Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fire Cider - for chest colds

We've had a nasty lingered chest cold going through town this winter. Even though we've all caught it, we haven't suffered from the severe and long lasting symptoms everyone else has. Here is our secret.

Fire Cider
The short explanation is that I take some fresh rosemary, everything spicy, and everything citrus I can find - and soak it in apple cider vinegar until it would kill just about anything. ;) I always use organic ingredients when making herbal remedies because they often result in a highly concentrated end product. It's irresponsible to risk the side effects a highly concentrated dose of pesticides or other common chemicals. Here's the basic recipe;

1) Start with a 1 qt mason jar.
2) Add 2 sprigs Rosemary

3) Then add "Everything Spicy" you can find. I've listed some suggestions below.
2-4 Cinnamon Sticks
1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
1 Onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh ginger, sliced or grated
1 - 2 tbsp of horseradish
1 each of any spicy peppers I can find. These are often jalapenos and habeneros, but my grocer can sometimes make other suggestions to.

4) Then add the juice and zest from "Everything Citrus" you can find. By that, I mean citrus tree fruits. I like to squeeze the least acidic first and work my way up. I tend to discover hangnails I didn't even know I had when working with very acidic juices, and prefer that happen toward the end of the process. I've listed some suggestions below.
1 Grapefruit
1 Lemon
2 Limes
1 Orange

5) Then fill the jar the rest of the way with Organic, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar WITH THE MOTHER. If you're really having trouble finding this in your area, certainly make due with what you have...but be aware that this ingredient is one of 2 that determine if that nasty chest cold will linger for days or for weeks. The other is the honey you serve it with.

6) Place some cheesecloth or plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar so the metal lid won't touch the acidic mix - or the lid will rust! Seal the jar tight, and store it in a cool, dark place. The longer you store it, the more potent it becomes. If you need it the next day, you need it the next day. Ideally, you should make up a batch before anyone is ill so that it has been sitting for a month before you use it. We're usually lucky if ours has been sitting a couple weeks before we get into it, though, and it still works quite well.

7) Serve diluted with hot water, and 1 - 2 tbsp raw, local honey to taste. Obviously, if you can't find raw local honey, make due. Raw is more important than local, but something is still better than nothing. ;) We usually use about 2 tbsp of Fire Cider and 2 tbsp of honey in a mug of hot water. The longer the fire cider sits, the more potent it becomes. If you've only let it sit for a day, you may need as much as 1/4 cup Fire Cider in the mixture. If it's been sitting 3 months, a single tbsp of the stuff might clear you out in hours. lol

8) After opening, we store our Fire Cider in the fridge. I can't say if that's actually necessary  though, and if you use it within a few weeks it probably wouldn't be a problem to leave it out. I've only ever had it last a few months (if we don't use it ourselves, a friend or neighbor often does), but with the particular mixture of ingredients I imagine it would last at least 6 months, maybe years, before going bad.

Some people prefer to strain their Fire Cider into another container before using. So they have a bottle or jar of clear liquid to work with. We prefer to place fresh cheesecloth over the mouth of the mason jar, and seal it with the metal ring of the lid. Then, we strain the liquid out ever time we use it. This way, the Fire Cider is becoming more potent between uses.