Apple Cider Vinegar on the Homestead

Vinegar in the Kitchen

Apple Cider Vinegar on the Homestead

Believe it or not, apple cider vinegar is not a new trend among homesteaders. Using raw apple cider vinegar has been around for thousands of years, and has been traced as far back as 3,000 B.C., to the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Roman Empire.

They used it as a condiment, a preservative, for cleaning, as medicine and for personal hygiene, just to name a few. In 400 B.C., Hippocrates found that natural, undistilled (raw) apple cider vinegar is a powerful healing and cleansing agent because it has natural antibiotic and antiseptic properties. History records that Christopher Columbus was among the many sea captains who carried apple cider vinegar in barrels for prevention of scurvy among his crew. During the U.S. Civil War, it was used to disinfect and heal wounds.


Apple cider vinegar is made from crushed apples, peel and all, which are allowed to ferment. It has a natural rich brown color. The heavier mother enzyme is the brown particles you see settling on the bottom of the bottle. All you have to do is shake it. You may still have pieces of it floating in the bottle, but that’s okay, it’s good for you.

Natural apple cider vinegar has a pungent odor that may make your eyes water. It never needs refrigeration and keeps indefinitely.


Sadly, many of us buy food based on what it looks like and how it is advertised, not on its nutritional value. Vinegar producers began to take advantage of that by producing pasteurized, refined, distilled vinegars because they are more pleasing to the consumers’ eyes than natural, unfiltered, raw vinegars, which have bits and pieces floating in them.

Valuable health benefits are lost during the process of pasteurization, refining and distilling of vinegar. When vinegar is distilled (turned to steam by heating), the mother enzymes are destroyed, which removes all the potassium, phosphorus, natural sodium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, copper, other trace minerals, essential amino acids and pectin. All of this to say the process removes the healthy part.

While white, dead vinegar is fine for cleaning projects, it’s never to be consumed or used on the body. It is cheaper than raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, so it is a better alternative than harsh chemicals, which pollute our homes, bodies and environment. For bigger cleaning projects, I use white vinegar for cost effectiveness, but never for our bodies or our animals.

Starting with organic, raw apples provides the healthy ingredients needed to produce the best natural apple cider vinegar. The fermentation process develops the mother—the bits and pieces that end up floating in it—along with all its health benefits, in a raw (uncooked) state. This process preserves the vital minerals, acids and nutrients. Leaving the vinegar unfiltered ensures these same nutrients are readily available to you for use in your home, for your health, for your hygiene, and for your animals.

My grandfather was a believer in apple cider vinegar, while many of his counterparts weren’t. I can’t say it was the sole source of his success, but he never used a vet. His animals always sold for top dollar at auction and were considered the healthiest around by many.

So what do you think? Do you use it already? Will you add it to your homestead arsenal? These are just a few of the thousands of uses for this marvelous master of miraculous results. We use it every day. Our goal is to make it ourselves. The ability to make your own and control the results is well worth the time and learning curve to us. I’ll be sharing our journey with you.



1. If you have a problem with fruit flies or gnats, pour • cup apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Put the bowl in a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the top of the bag or wrap and leave sitting on the counter. These annoying little bugs can’t resist the ACV and will be trapped inside and drown.

2. If you buy fruits and veggies, bring them home and wash them in a vinegar wash. The ratio is 1/3-cup vinegar to 2 or 3 cups of water. I use my apple cider vinegar for this, but many people use white vinegar on fruits and veggies that are non-porous. This removes pesticides from the skin, germs from shipping and handling, and some say keeps them fresher a little longer.

3. If you run out of buttermilk or don’t use it very often, don’t worry, just make your own. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. There ya go—buttermilk!

4. If you soak your propane lantern mantels in vinegar for several hours and allow them to air dry before using, they will last longer and burn brighter.

1. Taking one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before meals is proven to dramatically reduce insulin and glucose spikes in the blood. If you or anyone in your family suffers from diabetes, then you know these spikes can damage many health systems including the heart.

2. For recovery from fatigue, mix two heaping teaspoons of raw organic honey and two teaspoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar in 12 ounces of clean water and drink. You will revive in a matter of minutes. Many old-timers used this during the long days of harvest and planting.

3. Sore throat/laryngitis: Mix one teaspoon apple cider vinegar in four ounces of water, gargle, rinse, and spit. Repeat for a total of three times. Don’t swallow the gargled mixture because apple cider vinegar will act like a sponge and draw toxins and germs from the throat and mouth into itself. Repeat every three hours.

4. First thing every morning, we drink apple cider vinegar tonic. We mix three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 to 12 ounces of cool water and drink. This breaks the fast of the night by hydrating our bodies and restoring electrolyte balance.

1. Equal parts apple cider vinegar and (clean—unchlorinated, unflouridated) water mixed and rubbed onto skin in contact with poison ivy or poison oak will help stop the itching and pain. It will decrease the swelling as well. Keep this mixture in the refrigerator for best results.

2. Dabbing any minor cuts and abrasions with straight apple cider vinegar will help the blood to clot and disinfect the wound.

3. For dandruff, apply two to three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the scalp area affected. Let it sit for five minutes before shampooing.

4. Soak dentures overnight in vinegar, and then brush in the morning to remove any built-up food and stains. This is a safe, natural solution without the toxic residue many denture cleaners leave behind.

We use apple cider vinegar for all of our farm animals. To us, it’s just as important how we care for their health and well-being as how we care for ourselves. After all, we are in control of what our animals consume.

1. For dogs or cats, add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to their water bowl. This improves the health of their coat, aids in removing toxins from their digestive tract, regulates the digestion and helps improve the general health of the intestines. It also will help dissolve fats, which helps maintain a healthy weight. The main reason I do this is to boost their immune systems. I do this at season changes and anytime they seem a little sluggish. Mine seem to enjoy it for one to three days then they aren’t as thrilled about drinking the apple cider vinegar water.

2. Mix two to three teaspoons apple cider vinegar in a gallon of water for your poultry. This boosts their immune system. I do this at the change of seasons or any time my flock seems stressed or undergoes a stressful situation like a predator attack. Offer it for at least five days. I usually go for seven at change of seasons. The first few days they seem to drink it up like candy. After that the consumption goes down.

3. In ruminant animals, those that eat grass and chew the cud, apple cider vinegar can have many benefits. Since it’s full of acetic acid, it’s like giving them a dose of concentrated nutrition. It’s been proven to help increase milk production. Just to mention a few of the benefits: relieves scours, helps with food assimilation, prevents and resolves kidney stones, and relieves foot rot (applied externally and taken internally). The usual dose is three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar for every five gallons of water. When applied externally, there’s no need for dilution.

4. In horses, apple cider vinegar helps prevent intestinal stones. The improvement of the health of the hooves is remarkable. Apple cider vinegar is also an excellent insect repellent (for all livestock). Flies especially don’t like it.

Rhonda Crank and The Pack wish you a happy and safe journey. Rhonda is almost finished with her book about apple cider vinegar, where she will share all the benefits, uses, and directions as her family uses it.

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