Have you heard of fire cider? This is another thing I like to keep on hand much like my ginger brew I've shared before. Both are tasty and I enjoy them just for that. But they also both seem to have benefits for your health and immune system so I like having them on hand for any time I feel like my body might be fighting some kind of bug. With this one though, you need some patience as it takes four to eight weeks for the flavors to marinate. So the best time to make it was two months ago. 😉 But if you didn't do that, the next best time to make a batch is
When I made my most recent batch, I made a full gallon, but you can certainly do just a quart if you like. I used:
Fresh Turmeric Root
Fresh Horseradish Root
Fresh Ginger Root
And of course Apple Cider Vinegar.
If you are missing or can't find one of these things, no worries. You're still going to have a flavorful and beneficial vinegar infusion, so go for it! Also, if there are Asian markets in your area, they are often great sources of many of these roots if your grocery stores don't stock them.
After slicing or chopping each item, I layered them into the jar. That just looks prettier, they can all be mixed up too. Or you could grate or shred all the ingredients instead. Beware, most of these ingredients are strong! If you are sensitive to the oils in hot peppers like me, you might want to use gloves when slicing them. And by the time you get through onions, horseradish, and ginger, I bet your sinuses will be wide open!
If you put the heavier roots on the top, they do a pretty good job of holding everything else down under the vinegar surface. I got this almost right this batch, but I should have remembered to add the garlic before the horseradish, ginger, and turmeric as it's lighter. Or, if you have a fermentation weight like this set for quart jars that I use all the time https://amzn.to/2wRGYX5 , then no need to worry about the order as the weight will hold everything down. If I have homegrown or organic ingredients, I wash them well, but keep all the skins on as a lot of nutrients are there.
Once you add all the fruits and roots, fill the jar with vinegar. You do want to use a good real raw apple cider vinegar with the little floties on the bottom of the jar called the "mother." That way you have lots of the beneficial bacteria which seem to assist with extracting the nutrients from the other ingredients, plus benefit your digestion.
Do note that the roots all tend to swell as they soak. So while almost the top 1/4 of the jar was air space before I poured in the vinegar, after about a day, everything swelled to fill the jar. So don't fill it too full with roots and such! Below is what it looks like after about two weeks. Where you can see it looks completely full, and the colors from the various ingredients have started to bleed into each other. If you have a metal lid, note that you might want to line it with something like a coffee filter as vinegar can be quite corrosive.
Like any vinegar, store somewhere dark and cool like the back of a cupboard, but no need to refrigerate. After a month or two, longer making it stronger, strain out the chunks through something like cheesecloth or a flour sack towel (I use these for lots of things because they are so handy! https://amzn.to/2WUiAyK) and give them all a good squeeze to get all the yummy juices out. You can use the chunks in a soup or stir fry too! Or compost, feed to chickens, etc. Then you have a jar of rich spicy vinegar that will keep a long time.
Sweetened with a bit of raw honey, it makes a tasty shot that will open up your sinuses and let you know just why it's called "fire cider". 😃 Just make sure to follow with a drink of water, again like drinking other vinegars, so that acid doesn't linger on your tooth enamel for a long time. Some like a shot every morning for a wake up without the jitters of coffee. I just enjoy it whenever I feel like my body is fighting something and my immune system is in need of a boost. It's also wonderful instead of other vinegars in salad dressings, mixed into tea or lemonade, or with a little sparkling water over ice with or without honey, making a lovely drink.
Have you ever tried Fire Cider? Or made your own? What's your favorite way to enjoy it?