Tag Archives: Apple cider vinegar

Fiery Jun Vinegar (A Variation on Fire Cider)

2 Jan

In the last year or so, I’ve noticed this stuff called Fire Cider on the shelves of crunchy stores in my neighborhood.  It’s apple cider vinegar infused with a bunch of spicy things.  It always looks appealing until I look at the price tag, and an 8 oz bottle is easily over 10 dollars.  Then I look at the ingredients and say, “Self, you could make that really easily.”  Months went by and I didn’t get around to it.   But, now it’s a New Year!  After a several-month hiatus from my blogging (not my fermenting, mind you),   I am making a comeback with my own version of fire cider.

P.S.,  Since I first wrote this entry,  I have noticed some prominent herbalists voicing concern over the company that distributes fire cider.  Although Shire City Herbals have popularized it by reaching a wide distribution, they certainly did not invent it.  However,  they have trademarked the name: one which I believe the herbalist Rosemary Gladstar originally coined.  One of my readers recently posted a comment to remind me of the lack of integrity that this company has displayed.  You can read more about the problem in this article she offered me.   So, may I suggest that you don’t support Shire City Herbals with your purse, but instead contribute to the age-old tradition of making your own!

8oz Fire Cider

This is the stuff popping up on my health food store shelves lately.

The choice to compile it was quite spontaneous: I’ve been growing a number of Jun mothers for folks who are interested in buying them.  In the winter, my kitchen runs on the cold side.  My Jun brew ferments, but the mothers grow slowly.  I stuck my fermenting jars on top of a seedling mat to encourage growth, but it has only helped so much.  My most recent SCOBYs have been growing for a month. I have some nice ones now, but alas, my jun has gone to vinegar.  What to do with all that vinegar?

Eureka!  Fire Jun Vinegar!  I made my first batch today.  I originally looked up the ingredients that the fire cider people use, via their website, www.firecider.com, and then I found another recipe on one of my favorite herbal sites, mountainroseherbs.com.  Mountain Rose herbs is primarily a vendor, but they also have a blog with recipes.  Between the two references, I compiled my own plan, and I threw together some ingredients that I had on hand.  Here’s what I came up with.  If you check out their pages, you’ll notice that both of the other recipes incorporate horseradish.  I may try this in the future, but that’s not an ingredient I keep around my kitchen, so it’s not in there for this round.  Use your own creativity and see what’s in your pantry to make your own.

Fiery Jun Vinegar

In a quart jar, combine:

1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 cup of grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup of grated fresh turmeric

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 chilis de arbol (I have these really hot dried chills from the company Rancho Gordo)

2 Tbsp of lemon juice (Fresh with the rind would be great, but what I had on hand was some frozen cubes of lemon juice from a few months ago when I had a bunch of lemons I couldn’t eat fast enough)

1 Tbsp black peppercorns

Pour your month long-fermented Jun that has turned to vinegar and is way too sour to be palatable as a beverage by itself over the rest of the ingredients.  

Shake.

Wait 4-6 weeks for the jun vinegar to be infused with the spices.  You may want to shake the jar occasionally, and you may want to burp the jar in case your jun wasn’t fully fermented into vinegar yet and starts to build up pressure.  Use a plastic lid if you have one, or put some parchment or wax paper between the jar and your metal lid, as jun likes to corrode metal.

Strain out the spices through a cheesecloth into a new, clean vessel, squeezing the extra goodness out of the spices at the end.  

Mix honey into the brew to suit your taste.  

Your fiery jun vinegar can be consumed by the spoonful– all the spices in it are sure to make a great immune tonic.  You can also use it as a vinegary addition to salad dressings, or to spice up a fresh juice or an herbal tea.  If you try it out, let me know how you decide to use it!

Here’s my ingredients all stacked up nicely like a parfait before I shook it up:

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The Spit of Old Scratch: XXX Fermented Hot Sauce

5 Apr
Devil

Old Scratch Himself. (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

One of my classic family stories involves hot sauce.   Years ago, my Uncle Al told my innocent, unsuspecting, 7-year-old sister to try some “delicious” salsa.  What he didn’t tell her was that the salsa had warning labels on it because it was so spicy.  My sis took a big slosh of the stuff onto her chip and ate it down, and then her entire body turned bright red.  She ended up garbling milk, the white liquid dribbling off her tongue and onto the floor because it was so hot.  My uncle had himself a laugh over it, whereas my sister and I lost a bit of respect for him that day.  In the last year or two, I heard my uncle recount the story, and he blamed his own daughter for feeding my sister the sauce.  So, I think he has a guilty conscience over the incident, too.  The following sauce could have a similar effect if put into the wrong hands.  I advise you to eat it and offer it with care.

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The ingredients

5 habañero peppers

1 poblano pepper

5 cloves of garlic

1.5 teaspoons mustard seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon sea salt

You want to wear gloves to protect the skin of your hands while you remove the stems and seeds, and finely dice your peppers, and certainly make sure not to wipe your eyes when handling them, or you will be in pain! Dice the garlic, and mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Let the peppers sit in the salt for a few hours to extract their juices.

Add 1 t apple cider vinegar.

Place the peppers and their brine into a glass jar- mind didn’t produce a ton of their own. Add water so that the peppers are immersed, and cover your jar. Let this sit at room temperature for a month. Skim off any mold that forms on the top.

Place your fermented pepper mixture in a food processor, with brine, and macerate until they are a liquidy pulp, place your sauce in a bottle and refrigerate until you are ready to consume. It won’t look like very much sauce– but a little really goes a long way!

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Finished product– appropriately placed between the kimchi and the yogurt in my fridge.

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