and add the coconut oil, and sea salt and blend together until smooth.  Divide the cheese mixture into 2 bowls.

 

Cranberry Cracked Peppercorn Cheese (Vegan)

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved.

 

Cranberry-Peppercorn Cheese

In one bowl add the cranberries and cracked peppercorns and combine until well mixed. Line a small round (approximately 3” across) or rectangular bowl (approximately 2” x 3”) with cheesecloth and sprinkle chopped cranberries across the bottom. Pour the cranberry-peppercorn cheese mixture into the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 6 hours or until the cheese becomes firm. Remove the cheese from the bowl and flip upside-down onto the serving plate or cheese board of your choice. Remove the cheesecloth. Serve immediately with crackers, bread, nuts, celery sticks, fresh figs or mandarin slices. Keep any remaining cheese covered and refrigerated for up to one week.

 

Rosemary Chevrew Vegan Cheese

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved

 

Rosemary Chevrew

Line a small round (approximately 3” across) or rectangular bowl (approximately 2” x 3”) with cheesecloth and sprinkle chopped half of the minced rosemary across the bottom. Pour the plain chevrew mixture into the bowl and sprinkle the remaining rosemary on top. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 6 hours or until the cheese becomes firm. Remove the cheese from the bowl and flip upside-down onto the serving plate or cheese board of your choice. Remove the cheesecloth. Serve immediately with crackers, bread, nuts, celery sticks, fresh figs or mandarin slices.  Keep any remaining cheese covered and refrigerated for up to one week.

 

These cheeses are simple to make, elegant on any holiday cheese platter, and a delicious addition to your festive foods, but they are so good you’ll want to enjoy them all year long.

Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, All rights reserved.

 

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life60 Seconds to SlimThe Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

 

 

 

7 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar + Recipe

December 16, 2017

Making Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar is Easier than You Think

There are countless claims on the Internet about seemingly miraculous health benefits of apple cider vinegar consumption, but is it all true?  I hit the research journals to separate fact from fiction and proven claims from the Internet-sustained urban myths. 

I discovered that apple cider vinegar has many beneficial properties but most of the claims floating around in cyberspace are unfounded in research.  Here are some of the evidence-based health benefits of incorporating apple cider vinegar into your daily diet: 

Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Diabetes

Several studies demonstrate vinegar’s ability to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar responses when eaten as part of meals or taken before bedtime, which may offer help in the treatment of diabetes.  Here are links to a few of the studies, if you’re interested in learning more:  Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, another European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, and Diabetes Care

Regulate Blood Chemistry in Diabetics

Improving insulin sensitivity isn’t the only way apple cider vinegar appears to help diabetics.  It has been shown to help normalize other aspects of blood chemistry as well.  Research showed that apple cider vinegar helped regulate blood chemistry of diabetic animals fed the vinegar as part of their regular diet for four weeks.

Killing E. Coli on Produce

The Journal of Food Protection assessed the effects of spraying various solutions on lettuce inoculated with E. coli.  While the apple cider vinegar did not kill the E. coli completely, it helped to reduce the numbers of the bacteria linked with food poisoning yet did not affect the taste of the lettuce or its crispness.

Regulate Effects of Dietary Cholesterol

In a study published in the Journal of Membrane Biology, researchers studied the effects of a high cholesterol diet on animals fed apple cider vinegar versus animals that only ate the high cholesterol diet.  They found that the apple cider vinegar exerted a protective effect on the liver and kidneys, among other protective benefits.

Aids Weight Loss

While there are conflicting studies about apple cider vinegar’s effects on obesity and weight loss, according to research in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, apple cider vinegar can help reduce the number of calories eaten at a meal by between 200 and 275.  Additional study results published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry also showed that vinegar helped with weight loss in obese individuals.  

Its Chlorogenic Acid May Help with Heart Disease

Apple cider vinegar contains the nutrient, chlorogenic acid which, according to the journal Biochemical Pharmacology, helps prevent LDL cholesterol, also known as the “bad cholesterol” from oxidizing, which is an important step in the progression of heart disease. 

Reduce Bacteria in Oral Infections

A study published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontics found that apple cider vinegar demonstrated antibacterial activity against a bacteria known as E. faecalis, which can be linked to infection in root canals and elsewhere in the body.

Anti-Cancer Effects?

There is a lot of internet hype about apple cider vinegar’s anti-cancer effects but at this point the research doesn’t really support it.  While some studies showed anti-cancer effects of rice vinegar and sugar cane vinegar in laboratory settings, there is little research on apple cider vinegar and whether it has any anti-cancer effects.  So, it may have anti-cancer effects, it might not.  We’ll have to wait for the research to find out.

How to Benefit

Keep in mind that you should never drink apple cider vinegar undiluted.  Always use it diluted in water or juice or mixed with oil in a salad dressing.  The vinegar is an acid that can burn the delicate mucus membranes of the digestive tract.  Most nutrition experts recommend choosing an unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the “mother” left intact.  This is the collection of beneficial microbes that convert apple cider into apple cider vinegar.

Make Your Own Apple Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the staples in my home.  I use it to preserve freshly-harvested herbs, to add flavor to soups, stews, tofu (organic, of course!), and salad dressings.  With some olive oil and a teaspoon of crushed chilies and fresh or dried basil, I have an instant bread dip that is absolutely delicious. 

While it is possible to buy apple cider vinegar from the local health food or grocery store, it is absolutely simple to make your own and there is no comparison when it comes to the taste of freshly-made apple cider vinegar.  Making your own also allows you to control the level of acidity to sweetness that you simply cannot do with the store-bought varieties.  Once you’ve made your first apple cider vinegar, you’ll probably understand why I insist on making my own. 

Making any type of homemade fruit vinegar is as simple as mashing up fruit (which you can either do by hand or using a fruit masher), removing the pulp, bottling, and leaving it to sit until bacteria known as acetobacter convert the juice into vinegar. 

You can either purchase apple cider or apple juice, if you prefer, in which case just skip the juicing step.  Here’s how to get started making your own apple cider vinegar:

Save up any apples that are beyond their prime—not rotten ones of course, but pulpy or spongy apples that are no longer suitable for eating are great for making vinegar.  Of course, you can use fresh apples that are absolutely perfect too but I find that making apple cider vinegar from older apples is the perfect way to use up older ones, without sending them to the compost bin.  Push them through an electric juicer to make apple juice.  If you don’t have a juicer, just cut the apples into quarters and puree in a food processor (you can leave the cores and skins on).  Then, push the apple pulp through a muslin-lined sieve or muslin bag to remove the fiber from the juice.

Pour the juice into sterilized, dark, glass jugs or bottles without putting a lid on them.  Cover the tops with a few layers of cheesecloth and hold in place with an elastic band.  Store the bottles or jars in a cool, dark place for between 3 weeks to 6 months, depending on the level of tanginess you prefer in your apple cider vinegar.  The longer the juice sits, the more acidic the vinegar will taste, while shorter times taste more like juice and only mildly like vinegar.  Keep in mind that some alcohol may develop during the process, so if you use your vinegar early on in the fermentation cycle, it may actually taste more like apple cider wine than vinegar.  Simply leave the apple juice/cider to ferment for a longer amount of time until the alcohol converts into acetic acid, which means it is now ready to use as vinegar.

If you purchased apple juice or apple cider, you can simply secure the cheesecloth over the top in place of the lid and store in a cook, dark place until it becomes vinegar.

You may notice a thick substance that forms on the top of the juice/vinegar.  That’s the “mother” as it is known—the collection of bacteria that form in the juice that are responsible for converting it to vinegar.  You can save the mother to use as a starter culture for the next batch of apple cider or other type of vinegar if you’d like.  Using an existing mother helps to slightly speed up the process of making vinegar.  Once you’re happy with the level of acidity simply cap the bottles and store until you are ready to use.  Enjoy!

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life, 60 Seconds to Slim, The Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

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Meet Dr. Michelle Cook

International best-selling & 20-Time Author Dr. Michelle Schoffro CookHi, I'm Dr. Cook, the Cultured Cook. You may already be familiar with my work. I am an  international best-selling and 20-time book author whose works include: THE CULTURED COOK, 60 SECONDS TO SLIM, THE PROBIOTIC PROMISE, THE ULTIMATE PH SOLUTION.  I am a food and health blogger on Care2.com, a professional recipe developer, and food photographer. My work and recipes have been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, WebMD, Reader's Digest Best Health, Prevention, Huffington Post, RodaleWellness.com, Care2.com, Closer Weekly, Vegetarian Times, and many other publications. I'm on a mission to help people become healthier through delicious, nutritious food.