Let me begin by reminding you that I am not a health care professional (nor am I into pretending to be one). So I won’t suggest I know how to protect you from everything that might infect you this autumn. I’m no master of my own life path, either. I have plenty of days where I’m so busy just getting by I fail to facilitate my own thriving. (I had lettuce for breakfast the other day, y’all. LETTUCE. Why?) No, friends, the flailing 46-year old woman dressed liked a seven-year old with tight pigtails and footie pajamas at 2 PM on a Thursday–that’s more likely to be me.
The thing is, running around in footie pajamas can also be a part of a wellness plan. (Less so lettuce for breakfast, no excuse, but I digress…)
Autumn is the time where we turn our thoughts inward. Our energies may shift from being active in the world to being more contemplative closer to home.
IN OTHER WORDS, RIGHT NOW is the perfect time for YOUR MOST PERSONAL wellness strategies to be remembered and RE-EMPLOYED.
At the autumn equinox, I am already looking forward to afternoons in my workshop in pajamas. (Don’t judge me.) By the time the woods in my neighborhood have shaken off the last colors of their autumn cloak, I am actively preparing some of the things that help keep me balanced, grounded, and nourished into fall and through winter. First on my list? Traditional Fire Cider!
all hail, FIRE CIDER!
If you have your ear to the herbal ground, you have no doubt heard of Fire Cider. Fire Cider is a traditional herbal remedy crafted from hot, spicy ingredients steeped in apple cider vinegar. Lovingly named and generously shared with the community by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, fire cider is considered a cherished cold and flu remedy. It’s also a damn handy delicious vinegar to have about. So while I’m still neither burly nor disciplined enough to swallow a spoonful of fire cider every morning, I am well-heeled in taking fire cider mixed with herb honey and I am a pro at making a HEAP of everyday recipes that incorporate it.
If you have apple cider vinegar and some hot/spicy herbs and vegetables, you are one quart jar away from getting started.
Fire Cider is incredibly easy to make and can easily reflect both your personal preferences and what you happen to have on hand. Typically, fire cider is apple cider vinegar steeped with shredded ginger and horseradish, minced hot peppers (think jalapeños and habañeros), raw onions, and garlic, and lemon zest and juice. Other fresh or dried herbs and roots are also welcome: turmeric, rosemary, and fennel regularly appear in mine. You can add, subtract, shift, and shape according to your preferences from there….
Traditional Fire Cider
A delicious take on spicy, nourishing fire cider.
- 1 cup total of HOT stuff (fresh grated organic ginger and/or horseradish root, chopped organic hot peppers such as jalapeños, habañeros, etc)
- 1 medium organic onion, minced
- 10-15 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
- Zest plus juice from 1 organic lemon
- 1 T organic turmeric powder or 1-inch piece fresh turmeric root, grated
- Organic apple cider vinegar to fill your jar
- Step 1 Organize your work space with ingredients, knives, tools, cutting board, and a large, clean quart jar with a good seal.
- Step 2 Chop, mince, shred, juice, and zest relevant ingredients being careful to avoid burns with hotter items like peppers. (I highly recommend wearing gloves!)
- Step 3 Add all ingredients to your clean quart jar.
- Step 4 Add organic apple cider vinegar to fill. If your lid is metal, add a wax or parchment paper liner to avoid the vinegar reacting with the metal. Cover tightly and shake well.
- Step 5 Set aside to steep in a cool, dark place for a month shaking daily to agitate.
- Step 6 At month’s end, strain your fire cider through cheesecloth. Use spent solids as pickles in a stir-fry, dehydrate and pulverize to use as a rub, or discard in compost.
- Step 7 Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Hey… Freaked out about, you know, straight up drinking crazy hot and spicy apple cider vinegar? Come back tomorrow when I share recipes using fire cider!
A few last words: you may be aware of the controversy surrounding one company’s attempt at enforcing a trademark of fire cider’s common name. If you’re so inclined, I encourage you explore the Tradition, Not Trademark campaign, show your support for the Fire Cider Three, and help protect our shared herbal traditions.