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Apple cider vinegar or other types of vinegar certainly are a must-haves in kitchens all over the world. People like different types of it to go with salads or ingredient dressings, as well as acting as a meat tenderiser in marinades!
Though it is widely used in the food industry with numerous health benefits, it is also used as a cleaning solution for indoor areas with good results. It can even be used as a weed killer!
But let’s see first how vinegar is produced and what are the ingredients and by knowing the details of the process of making it, then should it be considered “Halal” or “Haram”.
Vinegar is mostly acetic acid which is made by a bacteria known as acetobacter- a common bacteria. If acetobacter gets into wine it gradually turns the alcohol into acetic acid: this is how vinegar is produced.
The word vinegar is derived from French, meaning sour wine. It is basically alcohol that has turned into vinegar and it is no longer alcoholic in nature.
first, the fruit is finely chopped and then it undergoes natural fermentation process turning the mixture into an alcoholic beverage. It is an ancient process and the drink has been enjoyed by many nations for thousands of years.
However, as we have discovered the great health benefits of apple cider vinegar (derived from Cider) it has enjoyed a sharp rise in popularity in recent years.
Cider is normally a clear, golden drink, which the colour can range from a pale yellow to a dark amber rose. It has a fruity flavour and the taste may vary from very sweet to sour.
Sweet cider is considered as “non-alcoholic” drink available in the market as apple juice by pasteurizing it and adding preservatives to stop the natural fermentation process.
If the juice is left to establish the fermentation process, then it is called “hard cider” which contains alcohol.
Studies indicate that man has discovered cider long B.C. and over the years improvement of the quality and taste achieved. It was during the sixth century, that Europe considered being the most skilful brewer, resulting in making beer, similar to beverages and cider.
Normandy became one of the largest producers of cider by the sixteenth century by experiencing different types of apples and therefore making better tasting ciders.
England and colonial America were also among cider producers during this period. In fact, producing cider was an important part of each culture, with their own methods of producing.
Of course over the years great improvement of better methods has been achieved and today, sophisticated laboratories make it possible to produce high quality of ciders with good taste.
Now, it is interesting to know that some modern Apple Cider vinegar does not even contain any apple cider, for such products, the ingredients say caramel (Burnt Sugar) colouring and dilute acetic acid.
This alcohol can be derived from a few things, but most commons are:
grapes (wine), apples (hard cider), corn or wheat.
Of course, there are some other items such as date, rice, banana, pineapple, etc…,
Now mentioning wine, then the question arises whether vinegar is Halal or not! Or are all vinegar halal?
To produce pickles and mayonnaise, normally vinegar of white wine, red wine, are used. Some people think they are Haram while others think that they are Halal!
Of course, the question of being Halal should be answered by experts as there are always some doubts about some food and drinks for the Muslims living in non-Muslim countries.
So, referring to some restricted Muslim countries having more experts and scholars and considering vast consumption of different vinegar in such countries, one may consider vinegar, including Apple Cider Vinegar to be Halal, bearing in mind that Vinegar as a condiment was favoured by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Some references indicate that all fiqh scholars agree unanimously that vinegar produced in an environment with oxygen through vinegar bacteria is Halal, considering that fruits such apples, dates and others which include natural alcohol are used in order to produce vinegar.
Fiqh scholars also agree unanimously that when wine, which is not Halal, transforms into vinegar by waiting, it becomes halal. (Wahba Zuhayli, al-Fiqhul-Islami was Adillatuhu, III, 541)
According to Hanafi madhhab, it is permissible producing vinegar from wine and consume it. This vinegar is clean and Halal.
The evidence on which describes this view says: "Your best vinegar is the one you produce from wine." (Bayhaqi, as-Sunanul-Kubra, VI, 38, no: 11534)
Generally, Any beverage labelled "cider" is certainly alcoholic and is not Halal.
Now, before going further, would be better to clarify “Sugar alcohol” and sugars found in Haram alcohol. Sugar alcohol is simply a label that indicates the nature of sugar in different fruits.
These natural fruit sugars, known as “sugar alcohol” contain carbohydrates and starch which are altered via a chemical process.
So, one may name it “fruit sugar” instead of “sugar alcohol” and can be considered as sweeteners in the food industry.
Since it does not contain any alcohol, the Islamic experts have ruled it as Halal.
Let’s distinguish between "sugar alcohol" which is Halal and “hard alcohols” which is Haram and contain plenty of sugar. In producing Haram Alcohol, sugary stuff is fermented. In some other kinds of alcohol, adding yeast turns sugar to alcohol and then by distilling hard spirit or alcohol is produced.
So, again this is totally different from "sugar alcohol" which is Halal. Therefore, unlike these hard alcohol drinks, "sugar alcohol" comes directly from fruits and does not cause intoxication and therefore is totally safe and Halal.
There are some frequently asked questions such as:
One of the most common types of vinegar which can be found on the market indicating there is ‘wine’ in the product is the balsamic vinegar varieties. Balsamic vinegar is made from a special type of Italian grapes, first turns to wine and then would age further producing vinegar.
When a producer lists ‘wine’ as an ingredient in Balsamic vinegar, it either means the wine was initially used to produce vinegar; or wine was added after the vinegar was made, to increase the flavour of such product.
It is said that the only way there would be alcohol in the final vinegar product is when alcohol was added to the final product after the vinegar is made. This is not always the case, but may be found more often in high-end gourmet types of vinegar.
However, to be on the safe side, would be better to call each individual company, as one may not be able to tell from the ingredient list. Typically, there is no issue with apple cider vinegar.
Some types of vinegar are just simply delicious to add to salads, or as part of a marinade. Rice vinegar is one of the most common in Asian dishes to give a better taste.
Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar– online and in many health food stores.
We are the sole distributor of this product in the UK shipping to planet organic, and all supermarkets including Holland and Barrett and the authenticity of the product is guaranteed for you.