Go Ahead & Holler
JOE BENEVENTO | 541-876-7020
JOE BENEVENTO | 541-876-7020
Fall is here, and as the weather changes and temperatures drop, cooties step-up their campaign to conquer your immune system. Don’t worry though, you do not have to be a victim to an illness. Fight back with fire cider!
Revered as a folk remedy for a freaking long time, fire cider is a powerful concoction, which combines raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, chili peppers, and other seasonal ingredients together. While each of the ingredients possesses powerful medicinal benefits individually, together they are an unstoppable force, ready to take on any pathogen coming its way.
As a chef, I have offered house-made fire cider at a number of places I have worked. Over the course of several years, I have experienced and witnessed the benefits of regular fire cider consumption. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that this is one of the most effective wellness tonics ever. The use of vinegar and honey for medicinal benefits has been practiced for over 2000 years. If didn’t work, we wouldn’t continue to talk about it.
The batch of fire cider used for this post is inspired. A loved one recently told me about the struggles she’s been having with her immune system. She has battled through a series of painful infections and other ills, as her doctors have prescribed endless cycles of antibiotics and other medication. All of this has left her with an extremely weakened immune system and not much gut flora remaining. She’s been feeling pretty down, and that the doctors seemed to be just “guessing” about what to do at this point. There didn’t seem to be many options and she was praying for some relief.
I decided that the time had come to create the most powerful fire cider ever. The stakes are high, and her immunity is low, so why not put “all the good stuff” in there? Before you caution me about going overboard, let me remind you that I am a professional. No one is going to get hurt here, and we may even learn something.
Fire cider is a folk remedy and subject to the availability of its ingredients. As such, there are a variety of recipes out there, but all have a similar formula. The base is raw apple cider vinegar, made with a ‘mother’. Using the correct type of vinegar is essential. We are developing a probiotic environment, and this base must contain its natural enzymes in order to be most effective.
Along with apple cider vinegar (ACV), traditional fire cider contains onion, garlic, ginger, horseradish, chili peppers, and honey. Citrus fruit and herbs have also been commonly used. Turmeric has reached the mainstream more recently, and become a mainstay in most formulations of fire cider. This is some powerful medicine.
The various batches I have created over the years have followed that same path, more or less. The beautiful thing about fire cider is that if you don’t have access to an ingredient or two, effective medicine still remains. This time I had access to all the usual suspects, and more.
With an ingredient list already at ACV, honey, onion, garlic, ginger, horseradish, turmeric, jalapeno, lemon, rosemary, and thyme, I still had a couple of additions to make. First on the list, black pepper. It’s no secret that black pepper mixed with turmeric makes the turmeric far more bio-available, and thus more effective.
To that list, I also have added cloves, black cumin (nigella), fennel seed, coriander, shallots, leeks, galangal, star anise, and leeks. The only item I really wanted to include, but couldn’t find fresh, was burdock root. It would have made a wonderful addition to the mix.
At this point, I will mention that I could write a novel espousing all the virtues of the previously mentioned ingredients. The truth is, ain’t nobody got time for that, and I am not going to go there. Now. Over time, we will talk about the medicinal qualities of each of those ingredients; but for now, it would just be an overflow of information.
Rather than overwhelming anyone with too many details, let’s instead look at some of the overall benefits you can expect from just one tablespoon of this elixir per day:
1. Immune function support
2. Digestion support from probiotics and the enzymes in all the raw goodies
3. Detoxification support
8. Chemo-protective and anti-cancer
9. Supports brain health
10. Supplies key essential vitamins and minerals
11. Sustained energy and vitality
This list could go on, but haven’t I given you enough reasons to try it for yourself? On that note, when trying fire cider, please note that it is strong medicine and tastes as such. Some people love the taste and some love the effects and deal with the taste. Either way, it is worth trying and giving it the chance to improve the quality of your life. A tablespoon a day is all it takes to reap the benefits.
Of course, you can mix it with water or other liquids and you can certainly have more than a tablespoon a day. Try some tossed in your salad, instead of regular vinegar. Make a shrub using it as the base. The possibilities are as endless as the benefits. I should also mention that if you don’t have all of these ingredients, work with what you have. It’s all good.
1 qt. Raw apple cider vinegar
1/3 c Raw honey
1-2 c Onion, chopped
½ c Leeks, chopped
1 c Shallots, chopped
½ c Garlic, chopped
½ c Ginger, chopped
1/3 c Galangal, chopped
1 c Horseradish, peeled and chopped
½ c Turmeric, chopped
2 Jalapeno, split in half
2 Lemons, cut in half and sliced
3-4 Rosemary springs, or 1 tbl dried
1 tbl Black peppercorns, cracked
1 tbl Fennel seeds, cracked
5-6 Thyme sprigs, or 1 tbl dried
1 tbl Coriander seeds, cracked
2 tsp Black cumin seeds (nigella), cracked
1 tsp Cloves, cracked
2-3 Star anise, cracked
Place all ingredients, except honey, in a clean 2-quart jar with a lid. Make sure everything is completely submerged in the vinegar. Use a wooden spoon to push down anything above the surface. Cap the jar; and if using a metal lid, place wax or parchment paper between top of jar and lid. This will help prevent corrosion from the vinegar.
Store jar in a cool, dark place. Shake it up daily, or something like that, and let all that goodness hang out together for 4-6 weeks. Strain out all the solids, and stir the honey into super vinegar mix. You can save the solids and use them in your cooking, if you’d like. The fire cider will keep in the refrigerator for about a year. But, with regular consumption, it won’t last anywhere near that long.