Food is Medicine
Vinegar for Mental Health. What is Tepache?
Fermented foods are an essential part of good mental health. They support intestinal well-being and enhance healthy bacteria, which support neurotransmitters needed for brain health. All types of fermented foods enhance cognition.
When freshly made, vinegar is an important fermented food that is easy to add to salad dressings, to your slow cooker meat and bone recipes and to dark leafy greens. Vinegar increases energy and helps to reduce anxiety and depression. Good gut habits will reduce inflammation and pain. To be medicinal, vinegar should be made naturally and have a good enough “mother.”
Making vinegar is a fun family activity. The term vinegar refers to the two-step process of fermentation from a carbohydrate to an alcohol to an acetic acid. Sugar is converted into alcohol, which is then fermented into vinegar.
Make vinegar with almost any fruit: apples, pears, or raspberries. One of my favorites is pineapple, based on the traditional indigenous Mexican recipe called Tepache. Plan ahead—when buying a pineapple for the fruit, save the rind to make the vinegar once you cut open the pineapple.
- 1 quart glass jar, sterilized
- 3 c. filtered water
- ¼ c. coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
- The rind of 1 organic pineapple
- Piece of cheesecloth, to fit over mouth of jar
- 1 rubber band
Scrub the rind of the pineapple and set the rind aside on paper towels to dry.
Dissolve the sugar in a little water and then add pineapple scraps and rind to the sterilized jar until the jar has a few inches of room at the top.
Place the cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar with the rubber band. Place the jar in a dark cupboard, let it ferment for 4 weeks, opening the container to lightly stir the contents daily.
At 4 weeks, strain the contents through the cheesecloth into sterilized bottles and seal. Store in the refrigerator. Use it in your salad dressings along with Olive oil and garlic and fresh herbs.
Don’t like the taste of vinegar? Then add a cup of vinegar to a bath and soak for 20 minutes when feeling fatigued or anxious.