You may have noticed fire cider appear at the local health food shops every autumn & winter. Yet instead of purchasing a store bought version, I urge you to make your own as it is simple and you have more control over making it to your tastes. I have been making fire cider for years now, every Autumn to boost my immune system before the cold of winter comes; though admittingly this year I have left it rather late. So today, on the eve of the autumn equinox, I gathered all the ingredients (minus horseradish as I could not find it locally) and made a quick batch.
In recent years there has been quite the fire cider controversy. A Massachusetts company called Shire City Herbals trademarked the name ‘Fire Cider’ and started sueing herbalists who used the name, despite the fact it was simply the name of the herbal remedy that people have been making since the 1970s. Fortunately this did not go unopposed, people banded together against the company, there were petitions, calls to boycott the product, stores refused to sell it and finally it went to court. It is more than just making fire cider, its about companies trying to limit tradition and sharing of knowledge of herbal remedies. Thankfully there was a court ruling in late 2019 determining the term ‘fire cider’ is generic and can not be trademarked, which is important as its a precedent-setting case which will help support herbalists if another corporation tries to trademark a generic herbal term.
The way I make it is based on Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe who came up with fire cider in the 1970s (yes the same brilliant herbalist who’s recipe I shared with on my calendula salve post). However, I add a few more ingredients as I figure the more immune boosting power the better and rather than measuring everything precisely I throw it all in and keep cutting more till I fill up the jar. Feel free to change it to your tastes. As long as there is apple cider vinegar, garlic, honey and cayenne pepper – the rest is up to you.
Apple cider vinegar 5-10 cloves of garlic (depending on size, the more the better I say) 3cm section of ginger root (can chop or grate) 3cm section of horseradish (can chop or grate) 1 brown onion chopped roughly 2 sprigs of rosemary 1 lemon cut into quarters 1 orange cut into quarters 1 green chilli sliced 1 tablespoon turmeric 1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepper honey to taste
Put all the ingredients, minus the honey, in a jar.
Cover with apple cider vinegar by about two inches.
Use a piece of natural parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal.
Store in a dark, cool place for one month and shake daily.
After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the pulp while straining.
Add 2 tablespoons honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add more until you reach desired sweetness.
Fire cider should taste hot, sweet and spicy. I take a tablespoon of it in the evening, but I know some people even use it as salad dressing, on rice, or with steamed vegetables. Yes it may give you a bit of garlic breath, but I’ll take that trade for a winter with less cold & flu.
Hope you enjoy making your own too and that it becomes one of your autumn traditions!
We have had a slight reprieve from the heat wave, so with a milder 32 celsius forecast we decided to head towards Yarrawonga to do some op-shopping and visit the olive farm gate we had heard so much about. We picked up some interesting books at the op shop before heading out towards to Glen Rich Olive Estate. We were not sure really what to expect as it was very dry out that way but between the golden paddocks there it was, a little oasis of green and charm.
We headed for the cool inside, not sure really what to expect and were delighted to find olive oil & dressings tastings, beauty products made from their olives and lots of delicious produce.
We bought a kitchen cleaner spray, aromatherapy room spray, a rose hand serum for me and a wardrobe & drawer freshener that smelt divine.
Then we decided to head back outside to explore the gardens and found a lovely little vegetable and herb patch that gave us garden envy and the little sunflowers truly made it feel like summer.
Lastly we headed back into town, decided to treat ourselves to a milkshake at the Naked Tree Cafe though little did we know we ordered the king of all shakes ! I think we will be on a sugar high for the rest of the day but it was very much worth it.
Overall a lovely day and we hope you are making the most of this summer weather as well! x
Some Saturday’s you want to just relax and keep it low key and not venture far from the homestead, and with spring in gorgeous full bloom – who would want to! So I took the bike out for a test ride around the property to make sure its ready to go for a longer trip we have planned in the coming weeks.We are very eager to explore a bit more of the region by bike with the wonderful Murray to Mountains Rail Trail bike path so close at hand, however, currently its magpie swooping season so we have to wait. The wind was blowing the ornamental pear petals onto the driveway like spring confetti and its times like these I have to pinch myself to believe this is our driveway. Such a difference from the capital cities we both grew up in.
After I had my fun we decided to have a picnic on the lawn under the shady ash tree, sometimes its nice celebrating where you are, there’s privacy and since I have a tendency to nearly always forget something crucial when I pack a picnic – at least I can simply run inside to get another plate or more ice-cubes.
We dug into some of the treats we bought at the spring producers market the other week and really loved the fig salami by Homemade by Annie, filled with figs, kahlua, irish cream & other delicious things which went great along with the Ash Brie, & the pork rillettes and duck pate were as tasty as we remembered. I also made sure to purchase some strawberries, as not only are they the perfect picnic food, with all the producers have been through lately I think its very important to support them as much as we can.
We also finished off some Pagan Cider we had purchased on our recent Tasmanian holiday and enjoyed, rather demolished, the many other picnic goodies. Then we just laid back and talked and brainstormed new ideas for the garden, and all the things we would like to do like install some rainwater tanks and have some solar panels, as trying to make little haven more self sufficient and minimise our resource footprint is important to both of us. Finally when we ran out of food, cider & talked through as much planning as we could in one sitting it was time to clean up and move onto other things around little haven.
Overall it was the perfect lazy afternoon and with beautiful weather, each other for company and delicious food why venture far from home? Hope wherever you are that you’re also taking time to enjoy spring and spending some time outside.
Making the choice to move to the country is a lot about community. In the city, surrounded by all those people it was so easy to feel alone and go days without seeing familiar faces, yet when you move out to a small town you realise that is now a thing of the past. Which let’s be honest can be both a good and a bad thing.
Yet last weekend was an example of it being a very good thing. The Milawa Spring Producers Market was on, and for a small town of 200 hundred or so residents we were not sure what to expect. Delighted we found the community had turned out in force with numerous stalls that were selling a variety of goods from homemade soaps & salts, seedlings, eggs, local organic meats, freshly baked bread from Milawa Bakery & of course the famous Milawa Cheese.
Naturally as soon as we arrived we bumped into family and continued to bump into people we knew. From our neighbour that runs the bakery, and bought seedlings off a a previous colleague that had accomplished great things with her bio dynamic farm. We also were enticed to sample some exquisite duck pate and pork rillettes by the charming french Michel Renox, who asked which one we would like to purchase and naturally the answer was – both!
We also stopped at the Cottonwood Organics Stall where there were tomato seedlings that had been grown from seeds the owners had collected during their trip to France, that I naturally purchased as well as two organic compost bags, with additional calcium & phosphate thrown in. I made a mental note to visit their roadside farm stall soon, which is also a few minutes drive away, for more seedlings.
We spent some time in the sunshine chatting to family, before heading back home our hands both filled with our wonderful locally sourced goods that we knew we would put to great use. We realise how fortunate we are to have a gourmet food region literally on our doorstep and it really was a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. As for the rest of the day? Spent soaking up the sun off course!