Tag Archives: infusion

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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Happy Equinox! A boozy remedy recipe for cold season.

21 Sep
English: Ripening elderberries

English: Ripening elderberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September is almost gone, and I’m not sure where it went!  As we hit the fall equinox, we move into true autumn:  my favorite season.  I can tell by the farmer’s market stands that the harvest is in full swing, and yesterday was cool enough in my kitchen that I could enjoy making french onion soup.

In my yoga classes recently, I’ve noticed people showing up with stuffy noses. Allergies are starting to flare up, and so is cold season. A while ago I posted an old wive’s remedy for colds that I got from my mom: raisins in gin. Stretching farther back into my feminine ancestry: we always knew when my mother’s mother had a cold because she would take some brandy in the evening to treat herself. I don’t recall her drinking besides this, and Baba always got a little silly when she drank her brandy. In honor of Baba, I created an elderberry infused brandy for my own cold prevention. Elderberries are one of the most beloved folk remedies for the common cold. This recipe is basically a tincture that I concocted out of my own mind.  Here’s another blogger’s take on it, using fresh elderberries:  www.loveandwildhoney.com/archives/455.  She uses a higher ratio of elderberries, vodka which is more traditional for tinctures, and she filters them out after a few months.  Mine have been in the bottle all year, and I just strain them out as I pour it.  The brandy is stronger in taste than the elderberries, and it is sure to put a bit of hair on your chest if nothing else!  I only make a cup at a time because I really don’t consume very much of the stuff, but feel free to play with quantities and ratios.

Elderberry infused brandy

Take a cup of brandy and put it into an appropriate sized container. I used Sljivovica, a plum brandy.

Add 2 TBS of dried elderberries to the container. mix.

Let the mixture sit for at least a week. It will turn a deep, satisfying purple.

Consume in small quantities, straining out the berries when you pour.  I usually sip the infusion straight-up from a little sake glass.

If that way of consuming is too harsh for you, you might add a small shot of your infused brandy to hot water with honey, hot-toddy style.  Add some freshly grated ginger to enhance the flavor and the cold-fighting qualities!

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Elderberry brandy before and after infusion: this batch has had the opportunity to infuse all year.

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