Vinegar (ethanoic acid) is a liquid, fermented from ethanol during a fermentation process, which yields its main ingredient called acetic acid. This is the commercial method of preparation, which proceeds slowly over a course of few weeks or even months. The other method of preparation involves oxidation of ethanol derived from different sources like wine, beer, cider, fruit juices, etc., by certain bacteria.
Hence, depending upon the fruit or feed stock it is made of and the method of processing, vinegar contains varied concentrations of minerals, vitamins, fiber, enzymes, and other organic compounds. Being a dilute solution of acetic acid, vinegar has the same chemical formula as that of the acid. One molecule of this compound contains two carbon, four hydrogen, and two oxygen atoms, and hence, vinegar is represented in a chemical form as CH3COOH.
pH Value of Vinegar
The pH value basically determines how acidic or basic a solution is. The pH value of any solution is evaluated in a logarithmic scale, rating 0.0 to be most acidic, 14.0 most basic or alkaline, and 7.0 to be the neutral point. Hence, in order to decide whether a solution is acidic, basic, or neutral in nature, one has to know its pH value, which is measured by calculating the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxyl ions (OH-) present in it. Mathematically, the pH equates to the negative logarithm (base 10) of the hydrogen ion concentration in moles per liter. Hence, if the pH of a solution falls by 1 pH unit, its hydrogen ion concentration increases by ten times.
A solution having increased level of hydrogen ions implies that it is acidic in nature, whereas less hydrogen ions (H+) and more hydroxyl ions (OH-) show that the solution is more basic or alkaline in nature. However, if both the hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl ion (OH-) levels are approximately equal, it implies that the solution is neutral. The pH of vinegar depends upon how much acid is present in it. The most commercial distilled white vinegars contain 5% acetic acid, and hence, has a pH value that ranges between 2.40 - 3.40.
More Information on Vinegar and its pH Levels
Though vinegar is available in different varieties, apple cider vinegar is the most commonly used example, which is prepared from apple cider. It contains alkaline ash that improves the body pH level by making it less acidic. Basically, apple cider vinegar pH, which is somewhere between 2.8 - 3.0, makes it more potent in maintaining a healthy pH in the body by restoring alkaline acid balance and boosting the immune system.
Hence, for such reasons, a little apple cider vinegar is usually taken before a meal, to increase stomach acidity, and to enhance digestion and nutrient uptake. Moreover, some people prefer taking it with water and a few drops of Thieves essential oil in the early morning hours, to improve their body pH level. Apart from this, it is also used in various salad dressings and other recipes.
Due to its acidity, vinegar can be very harsh on the throat. Hence, before drinking, ensure that you either dilute it with fruit juice or water, or sweeten it with sugar or honey.