Having finished the Fire Cider I bought while camping a couple of weeks ago, it’s time to make my own. I have the list of ingredients from the back of the bottle:
but I turned to Google to find a recipe.
I wonder what people did before Google? Googling Fire Cider gets a lot of hits. There’s a name brand that dominates the headlines, but adding ‘recipe’ to the search got me a number of new hits from various health food blogs. I decided to try this one from Mommypotamus.
- ½ cup peeled and shredded/diced ginger root
- ½ cup peeled and shredded/diced horseradish root
- ½ cup peeled and diced turmeric OR 1/4 cup additional ginger and 1/4 cup additional horseradish
- ½ cup white onion, chopped
- ¼ cup minced or crushed garlic cloves
- 2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
- Zest and juice from 2 organic lemons
- Raw apple cider vinegar
- Raw, organic honey to taste
The gist of it is that you put everything but the vinegar and honey into a quart mason jar. Then fill up the jar with the apple cider vinegar. Seal it, let it steep in a dark place for a month, then strain it. I like to use a big colander lined with cheese cloth with a bowl underneath to strain stuff like this. Once you have the doctored cider, add warm honey until you’re happy with the taste. Do as you like with the veggies. I may have to work myself up to trying vinegar infused raw horseradish. I gather that some people stir fry them, so that might be good.
Where do I find raw horseradish, ginger, and turmeric in March? I checked Market Basket and Whole Foods. Surprisingly, both had all three, although Whole Foods was 3X the price. Each of these flavorful roots comes in sizes far larger than that needed for this recipe. I spent a couple of hours washing, peeling, and chopping until my wrists hurt. Surprise – tumeric apparently stains everything yellow!
After pulling out the ½ cup of each I needed for the recipe, I ended up with a couple of diced cups of each root to keep in freezer bags until I make the recipe again. I used the fresh stuff for this recipe, but froze the rest, since there seemed little chance that what remained would keep until the next time.
Finding jalapenos were even less of a problem. There was a big bin with all sizes at the store. Having learned the hard way, I put on latex gloves before attacking the hot peppers. I was wary of the spice potential with this recipe, so I pulled out about ¾ of the seeds before dumping everything else into the mason jar. I know, I know. It’s called Fire Cider. I should have left them in.
Raw apple cider vinegar is somewhat harder to come by, at least on a budget. Market Basket sells a gallon of their apple cider vinegar for $2.69. Nothing on the label implies that it’s live culture. Right next to it on the shelf, selling for about $20/gallon is Bragg’s.
Much better stuff, but almost 10x the price. Hard to justify the price on a recipe I haven’t tried yet. I really wanted live culture though, so I bit the bullet and picked this up too.
When I had added all the dry ingredients to the mason jar, a quart seemed too small. I transferred it all over to a half gallon jar, then added the cider. Looking good!
I decided that it was safe to increase the vinegar to spices ratio. It’s going to steep for weeks. I can just let it steep longer to make sure I get enough flavor in there.
Preservation (keeping out the mold!)
Since this recipe is vinegar based, the acidity should prevent mold from growing. However, there’s a chance of mold on anything sticking out above the layer of vinegar. This is a common problem with any fermenting project, like making sauerkraut. People have found various solutions. I’ve been shaking mine every day so that the vinegar recoats everything. Another trick is to put a plastic bag with some vinegar in the top of the jar. This would press the veggies down into the solution. If it leaks, you’re just adding some vinegar to your vinegar, so little harm done. However, I’ve tried to steer clear of this one, since I’m not sure what chemicals might come off the plastic under the month long influence of vinegar. I read somewhere that you can also just shove a cabbage leaf into the top of the jar. I like the sound of that but honestly, I don’t often have a cabbage leaf lying around.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The author of the recipe above describes it as a cold and flu remedy, as opposed to a preventative, but either way, it sounds pretty good. Ok, it sounds kind of awful… horseradish and ginger steeped in apple cider vinegar? But having nerved myself up enough the first time to try it, it really was amazing. A good, live culture apple cider vinegar is supposed to have its own amazing health benefits. Add in all these natural preventatives and I could just feel myself getting healthier as it went down. In the field of placebos, this one was a winner.
But really, why shouldn’t it be good for you? Lots of natural foods are good for you. I figure I’ll put them all together into a power shot and enjoy the unverifiable benefits. There’s a reason people have been drinking vinegar for thousands of years. The acetic acid inhibits bacterial growth, the antioxidants in it reduce cholesterol, and daily consumption of apple cider vinegar has been shown to correlate to lower blood sugar and weight loss. Studies of apple cider vinegar on rat populations have even shown a reduced cancer risk.
Free Fire Cider
That said, it turns out that an Old New England herbal remedy, Fire Cider is not. While it has antecedents that stretch back to Roman times, the modern iteration of Fire Cider was apparently invented in the early 80s by Rosemary Gladstar at the California School of Herbal Studies. There are several well known tonics based on apple cider vinegar, but they are generally pretty mild. Fire Cider is unique, with what Rosemary described as a “well balanced blend of hot, spicy, and pungent flavors steeped in apple cider vinegar and finished with the rich sweetness of honey… The original formula contained garlic, onions, horseradish root, ginger root, hot peppers, sometimes turmeric, and often echinacea; all powerful immune enhancers that help ward off infections, colds, flus, and bronchial congestion. We found we could use Fire Cider during the winter, a tablespoon or two a day, to help keep the immune system healthy and to ward off infections. All this, and it tasted good too!”
According to Rosemary’s website, Free Fire Cider
, she’s been teaching people to make Fire Cider for decades and it’s become a common herbal remedy in the holistic community, made at home and sold in shops across the country. Recently, a company called Shire City Herbals trademarked Fire Cider for itself. It’s since been suing anyone else selling Fire Cider. Seems a bit harsh. I gather that there’s a an ongoing legal battle to ‘free fire cider.’ Assuming this recipe comes out drinkable, I think I’ll make my own going forward 🙂
Having made it. All that’s left is to try it. Truth is, I’m a little nervous. Wish me luck!