Sometimes the stars line up just right and something that’s fun to make is also easy, delicious, and good for you. Last winter, Mr. President and I got hooked on fire cider, which is a concoction of apple cider vinegar that’s been infused with all sorts of fiery goodness like fresh horseradish roots, hot peppers, garlic, ginger root and more. Is it wrong that the first time I tried fire cider was in a warm cocktail mixed with bourbon?
Fire cider isn’t new. In fact, it’s a traditional folk remedy that’s been used by homeopathic healers and herbalists for generations. While I can’t make any unproven health claims, most of the ingredients in fire cider have purported health benefits. The tonic is said to be immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, disgestion-improving, energy-enhancing and definitely sinus-clearing thanks to all that horseradish.
Last winter, Mr. P and I enjoyed a shot of fire cider every day for general health. While that’s a simple, wonderful way to enjoy fire cider, you can also use it in cocktails and as the acid component in salad dressings. Or, pour a shot over braised greens while they cook to turn up the flavor.
It wasn’t long before I realized I could make fire cider my damn-self. And, so can you! Homemade fire cider is easy to make and many of the ingredients will likely be in your kitchen pantry. I did have to order fresh horseradish roots online and I plan to save one of them for planting so I won’t have to buy it again.
Try to use only organic products in your homemade fire cider – they will be infusing your vinegar for four weeks and you wouldn’t want undesirable chemicals leeching into your delicious, healthful elixir. This recipe is modified from one I discovered recently from Mountain Rose Herbs. If you start a batch now, it will be ready in time for cold season!
1 cup peeled and freshly grated horseradish root
1 cup peeled and freshly grated ginger root
1 large onion, chopped
20 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 jalapeno peppers, chopped
Juice and peel from one orange
Juice of one lemon
If you cannot find organic citrus, omit the peels in your fire cider. Instead, buy bottled organic orange and lemon juice to use instead.
4 Tbsp. dried rosemary leaves
2 whole star anise
1 tsp. whole peppercorns
2 Tbsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Raw organic apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
Prepare all of your ingredients – I had them in little bowls on the counter. Get two quart-sized glass canning jars (no plastic containers) and divide up your ingredients between the two jars. They’ll be practically full with all of those ingredients. Now, pour in enough apple cider vinegar to fill the jars.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over your jars to keep the vinegar from touching the metal jar lids. Place the metal lid on top of the parchment and screw on the metal band tightly. Shake each jar well.
Infuse the vinegar for 4 weeks. Shake the jars and replace the parchment paper once each week. When it’s time, line a colander with cheesecloth, and strain your homemade fire cider into a large bowl. Let drain for 30 minutes and then gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
Now is the time to sweeten your fire cider. There’s no “right” amount, just start with a little raw local honey, taste, and continue adding until you’re satisfied with the flavor.
Decant the homemade fire cider into sterilized glass jars or bottles. When you use beautiful bottles and labels, this can be a wonderful holiday or hostess gift, too!
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