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10 Creative Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

Discover the unsung hero of your pantry, and learn clever ways to use this versatile vinegar.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney

Toss a Salad, and More

If the only time you reach for apple cider vinegar is when you’re whipping up a tasty vinaigrette, you’re missing out. Apple cider vinegar has loads of uses beyond the salad bowl. Known as ACV among aficionados, apple cider vinegar is basically apple cider that’s fermented. The fermentation process results in a vinegar packed with probiotics and enzymes. You’ll often hear people speak of using ACV with "the mother," which refers to the murky, globular substance found in the bottom of organic, unfiltered ACV. The mother contains beneficial bacteria and strands of proteins and enzymes—all good stuff for your body. Read on for different uses for apple cider vinegar, but always remember to check with your doctor before using apple cider vinegar for any medicinal or cosmetic uses.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney

Treat a Sting

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps neutralize the formic acid in bee venom (that’s what causes the stinging, burning sensation). Simply soak the stung body part in ACV, or soak a cloth with ACV and place it over the sting. Repeat every 15 minutes as necessary. With honey bee stings, remember to remove the stinger before applying ACV. Grab ACV for treating all kinds of bug bites beyond bee stings, as well as a poison ivy rash. ACV helps relieve swelling and reduce itching thanks to the potassium it contains.

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Photo: Image by Kelly Pretsch

Create an On-Trend Cocktail

Apple cider vinegar can easily stand in for a fruit mash syrup in a cocktail, often referred to as a shrub. Combine apple cider vinegar with apple cider, a bit of sugar, lemon juice, and bourbon—and shake. Strain and pour over ice for a perfect fall sip. Such combinations of vinegar and fruit are known as a shrub. This cocktail’s been around for a few centuries, so it’s tried and true.

Apple Cider Vinegar Shrub Cocktail

- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) apple cider vinegar

- 3/4 cup apple cider

- 1 teaspoon sugar

- 1 teaspoon lemon juice

- 3 ounces bourbon

- Garnish with apple

- Strain before serving over ice. This amount makes 2 cocktails.

For a non-alcoholic ACV beverage, try the switchel, the traditional drink of field harvesters. Blend ACV, honey, ginger and a twist of lime with water for a refreshing, healthful beverage.


- 2 tablespoons ACV

- 3 tablespoons honey (or molasses or sorghum syrup)

- 1.5-2 inch piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced

- 1 quart water

- Juice from half a lime (or lemon)

- Lime (or lemon) zest

Mix and refrigerate overnight. Pour over ice. You can substitute seltzer or even ginger ale for some of the water. If so, reduce water by that amount in the initial mix. I often make it as a concentrate for easier storage and then add the desired mixer in the glass. I freeze it sometimes, too, and just toss the ice cubes into water.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney

Clean the Kitchen

Mix equal parts unpasteurized ACV and water in a clean spray bottle. Use this mixture to cut through grease, clean up grime and wipe out bacteria. The smell disappears as the vinegar evaporates. This cleaner is ideal for stove tops, counters, sinks and laundry room surfaces. It’s great for cleaning up metal tea kettles and the plastic touch pad on microwave and stove control panels. It also makes cleaning the inside of a microwave super easy. Spritz it inside the microwave on all surfaces, heat for 25 seconds, and wipe with a paper towel.

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