Fire Cider Recipes

It's A Medicinal Tonic. It's A Cocktail Mixer. It's Both…and More!

We Made A Pallet Garden

Last weekend Dana and I spent just 45 minutes – plus gathering materials- to build this sweet little pallet garden!  We have a lot of pallets at our warehouse in Pittsfield, so, if you like this idea and want to make your own, please email me: Amy@FireCider.com and we’ll hook you up with as many pallets as you’d like.  Someone mentioned to me they were concerned about the pallet wood being treated with chemicals.  That is a worry for international shipping pallets, as those are treated, but the ones we get are used for shipping only in the U.S. and are made from the cheapest (it costs money to chemically treat wood!) scrap wood available.  We picked a pallet that was sturdy and unpainted, made of plain, raw wood.  I can’t wait to pick lettuce in a few weeks!

Dana filling the pallet garden with organic dirt, yum!

Dana filling the pallet garden with organic dirt, yum!

First, gather your materials:

one pallet

weed cloth

thin board to cover the back of your pallet

powerful staple gun, tacker or some small nails and a hammer

enough organic dirt to fill the pallet, about 5-6 bags should do

seeds!  choose smaller foods with little roots like lettuce, herbs, flowers, nothing too big, like corn or too deep like root veggies.

How To:

Use the top of the pallet, with the most boards/small spaces for the front.  Tack weed cloth all around the back, bottom and sides, this will help keep the dirt inside the pallet. Leave the top open so you can grow taller plants/flowers in that space.

Using a tacker to cover the back, bottom and sides with weed cloth.

Using a tacker to cover the back, bottom and sides with weed cloth.

Now tack a thin board over the back of the pallet to keep it stable so the dirt doesn’t fall out.

So, can you tell Dana was taking these photos!  We used a thin board leftover from packing material to cover the back of our pallet.

So, can you tell Dana was taking these photos?! We used a thin board leftover from packing material to cover the back of our pallet.

Lean your pallet against a fence or building at an angle and fill it with organic dirt.  Pack it in well so that it’s filled up and won’t wash out when it rains.

About 5 bags of dirt should do.

About 5 bags of dirt should do.

Now plant each row, in the spaces between the front slats.

Planting herbs, flowers, lettuces and more!

Planting herbs, flowers, lettuces and more!

Water regularly and enjoy your little garden!  I’ll be sure to post updated photos of our pallet garden on our Facebook page once things get growing.  Here’s how it looked five days after we planted the seeds:

Radishes are taking off with herbs, lettuce and flowers not far behind.

Radishes are taking off with herbs, lettuce and flowers not far behind.

 

 

Cool Drinks for Hot Summer Days

Drinking vinegar for its myriad health benefits goes back to ancient Greece, no wait, even further, to 5000 BCE when Babylonians were using date palms to make vinegar.  Warriors throughout history have used vinegar mixed with water for strength and energy. Vinegar drinks and vinegar tonics infused with herbs, roots, flowers, you name it, have been around for many centuries.  In New England farmers have been making a drink called ‘switchel’ to keep them hydrated and ward off heat stroke during the long, hot summer days:

“They drank a quenching beverage that functioned much like modern Gatorade: switchel, also called switzel or haymaker’s punch. It contained water, a sweetener—either molasses, maple syrup, honey or brown sugar—ginger, and cider vinegar. All the ingredients (except water) happen to be sources of potassium—an electrolyte. Molasses is especially high in potassium.” Read the rest of this article HERE!

Apple Cider Vinegar is an incredibly medicinal food since it contains several different beneficial acids plus beta-carotene, amino acid, bone building minerals, enzymes, magnesium, potassium, pectin and tannins.  No wonder humans have been using this super food since we figured out how to preserve apples in the form of vinegar!

Here are my three favorite vinegar drinks, aka, switchels, to help keep you cool and healthy this summer:

Dana’s Pomegranate Switchel

Ingredients to make one cup of Switchel concentrate:

  • ¼ cup of Fire Cider
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh ginger juice
  • 3 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey

Shake well to combine all ingredients.

Serve about 2-4 ounces of concentrate over ice, top with soda water to make a pint.

Store leftover Switchel mix in the refrigerator.

Citrus Switchel

Makes 2 servings-

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or Fire Cider
  • juice from 1/2 a grapefruit
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons, or more to taste, raw, local wildflower honey
  • Soda water or plain water
  • 2 lime wedges

Combine the first 3 ingredients and makes sure to dissolve al the honey.  Fill two pint glasses with ice and split the switchel mix between the glasses.  Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge.

Dr. Earl Mindell’s Switchel- from his book ‘Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar‘ which is also where I got some of the information for this blog post.  Makes 2 servings-

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or Fire Cider

1 1/2 tablespoons black strap molasses

2 cups warmed water (to melt the molasses)

Combine and pour over ice.

Fire Cider Photo and Video Contest

Show us your best Fire Cider face!   Or your Fire Cider tattoo (no, seriously, we heard this was a real thing!), your friends trying Fire Cider for the first time, the funniest, weirdest, coolest way you use Fire Cider.  Get creative and you could win one of four $25 gift certificates to your favorite Fire Cider retail shop.  Sound like fun?  Here’s how to enter the contest:

Send us one photo OR one 60 second or shorter video along with your favorite place to buy Fire Cider.  We’ll let our Facebook fans pick two photo winners and two video winners and each will receive a $25 gift certificate to the shop of your choice.

Amy and Dana say: Beware The Underdose!

Amy and Dana say: Beware The Underdose!

Email your photo or video with the subject line “Fire Cider Contest” to Amy@FireCider.com by Monday July 14th at midnight est.  We will post your photos and videos on our Facebook and Twitter during and after the contest.  Brian, Dana, Sheri and Amy will narrow down the entries to our top favorite picks and let people vote on our Facebook page starting on Tuesday July 15th.

Our daily doses, down the hatch!

Our daily doses, down the hatch!

Like us on Facebook if you haven’t already!  The four winners will be emailed directly with how to redeem their gift certificates.  You can send in as many submissions as you like, one per email please.  Here’s Amy and Dana’s Fire Cider faces, show us yours!!

Hurts so good!

Hurts so good!

Curry Fire Cider Marinade

This past Father’s Day weekend I did what all good children do: grilled with my dad!  It was really fun, especially since I was trying out a new marinade that Chef and Butcher James Burden recommended to me.   I went to Berkshire Organics in Dalton to stock up on everything we needed for dinner.  I picked up fresh, organic veggies: eggplant really soaks up marinade so it’s great for grilling, plus onions, zucchini and some red and orange bell peppers.

Red Apple Butchers, at Berkshire Organics, had 30 day, dry aged steaks, so I had to try a few of those.  And I also bought about 2 and 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs with the skin on.  Here’s the marinade recipe plus a bonus curry mix from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything, which is as useful as it sounds.   Last week I wrote to Mr. Bittman about Fire Cider and his assistant wrote me back saying she had tried it the last time she was in the Berkshires and would be happy to share a sample bottle with her boss.  How cool is that?!

Marinade for 2-3 pounds of Chicken 

Yes, of course you can use this marinade on tofu, fish or veggies.  For fish and veggies, about 20 minutes in the marinade will do.  For meat, like the chicken, make the marinade the day before and let the meat marinate overnight.  I made double this recipe, one half for the chicken and one half for the veggies.

Ingredients:

a generous 1/4 cup Fire Cider

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons salt

1 big tablespoon fragrant curry powder blend (see photo below for the recipe! Yes, you can use store bought as well.)

a pinch of asafoetida

a pinch of chipolte pepper

1 teaspoon garam masala

 

Method:

First, make up the fragrant curry powder blend, this will make enough for this recipe plus plenty left over for all your curry spice needs, it’s awesome on pop corn!

Mark Bittman's curry blend.

Mark Bittman’s curry blend.

Get the spices together and toast the spices in a dry skillet.

Whole spices ready to toast!

Whole spices ready to toast!

Mmm, toasty and very fragrent!

Mmm, toasty and very fragrant!

Use a small spice grinder to turn toasted spices into powder and then add

Use a small spice grinder to turn toasted spices into powder and then add powdered ginger and turmeric.  Homemade curry powder!

Once you’ve made the curry blend,  combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

Yes, that's a gallon of Fire Cider. Beware the underdose!

Yes, that’s a gallon of Fire Cider. Beware the underdose!

Pour all the marinade over the chicken and marinate over night in a sealed bag or sealed container.

The next day, when you are ready to cook, remove the chicken, discard any leftover marinade and grill the chicken til it’s done!

For veggies: chop bite sized pieces of onion, bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant, make up more marinade and marinate for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat each piece.  Slide onto skewers and grill with the chicken.

Grill ready chicken, veggies and steak.

Grill ready chicken, veggies and steak.

The 30 day dry aged steaks were perfect as is so I let them sit out at room temp for about an hour, lightly salted them and then grilled them for a few minutes on each side for perfectly rare, melt in your mouth awesomeness.

Happy grilling, all summer long!

Happy grilling, all summer long!

Team Fire Cider 5k Run July 4th

Team Fire Cider is looking for 20 or more friends to join us for the annual Pittsfield MA, Independence Day 5 K race!

We are giving out Fire Cider T-shirts to wear for the race and keep forever for the first 20 team members to show up for the race.

Prizes will be awarded for first place, last place and best costume; think red, think fire, or just dress up like a pirate!  I have a feeling the prizes will be Fire Cider.

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We will meet at 9 am at Wahconah Park to hand out shirts, trash talk, stretch like we mean it and take a vote for best costume.

Pittsfield Independence 5K Road Race, Wahconah Park , Pittsfield, MA, 9:30 am start time, Before Pittsfield Parade

Here’s a link to all the official details of the race: http://www.plattsys.com/waspeview.asp?eventid=1154

Send in your application for the race and run with Team Fire Cider!  Find the event here on Facebook and we’ll see you on the 4th of July.

A loud and clear message on the back!

A loud and clear message on the back!

No Matter The Dis-Ease, Food as Medcine

I wanted to share this story since it’s something that I wasn’t aware of until recently: cancer caused by asbestos exposure and because Heather Von St. James relied on her healthy diet during her treatment and recovery process.  No matter what the disease or imbalance, part of the answer is always food as medicine!  Here’s Heather’s story, I’m happy to help her spread awareness about safely avoiding asbestos exposure:

“During my cancer treatment and beyond I have maintained a balanced healthy diet. Eating nutrient rich greens and lean protein I was able to maintain my weight and energy to fight off infection and recover more quickly. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to remove my lung all affected my ability to eat as I normally did before I was diagnosed, but I could not let the side effects take control over my life. Foods do have healing powers, and adding more fibrous options, fish, and green tea to my diet I believe helped my healing process. I do advise to consult a doctor before making serious changes to any diet to determine if such changes are beneficial for them.

Heather Von St. James

Heather Von St. James

 

n 2005, at the age of 36, and only three months after giving birth to a beautiful daughter Lily Rose, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. She was exposed to asbestos from her father’s work coat that was routinely covered in the harmful fibers. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, she made it her life’s mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. She carries out her mission to be a beacon of hope for those afflicted with mesothelioma by sharing her story of faith, love and courage as a keynote speaker at conferences, through social media forums, and blogging for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

 

Education is very much the first step in dealing with asbestos issues. Asbestos is not dangerous when it is in tact, but only when it becomes friable, or the fibers are loose, and airborne is when it becomes dangerous. As with lead, the same applies. Encapsulate it, or have it removed by a licensed and bonded abatement company. Do not attempt removal of asbestos on your own. It is dangerous.

 

The symptoms of asbestos exposure have a long latency period and can take years to show up. It can be 30 years before any health problems arise, so it is important to know what you are dealing with. Knowing where asbestos could be in your home is key. A few examples: attic insulation, called vermiculite (it looks like gravel) also spray insulation around boilers and such, tape, drywall, floor tile and adhesive, roofing, siding. Educate yourself before your renovate. Household exposure is a growing danger with people doing their own renovations and unknowingly tearing into asbestos containing walls, etc. One can never be too careful!

 

If you’d like to check out more information about Heather feel free to check out her blog!

New Equipment, Thanks to The CDC!

Have I mentioned lately how amazing it is to be working in partnership with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation- say that 5 times, fast!   They offer guidance to anyone interested in starting a business and they have provided us with a space to produce Fire Cider and continue to grow our small business.  The CDC is currently under construction to expand their cold and dry storage as well as their commercial kitchen.   We are stoked to have more space to make more batches of Fire Cider.

Last year the CDC’s loan program, headed by Alan Singer, made it possible for us to upgrade all of our equipment to food grade stainless steel.   We were super happy to say goodbye to all of our plastic barrels.  We found them homes as rain barrels!

Stainless steel steeping tank, stainless steep pump parts, only the best for your Fire Cider!

Stainless steel steeping tank, stainless steep pump parts, only the best for your Fire Cider!

Less than a year later, we approached Alan with another loan request, this time for two pieces of kitchen equipment that would save us many long hours in the kitchen, taking a lot of stress and physical labor out of making Fire Cider.  The result?  An awesome scrubbing tunnel that has turned a 10-12 person hour job into a 30 minute exercise.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It used to take 2 people working non stop scrubbing organic horseradish for hours on end just to prep that one ingredient for 2-3 batches of Fire Cider.  Now, we can achive even better results in just 30 minutes, and that includs set up, clean up and break down!   Here’s a fun video of Dana and Brian trying out the scrubbing tunnel for the first time.  It’s a bit loud, so turn the volume down!

Here are the before and after photos, can you tell we are super impressed with our investment?!

Organic horseradish, covered in not so delicious organic dirt!

Organic horseradish, covered in not so delicious organic dirt!

So fresh and so clean and ready to be turned into Fire Cider.

So fresh and so clean and ready to be turned into Fire Cider.

With our second loan we were also able to purchase a chopper for the lemons and oranges.  Processing hundreds of pounds of citrus by hand is just asking for carpal tunnel, not to mention an injury waiting to happen.  This chopper, with it’s graphic warnings, is definitely scarier than the chef’s knives we’ve been using, and will save our hands and arms, as long as we keep them away from the blades!

All thumbs ups, not to worry, we have cut resistant gloves to protect our hands while cleaning the machine.

All thumbs ups, not to worry, we have cut resistant gloves to protect our hands while cleaning the machine.

And here’s our new chopper in action, making batches Fire Cider just got a lot easier, which means that the three of us can safely continue making you Fire Cider for many years to come.   Yup, this video is loud too, what can I say, I’m working on my videographer skills!

We are super thankful to the CDC and their staff for supporting the growth of our small business, we truly couldn’t do this without them!  If you are thinking about starting a business, the CDC has you covered from the very beginning.

A Perfect Meal: Bo Ssam

Originally posted on The Candida Diaries:

Bo Ssam is a traditional Korean meal of slow cooked pork shoulder that you eat in lettuce cups topped with ginger scallion sauce and ssam sauce made from oil, vinegar and fermented black beans.   Since this meal is made by slow roasting meat on the bone it is one of the best ways to get the most nutrition from cooked meat.  The ginger scallion sauce compliments the savory, fatty meat and is also a digestive aid and immune booster.  The ssam sauce is made from fermented beans, which means they are easy to digest and full of microbes for your internal rain forest.  The lettuce cups provide some green and make this meal more like a salad you eat with your hands.  To top it all off this is meal is a group dinning experience Bo Ssam is food for your mind, body and soul, in other words, a…

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Fire Cider, Co-op Grocery Stores and the Dr. Oz Show!

Last Friday I had the opportunity to share my favorite home remedy, Fire Cider, with Dr. Oz, two of the sharks from the show ‘Shark Tank’ as well as the Oz studio audience!   Fire Cider isn’t just the best home remedy I know of, it’s also a great big gateway to using food as medicine.  Why?  I think a big part of what makes Fire Cider so awesome is that it’s accessible: all the ingredients can be found in any grocery store, they are all easily recognizable by most people and they combine to make one powerful tonic with immediate results!  Good foods combine to make better, more medicinally potent foods.  And maybe you’ll start with Fire Cider and branch out into other plant-based remedies, start using more organic, whole foods in your diet or discover the power of co-cooperatively owned and operated grocery stores.  True story: a customer told me she started shopping at her local co-op because they were the only store around that carries Fire Cider.  Now she shops there all the time.  And that’s exactly what I mean when I say Fire Cider can be a catalyst for change.

A big part of what inspires Brian, Dana and I is how Fire Cider works on a personal, local and national level.  I think it’s pretty to clear to most of us that our food system is broken and totally unsustainable.  And it seems to me that healing our food system and turning it into something that’s health building, good for mother earth and sustainable into the future is up to us as individuals and is the responsibility of all of us who work in the natural foods industry.  Since we started our business of getting Fire Cider to as many people as possible we have been working closely with locally owned retail stores and specifically with NCGA Co-Ops aka community owned grocery stores.  When you shop at a co-op your money stays in your local community, it supports the store so that it can offer low prices for high quality food that directly meets the needs of the community the store serves.  Your food dollars go towards supporting local agriculture, high quality foods and well-paying jobs for your friends and neighbors.

When you shop at a conventional chain grocery store, most of the money you spend goes to the corporate headquarters.   The majority of these chain grocers offer conventional food and ‘food products’ most of which contains one or all of the following: herbicides, pesticides, hormone disruptors, genetically modified organisms, refined sugars and carbohydrates.  No one would choose to put that kind of poison into their body and a co-op grocery offers a whole community the power to choose.  Owned and operated on a local level,  a co-op grocery store puts food choices directly into the hands of its community.   We are proud of the mutually supportive relationships we have formed over the past 3 years with retail shops and co-ops all over the country.  By working together we can all help each other succeed.  Everything is connected: what you buy and where you shop are powerful ways to make your voice heard! When you look at things in this way, Fire Cider is so much more than a product we sell, it’s a ripple effect that can positively effect our local community, our amazing customers and business owners across the county who are committed to making important changes in our food system.

I love handing out samples of Fire Cider, we’ve handed out over a quarter of a million samples in the past 3 years, and it’s amazing to watch the paradigm shift that happens when someone tries Fire Cider for the first time.  These simple, everyday foods, have a potent and immediate positive effect, food becomes medicine for the first time and a whole new door of possibility opens!  It happened for me years ago and I’m so happy to be able to share my passion with anyone and everyone willing to give Fire Cider a try.  And that’s the long version of why I jumped at the chance to go on national television and tell all of Dr. Oz’s viewers why Fire Cider is my go-to, all time favorite remedy.  Fire Cider has a long history, stretching back as far as ancient Greece and we are proud to be bringing our version of this old-time combination of cider vinegar and honey to folks who have never heard of it or even thought of their food as their best health care.  Brian, Dana and I are committed to spreading the word about food as medicine and contributing all that we can to making our food system healthy and wholesome for all.  Here’s a short clip from the show, the link to the full show is below!

Watch the full clip here on the Dr. Oz website!

 

Non Dairy Milk Alternatives

Originally posted on The Candida Diaries:

Don’t get me wrong, I love cow’s milk in its many forms: cheese, creme fraiche, Ayelada!  And I’d say that when you consume cultured whole milk dairy, from cows, goats or sheep, that have been raised humanly on an organic diet optimal for each breed, dairy counts as health food, in proper amounts, of course!  Unfortunately, like many of us, I don’t have the necessary enzymes to digest lactose, or milk sugars, present in raw dairy.  I’m ok with cultured cream or cheese but plain milk, no way!

Raw cow's milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA

Raw cow’s milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA

So, what should you drink in place of dairy milk?  I used almond milk for a long time since I’m allergic to soy due to years of eating highly processed vegetarian soy products, consider yourself warned, those are not health foods!  Almond milk comes in conventional and organic varieties…

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