Vinegar is a natural product caused by bacteria in the air. When alcoholic based beverages such as those made from apples, dates, grapes, white sugar or rice are exposed to the air the bacteria in the air converts the alcohol into acetic acid which will give vinegar its distinctive sharp and sour flavor.
Throughout history diluted vinegar has been used as a drink to promote energy and strength. Roman soldiers called this tonic ‘posca’ and it was also used by Japanese samurai. The adding of vinegar to drinking water also had the effect of killing any infectious material that might have existed in the drinking water. Apple cider vinegar was also used as an antiseptic during the American civil war.
It is said that the Carthaginian general Hannibal used vinegar along with his soldiers and elephants in his invasion of Italy in 218 BC. Vinegar was poured over heated boulders to fracture and crumble the rocks in order to let his soldiers through.
Because vinegar is acidic, the acetic acid in vinegar can attack tooth enamel and can cause decay and sensitivity in people’s teeth. It is suggested that using flouride mouthwash or toothpaste will help to minimize the acidic effects of vinegar on the teeth. For those using dentures, soaking them overnight in a half water and half white vinegar solution may help to remove tartar. The dentures can then be brushed and rinsed and be ready for use.
A lot of people will already be aware of the traditional and environmentally friendly method of cleaning windows, glass and mirrors using a solution of water, vinegar and liquid soap, with newspapers to dry. It is also suggested that applying car windows and windscreen with a three parts water and one part solution can keep car windows frost free in winter.
Vinegar should not be stored in containers made from lead, iron or copper, or stored in crystal glass containers, due to the high level of lead in the glass as the vinegar can become poisonous.
Cats and other animals are said to dislike the scent of vinegar even after it has dried. A spray of vinegar solution onto an item of furniture or an area will deter cats. Other unwanted animal visitors to the garden may be deterred by placing pieces of material soaked in white vinegar on stakes around the garden. The vinegar would need to be reapplied regularly to be effective.
Vinegar has also inspired musicians and music with many taking the name Vinegar in their name. The Finnish singer Anna Abreu released a song in 2008 entitled Vinegar which became a number one hit in the Finnish Top 20 Singles chart. The song described a relationship which had become sour with ‘vinegar in my dreams’. Vinegar is also the name of a German psychedelic rock band, whilst in America, Vinegar Mother is the name of a soul rock band.