You may have heard of Fire Cider, you may have no idea what we are talking about! Lily is here to share one of her favorite (and super easy to create!) home ferments!
Before I get all emotional when it comes to making immune system support potions on my counter top, here is the recipe:
1 head of garlic
3 jalapeños *
Large ginger root
¼ cup dried echinacea *
Large horseradish root
2 tablespoons turmeric
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 bottle of organic apple cider vinegar (with "the mother")
Chop all of your fruit and veg; the smaller you chop, the more surface area for infusion.
Put all of your chopped goodies into a quart mason jar and pour apple cider vinegar over, close it up with a screw-on mason jar lid, and shake. (Pro tip, To avoid your mason jar lids getting crusty or stained, put parchment paper between the jar and lid.)
Store in a cool area of your kitchen and shake daily for approximately 3 weeks. After three weeks, strain the liquid into another mason jar and store in the fridge. There are a lot of opinions about how long fire cider lasts in the fridge, personally I am in the camp that you’ll use it all before it could possibly go bad. I definitely encourage you to look into it further and do what makes you comfortable as far as when your fire cider is past its prime.
Take a small 2-4 tablespoon shot everyday to help promote a strong immune system.
Alright, here it is! Your fire cider is ready to go! But why is it worth the work? Below, we break down why each ingredient is useful in this little potion; as well as where to find each ingredient as locally as possible. If it isn't grown or produced here, where can you buy it to have the most positive local impact?
Lemons add that vitamin C that we all need this time of year. It protects your cells and helps support your immune system functions to fight infection and heal wounds.
Lemons don’t grow locally; but you can get non-locally sourced lemons at Brigiotta's or Peterson's Farm. If you want to get real Crunchy Granola about it, Thorpe's Organic Family Farm in East Aurora, NY owns an organic citrus farm in Lake Wales, FL and you can get some amazing oranges, lemons, and grapefruits from their farm store in East Aurora.
Garlic and Onions
Both are in the allium family and help with inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a part of a healthy immune system but sometimes our body needs help keeping it in check.
Locally we can get both onions and garlic in the summertime at any farmers market or farm stand. The heirloom garlic purchased at the public market can last all winter if properly stored in a cool dry place with airflow. I keep garlic in a brown paper bag in a cabinet either in a basement or far from heat sources within the kitchen (don’t put them near your oven!). In the winter Brigiotta's and Peterson's are great places to purchase onions or garlic if you don’t have any saved from fall.
I used jalapenos because I had some in the fridge, but any hot pepper you'd prefer will work. The capsaicin in hot peppers helps support heart and digestive health.
Locally we can get some delicious hot peppers from the public market or farm stand in the summertime. Hidden Valley Produce grows some impeccable peppers, just sayin'. Think of investing in a simple dehydrator! By preserving the hot peppers we purchase at the public market, we have plenty to get us through the winter. If you don’t have any hot peppers on hand, Brigiotta's has, while not locally grown, peppers that are nonetheless perfect in your fire cider.
Gingerol, the main component of ginger root, has medicinal properties that help support the immune system. Finding local ginger can be tricky. Some farmers markets may have ginger, but not commonly. You may have to make a Wegmans run for this little guy; but remember Wegmans is based out of Rochester, so you are still supporting regional.**
** don't get me wrong, I love Wegmans. If you're going to shop at a big box grocery market Wegmans is the one to go to. Wegmans was started out of Rochester in the 1900s and has helped support Western and Central NY for a very long time. Spending money at our Chautauqua County Wegmans is still contributing into our local community.
This flower contains a high level of antioxidants which help boost the immune system. Short of growing them yourself (which could be fun!) finding echinacea locally is tough. Check out any of our local herb stores like Lakewood Apothecary or Sunshine Wellness.
Turmeric has strong antioxidant properties and is an anti-inflammatory. Always consume black pepper alongside turmeric as the body does not absorb the active components of this root without the presence of black pepper. Locally you can find both at the Biodome.
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Acetic acid, from fermented sugars, is the main component in ACV believed to give ACV its health benefits, mainly to the GI tract. Locally you can find it at The Biodome, but it is also super easy to make if you are into crunchy granola projects and have some apple skins or cores on hand. Here’s a link to show you how https://homesteadandchill.com/homemade-apple-cider-vinegar/
There you have it! The long and short of Fire Cider, the easy brewing process and its benefits. Always remember that we at the public market are not health experts; no definitive research has been conducted to deduce that Fire Cider is essential to a healthy immune system. Don’t replace other healthy habits or skip your medications for this elixir. Please listen to your doctors and health professionals! That said, regardless of the potential benefits, taking this spicy little shot every morning will at least get your day going.
Other Ferments to Enjoy
I have been dabbling with kombucha and sour dough for almost a year now, so I like to think I’m an intermediate when it comes to kitchen counter ferments. This Fire Cider is by far the easiest ferment project I’ve worked on, and honestly the feeling of taking a shot of it every morning to help support my immune system is invigorating. I brewed up this little potion on my countertop and it’s exciting to know something I created could help me feel extra good this season. Perhaps it is strange to find comfort and strength in that, but so it goes. It’s 2021 and we are here to be healthy and happy. Keep feeding your body to feel good, and keep supporting your community so our sweet little city can thrive.
Crunchy Granola Tips:
You can also use over fermented kombucha instead of ACV. If you are a kombucha maker, you know that you’ve forgotten about your batch and let it sour at least once. So next time you find that overripe bucha, make a batch of fire cider.
After you strain your fire cider you can save all of the now super mushy veg, dehydrate it, grind it down, and add it to food or take it in capsule form to keep your immune system extra strong. (pro tip: if you don’t have a dehydrator you can do it in your oven. I didn’t want to dirty my dehydrator so I spread it on a baking sheet in a thin layer and baked in a 200 degree oven for as long as it takes to dry out. Depending on how well you squeeze will determine how long it will need. Mine took 10 hours. It also stunk up the house massively, but I still think it’s worth it)