Fire Cider Recipes

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

Archive for the tag “garlic”

Nurse Moon’s Quick Fire Pickles

Pretty pickles made with Fire Cider!

Pretty pickles made with Fire Cider!

This recipe was sent to me by my friend Helen, yes, she’s a nurse and she knows what’s good for us- whole, organic foods!  This quick pickle recipe is an excellent way to preserve all those cucumbers that have taken over your garden.  Raw cucumbers are a cooling summer food.  When combined with some hot pepper, garlic, ginger and vinegar these pickle become a perfect fall condiment or snack.  Enjoy!

Fire Cider Pickles:

  • 2 or 3 cucumbers sliced into thin rounds
  • half an onion sliced into half moons
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a thumbnail of ginger, peeled

For the Brine:

  • Few pinches of kosher salt
  • Crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup Fire Cider
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Boiling the pickles

Boiling the pickles

 

Method:

1. Put the cucumber, onion slices, ginger and garlic into a clean quart canning jar.

2. Add the remaining brine ingredients to a pot an boil on the stove top for 5 minutes.

3. Pour the hot liquid mixture over the  cucumbers and onions in the jar and close lid.  Let it set for 5-10 minutes.
4. Strain the liquid back into the pot and boil another 10 minutes. Pour over the cucumbers and onions in the jar again and set for another 10 minutes with the lid on.
5. Now, bring water to a boil in the pot (enough water to cover the jar at least half way when submerged)  and set the jar, with the lid on and the cucumbers in the brine, in the boiling water.
6. Then turn off heat and let the jar (and hot water) cool.  Once it’s cool, refrigerate and enjoy!

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!

Jafakin’ Jerk Sauce

Recipe by Noel Prophet

Last summer Dana and I went to a pot luck beer and food pairing: everyone brought a dish and a beer that went with it.  Dana made a summer saison that was a bit citrus-y  and it went well with the berries n biscuits I brought for dessert.  However, I thought the best dish was the jerk chicken that Noel and Kristen brought along with some very appropriate Red Stripe.  Just recently Noel sent me his jerk sauce recipe which I was pretty darn excited to see if I could replicate.  As per his suggestion, the recipe can be modified to suit, the one that follows is enough to marinate 3 pounds of chicken/meat/tofu with enough leftover to serve as a side sauce for greens.   I only made a few changes to Noel’s recipe and the end result was deliciously hot and there were no leftovers!

Bright ingredients makes for a spicy brown sauce.

Bright ingredients makes for a spicy brown sauce.

Suggested Ingredients:

  • Up to 6 scotch bonnet peppers or whatever hot peppers you like – I used the one Habanero that was ready in our garden and then some of the chili peppers that Pete and Jennifer from Woven Roots Farm gave us at the Harvest Festival.
  • 2 Tablespoons each: dried thyme, ground allspice, Fire Cider, salt and black pepper
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger (fresh or powdered), to taste.
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup or less olive oil
  • 1/2 cup or less tamari
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon, or more, to taste.

Method:

Chop up everything and then put all in the blender.   Or, put all ingredients into a wide mouth mason jar and use a wand blender to puree, same difference.  The marinade is done, ready to eat now on cooked greens or…

Poke holes in your chicken (or tofu!) before you jerk it so it will hold the flavor better.

Marinate overnight.

When you are ready you can bake, grill, roast, etc your jerked chicken.  This would also work well with tempeh or tofu or other meat.

Here’s what I did with the chicken I let marinate in the fridge, well covered, for over 12 hours:

Pre-heat the oven to 365.  Spread the chicken breast (I had about 2 pounds) and the jerk sauce I used to marinate it, in a wide glass baking dish.  I covered the dish with aluminum foil (or a glass lid if you have one) and baked it for about 45-50 minutes, until the thermometer read 142 and when I sliced into it, it was juicy and cooked through!

Dana made coconut brown basmati rice to go with the baked jerk chicken.  I made a huge side of broccoli rabe dressed in olive oil and salt, which we ate with the remaining jerk sauce.

All covered in Jafakin' Jerk Sauce!

All covered in Jafakin’ Jerk Sauce!

Fire Cider and the Berkshire Co-op: Cooperative Values in Action.

Fire Cider and the Berkshire Co-op: Cooperative Values in Action.

Working with a local start-up to achieve mutual success.

By Daniel Esko, Grocery Manager at the Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington MA

One of the most gratifying and exciting aspects of my job at Berkshire Co-op Market is building strong relationships with our local vendors, working together to achieve mutual success while delighting our owners and customers along the way. In fact, everything we do at Berkshire Co-op Market is guided by our operational vision, which states: “The Berkshire Cooperative Association cultivates a sustainable local/regional economy and cooperatively builds a vibrant community.” To this end we “foster the growth of local/regional food systems,” which allows us to work closely with local farmers, producers, and entrepreneurs to bring the highest quality local food to market. Over the past ten years I have had the opportunity to work closely with Klara’s Gourmet Cookies, South River Miso, Hosta Hill, High Lawn Farm, The Gluten Free Bakery, No. 6 Depot, Harney & Sons Tea, Shire City Herbals, and Tierra Farm, among numerous others. The work we have done together has varied from product development and retail and marketing consulting to promotions planning, new item introductions, farm and facility visits, education through product demonstrations, and most importantly sharing their stories with the community. All of this work has resulted in various successes for our local vendors and the Co-op, one of which I am particularly proud to share with everyone today.

On the retail floor of the Co-op in 2010, I ran into a couple of old friends from high school, Amy Huebner and Dana St. Pierre. In the process of catching up, they told me they had gotten married recently and when asked what they were up to, they excitedly proclaimed that they were going to make Fire Cider. For a moment I tried to play along like I knew what it was, but soon thought better of it and had to ask. They explained that Fire Cider was a health tonic made from apple cider vinegar, honey, and other whole food ingredients including garlic, ginger, and habanero pepper. Dana had been exposed to the individual whole food ingredients through his family experience and upbringing. His parents, uncle, and grandparents used these foods separately and in different combinations in their daily cooking, and medicinally to help alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms, ward off the cold and flu, and strengthen their immune systems. Over the years he continued experimenting and adding ingredients. Then, in a collaborative effort with Amy, they developed the blend that eventually became what we know today as Shire City Herbals Fire Cider. Although impressed by their enthusiasm and excitement, I knew that they had a long road to travel before they would have a product ready for retail. In my capacity as a representative of the Berkshire Co-op I offered to provide them any support they might need as they prepared to pursue their dream of making Fire Cider for the public. Over the next year I provided a small amount of assistance, such as information about retail licensing and insurance requirements, UPC and packaging advice, and of course an open door to introduce and promote the product at the Co-op when they were ready.

ingredients shindy 2013

Amy, Dana, and Brian (Amy’s brother) worked hard over the next year and we received our first delivery of Fire Cider on October 3rd, 2011. In only three months, Fire Cider became the number one unit seller and number two dollar seller in the supplement department. This is no small feat for a small local start-up. Fire Cider was now selling better than our number one vitamin supplement! I attribute this early success first to the superior quality of this uniquely marketable product, its effectiveness, and of course its following in the community. In addition, the level of success we achieved would not have come about if we had not worked closely with Amy and Dana on a strong promotional plan that included an introductory sale, placement in our Local Deals flier, and several product demonstrations. By the end of 2012 Fire Cider was still number one in unit sales and had become number one in dollar sales. In 2013 we started to promote Fire Cider more aggressively with more frequent sales, product demonstrations, and a huge cross-merchandising push to get Fire Cider in more places throughout the store. We had introduced the 16 oz. size in late 2012 and saw an amazing 378% unit increase in 2013, while still achieving 10% growth with the 8 oz. size. All year, people were raving about the product. Fire Cider was getting national press, sales continued to increase, and this fiery tonic had quickly become a staple in many households across the Berkshires and beyond. Admittedly, the Co-op was and still is only a small part of their success, but what it represents for the Co-op is our values in action– strengthening the local economy by cultivating strong vendor partnerships and of course harnessing the incredible power of the third principle of cooperatives: member economic participation. Simply put, Fire Cider is an amazing local success story and Berkshire Co-op Market is proud to have played a role in helping them achieve this success.

But let me back up a moment. Some of you may still be wondering what exactly Fire Cider is? Who makes it? How is it made? Where is it made? Well, one day I decided to pay a visit to the folks at Shire City Herbals and had the opportunity to make some with them.

Shire City Herbals Fire Cider is made from organic raw apple cider vinegar, raw wildflower honey, organic oranges, organic lemons, organic onions, organic horseradish root, organic ginger root, organic habanero peppers, organic garlic, and organic turmeric. They use locally produced honey from Merrimack Valley Apiary in Billerica, MA, which they purchase by the ton directly from the beekeeper. One ton comes on a heavy-duty pallet and contains 36 x 60 pound buckets, or 2,160 pounds of honey! Although they continue to search for a supply of local (New England), organic, raw apple cider vinegar, they currently source from Spectrum Organics in California, a trusted name in the industry and a reputable producer of the highest quality organic and natural oils and vinegars. The remaining ingredients are sourced through Albert’s Organics and Frontier Natural Products Co-op, long-time organic produce and herb/spice suppliers in the natural foods business.

That's a TON of organic produce!  Amy looks pretty stoked to turn it all into the best medicine she's ever had!

That’s a TON of organic produce! Amy looks pretty stoked to turn it all into the best medicine she’s ever had!

Fire Cider is marketed as a dietary supplement and is generally used as a natural, whole food remedy for common symptoms related to cold, flu, and seasonal allergies among numerous other medicinal uses. Many of the ingredients have known immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and have been used safely and effectively the world over in herbal healing traditions for centuries. As a whole food product, Fire Cider has a wide variety of culinary uses as well, including sauces, dressings, marinades, and beverages (in a Bloody Mary is particularly delicious). I have been making some amazing salad dressings with it and have recently heard of Fire Cider infused meatballs and even Fire “Soder” (Fire Cider and soda water). But like most people, I usually take a shot a day to keep me going.

Fire Cider is made by a company called Shire City Herbals, which is located in Pittsfield, MA. Incorporated in January 2011, the company is a family affair, co-owned by husband and wife Dana St. Pierre and Amy Huebner, Brian Huebner, and several other family members. A homegrown business, they started making Fire Cider in the kitchen of their home and then at the neighborhood Unitarian church on Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield. Starting off in just a handful of stores, farmers’ markets, and fairs, they are now in almost 350 stores across the country. They currently produce in a licensed commercial kitchen in Greenfield, MA, owned by the Franklin County Community Development Corporation. The FCCDC is an economic development nonprofit organization providing comprehensive business development education, access to capital, and a commercial office and manufacturing space to small business owners and entrepreneurs in the greater Western Massachusetts area. The facility is called the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center and is the same facility where Co-op favorites Ooma Tesoro’s, the Bean Cake Company, and Katalyst Kombucha produce their fine local food.

So, on a warm sunny day in early September I hitched a ride with Amy, Dana and Brian up to the processing center in Greenfield. As we ascended the winding road of beautiful Route 9, our eyes were greeted with lush green foliage and the expansive ridgelines of the eastern edge of the Berkshire Hills in the background. On the way we stopped off at the Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington, MA. The Old Creamery General Store recently converted to a cooperative and the Berkshire Co-op has been assisting them in various capacities over the past several years. We left with some of the Old Creamery’s famous deli sandwiches. It turned out to be a classic late summer Berkshire day, with the sun shining warm and bright as we continued on our journey to Greenfield. When we arrived at the facility, I found out that Katalyst Kombucha (now Artisan Beverage Cooperative) is actually one of the anchor tenants at the food-processing center and I learned that they are the co-packers for Fire Cider, doing all of the bottling on their behalf. This is also where Real Pickles, a huge local favorite, got their start. I felt a profound sense of connection to the local food movement. I was excited to take a look on the inside and have another experience of getting to know more deeply the food we provide to the owners and shoppers at the Co-op.

From the left: Brian, Dan and Dana are ready to get to work!

From the left: Brian, Dan and Dana are ready to get to work!

We began by suiting up in heavy waterproof boots and other necessary gear as they explained how things would get quite messy in the process. They told me their process includes three phases – production, pressing, and bottling. That day was a pressing day. We started by setting up a stainless steel IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container) filled with 350 gallons of organic apple cider vinegar and almost 700 pounds of other ingredients.  This is no easy task. Fully loaded, the IBC weighs over two tons (4,250 pounds). Dana and I used a pallet jack, slowly pushing and pulling the hulking IBC into the kitchen, careful not to let the pallet jack wheels roll over the floor drains. We then lined up another temporary holding container adjacent to the IBC. This IBC was prepped about six weeks prior, during the production phase of the process. After we got the tanks in place, Dana and I began to set up the pump and hoses necessary to pump the cider back and forth between the IBC and the holding tank during the pressing and filtering operation. He described the production phase to me while we were setting things up. Production starts with raw fruits and veggies, peels and all. They engage in minimal processing, scrubbing the horseradish and rinsing everything, cutting the citrus and garlic in half, and pulping the ginger, horseradish, and onion. Everything then goes into the tank with the vinegar, habanero pepper, and turmeric and is allowed to steep for a minimum of six weeks (1,000 hours).  Meanwhile, Amy was setting up the 35-ton hydraulic juice press in the cold room and Brian was washing and sanitizing all of the utensils, buckets, and containers to be used in the process.

After all the setup was complete, we were ready for pressing. Dana fired up the pump and the cider slowly started to flow from the stainless steel IBC into the adjacent holding tank. He had to bang on it several times with a mallet to get the aging pump up to full pressure. Dana was like the engineer on an old steamer ship, coaxing the turbines to produce as much power as possible. The klaxons, bells, and whistles from the Beatles song “Yellow Submarine” played through my head for a second and I could not hold back the huge smile and accompanying laugh that followed. Once the holding tank was filled, he opened up the door of the IBC and we proceeded to scoop out all of the solid ingredients for pressing. Suited up in full production gear, Amy was in charge of the pressing. Utilizing the incredible hydraulic force of the 35-ton juice press, she made sure to squeeze every last vital drop from the vinegar-infused oranges, lemons, onions, garlic, and other ingredients, with the liquid from each press being poured back into the IBC. The pressing is a crucial step in the creation of Fire Cider because the vitamin- and nutrient-rich liquids are essential to the nutritional composition and the taste profile of the finished product. We all helped Amy at various times with the pressing, cleaning, sanitizing, and disposing of compost and other waste throughout the day. Next, Brian, Dana and I blended in the raw wildflower honey, filtered the batch one final time and we all muscled the IBC back into the warehouse. Finally, there was end of day cleanup, a very extensive and meticulous process, removing all traces of production from the shared commercial kitchen space as well as washing and sanitizing every piece of equipment used that day. From start to finish, it took four people seven hours to complete, and after all of this hard work, we had produced 350 gallons of Fire Cider ready for bottling. One finished IBC can yield roughly 5,600 8 oz. bottles of Fire Cider. They currently have five IBCs in regular production, with several more lined up for purchase in the near future.

The entire experience, from the day Amy and Dana told me of their dream over three years ago, right up to the moment we finished cleaning everything up at the end of the pressing day, helped me fully understand what it really takes to create a wholesome, local product for market. I thought of their tireless dedication, working around the clock to build their business in a very grassroots and personal way with limited resources. What the folks at Shire City have been able to accomplish in three years is truly an inspiration to all of us at the Co-op and in the greater Berkshire community and beyond. For me it all comes back to the power of food and the idea that food is destiny. It truly has the power to transform the lives of people, the communities in which they live, and the world as a whole.

Over dinner at the People’s Pint in Greenfield, a favorite brewpub serving wholesome local food and handcrafted beer, I learned of their dream of buying a farm one day and growing the ingredients for Fire Cider themselves. They told me about their mission statement, which is borrowed from Hippocrates: Food is the best medicine and the best medicine is good food. They explained the idea of Fire Cider as a gateway food; something that is unmistakable, potent, and which can immediately convince people of the power of raw, whole foods. I ended the day feeling incredibly grateful to have had this amazing opportunity to build a better world through food—in my daily work with all of our valued local farmer and vendor partners, and especially with the good folks at Shire City Herbals.

Tales for Tee Shirts, Part II

I hope you all had a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!  I have to say  I am super thankful for all of the support Brain, Dana and I have gotten from all of you!  It is so rewarding to be contributing in a meaningful way to our community. And I get to work with two of my favorite people, how cool is that?!
A loud and clear message on the back!

A loud and clear message on the back!

Recently I asked folks on our Facebook page to send in stories or recipes with a focus on Fire Cider in exchange for one of our new t-shirts.   G.S. from Connecticut recently sent us this story and  we think it’s pretty great:
“Hi guys – I found your website last evening after a friend at the racquet club told me about it. And I can honestly say I’ve seen every video and read pretty much every word on your website. And I could not wait to try it out – and it was pretty late at night so I had to wait. I know it sounds silly, but it really was annoying to wait to over 12 hours to try it.
I had ZERO doubts that I’d have to drive miles to find an ‘esoteric’ product like Fire Cider but turns out you are in my town at the local health store! I couldn’t believe it!  So first thing this morning on the calendar was to pick it up and I opened it in the health store, asked for a spoon, and tasted it right there. AND LOVED IT. And started giving taste samples to folks in the store right there –  happily becoming your unofficial salesman and spokesperson. And then I went to lunch (technically a business meeting), and I let folks at the restaurant try it and then I added it to my corn chowder. And yes, delicious corn chowder gets to be even more delicious with a tablespoon of Fire Cider!

I just wanted to send you guys a quick email to say how much I love Fire Cider- it is just flat out awesome. There is only one problem: I collect hot sauces and now there is something that is NOT a hot sauce, but rules them all! What am I going to do with the hot sauces?”

Not a bad problem to have!  G.S.’s Fire Cider T-shirt is in the mail and if you want FREE Fire Cider swag, send in your recipes or Fire Cider story to Amy@FireCider.com.  Mega bonus point to anyone who made a Fire Cider Turkey for the big day!

It Starts Like This

With our stainless steel vessels and our revamped pump we are making the best Fire Cider ever, here’s a look at how it all begins:

That is a lot of vinegar- about 660 gallons here!

That is a lot of vinegar- about 660 gallons here.

First I call our representative at Hain Celestial in California and she sends drums of organic, unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to their warehouse in Foxboro, MA and then to the CDC in Greenfield.  This shipment should last us til the end of 2013.

Two pallets stacked high with certified organic produce.

Two pallets stacked high with certified organic produce.

Albert’s Organics delivers our produce order on the morning of a production day.  There’s over a quarter ton of oranges on the first pallet and that’s just one ingredient.  We process each piece of citrus by hand: removing the sticker, washing and chopping.  It takes two people (we love you!) three hours just to scrub all the horseradish!

Over 2 tons of the best honey around!

Over one ton of the best honey around!

Even though we add the raw wildflower honey in last, we get the shipment in soon after starting a batch so we can slowly, gently, warm the honey up to room temperature.  Ever tried to get 60 pounds of crystallized honey out of a bucket?  Didn’t think so.  Dana and Brian built us a ‘honey melter’ to solve the crystallized winter honey problem- a pallet sized cube, warmed with just a single light bulb.  It takes over a week to bring a pallet of honey up to about 60 degrees.

A lot of hard work goes into each batch and I hope you agree that the results are worth the effort!

Fire Cider Event Schedule

Fall is officially here and we kicked it off with 4 days at the Big E where Brian, Dana and I handed out over 10 gallons of samples, woah!
And we are back at the Big E for the last four days: Thursday September 26th to Sunday the 29th, find us on the right side porch of the Massachusetts Building!
The Fire Cider booth in good company on the morning of opening day.

The Fire Cider booth in good company on the morning of opening day.

Here’s where you can find us giving out samples this October:
* The Harvest Festival at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens in West Stockbridge MA October 5th and 6th
* The Honest Weight Co-op’s Local Harvest Festival on October 6th in Washington Park, Albany from 12-4pm
* Amy is doing a demo at the Berkshire Co-op Market from noon til 2pm on Friday October 11th
Elmartin Farm in Cheshire, MA open house starting at 1pm on Saturday October 12th
* The New Amsterdam Market on Sunday October 27th from 11am to 4pm
See you there!!
Want to save on your next purchase of Fire Cider?  Sign up on for our monthly e-newsletter at the top right of our home page for updates and exclusive monthly coupon codes!

See You At The Big E!

big e big photo

We are looking forward to this September’s Eastern States Exposition aka The Big E!  Fire Cider will have a tent outside the Massachusetts building on the following dates:

Friday September 13th, the first day of the fair, lucky us!

Saturday September 14th and Sunday the 15th.  And happy birthday Dr. Huebner!

We will be out on the lawn for Massachusetts Day on Thursday the 19th.

And Fire Cider will finish out this 17 day event Thursday the 26th through Sunday the 29th.

We hope you will stop by for a sample of your favorite tonic, and maybe even pick up a new Fire Cider t-shirt.  This round we are getting fire engine red shirts with white printing, pretty sharp!

We’ll see you at the fair!

Chef Joe Dewey’s Avocado and Black Bean Salad

I love Joe’s new recipe, it’s made using many of my favorite foods and flavors.  Avocados are full of vitamins, fiber and healthy fats, the kind that protect your heart, have anti-inflammatory properties and also taste really, really good.  Black beans, and beans in general, have a bit of a bad reputation for being difficult to digest.  Don’t avoid this super food because of improper cooking!  It’s easy to cook delicious, digestible beans, using a crock pot and adding kombu seaweed during the cooking process.  You can find easy to follow instructions on the website Nourishing Days.com under the post titled, ‘Why Beans Are Hard to Digest & 8 Tips For Making The easier on the Belly’

Alternatively, canned beans are super convenient and when combined with plenty of good for you fats, like the olive oil and avocado in this recipe, they are an easy to digest source of vegan protein and fiber.  This quick and easy salad is full of flavor that gets better with time. Take this to your next picnic or pack it for lunch!

The following recipe was created by local Berkshire County Chef Joe Dewey.  Joe has been helping us in the Fire Cider kitchen and he’s come up with a whole bunch of exciting new recipes for us.  So if you love this, stay tuned for next week’s Fire Cider blog post by our new guest chef!

avocado black bean salsa

 Ingredients:
  • 2 firm avocados
  • 4 large garden fresh tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 and 1/2 cup black beans or one 15 ounce can
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (or, if you dislike cilantro, substitute with parsley)
  • 2 jalapenos (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Fire Cider
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Method: 
Chop the avocado, tomatoes and onion into bite sized pieces.  Roughly chop the herbs,  mince the hot pepper and garlic.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and marinate together for 1 hour on your counter or in the fridge, well covered.
Aside from eating this salad with a spoon, it’s a great take along meal for school or work and is delicious with corn tortilla chips.  Or eat it over salad greens that have been lightly salted, tossed, lightly oiled, olive is fine, tossed again and then squeeze fresh lime juice on top, add Avocado and Black Bean Salsa and perhaps some grated cheddar cheese?  Or roll this salsa up in a large corn tortilla with some baby spinach, queso fresco and top with hot sauce.  Basically, any way you eat this, it’s good and good for you!

Sweet and Spicy Cajun Corn Salsa

Elise came up with this new marinated salad using Fire Cider and Cajun seasonings to bring some sweet heat to the seasons freshest veggies: corn and tomatoes!  Pick some up on your next trip to the farmer’s market and then give this recipe a try.  And remember, you can stop by and see Elise at the Fire Cider booth at select Sowa Farmer’s Markets til the end of October.
roasted Cajun corn salad
 Ingredients:
  • Garlic 1-3 cloves
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 4 ears corn cut off the cob
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups Black, kidney or other beans
  • Fire cider
  • Lemon juice
  • Cajun spices, for example: one teaspoon each paprika, coriander, cumin and dried oregano; one-quarter teaspoon each cayenne pepper and cinnamon.
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Honey
 Method:
Finely dice the onions and garlic, and marinate in fire cider with lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, honey, and Cajun spices, all to taste, in a large bowl.  Add diced tomatoes and beans and stir to combine.  Set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet on high.
Toss corn and your favorite Cajun spice mix with a small amount of olive oil in a bowl and then add to the hot skillet.
Cook until corn begins to brown/crisp, stirring often.  Taste and add more spice of you’d like!
Add the hot cooked corn to the onion tomato and bean mixture and let it marinate for at least an hour at room temperature.
Enjoy, preferably outdoors, with a Fire Cider Gimlet or some Extra Tangy Lemonade!

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