I have always been a fan of homemade. Not only homemade foods but also clothes, home decor and much more. I even had a stint at making Christmas cards. I can remember watching a tennis final with Roger Federer while making dozens of Christmas cards for family and friends. It was enjoyable and exciting, probably because of the tennis yet I never did it again. Maybe it is because there are no more Federer finals to watch!
Homemade food have been a passion for a long time now. Whether it is for health reasons, being frugal, using the best ingredients and enjoy doing it, it has been a huge part of my life.
The collection of such foods is growing. As I love sharing good things, I have started to blog about it. Not all recipes are mine and my husband Keith is doing his fair share. He loves fermented foods and started making apple cider vinegar and sour dough bread years ago.
In fact my daughter started a sourdough culture while we were still living in Australia and we loved making fruit and nut breads. Making your own sourdough bread is easy and fun albeit there are a few rules. Keith has perfected his starter culture and we always have the luxury of crispy fresh sourdough. He trials different flours and sometimes adds ingredients such roasted garlic, rosemary and olives.
Homemade foods on offer
We have now added fire cider, red and white sour kraut, pickles, chutneys, jams and olives to our list of homemade foods. We were so lucky to spend almost a year on a large property in the Ariège. There were plenty of fruit trees including apple, plums, mirabelle, blackberries, mulberries, figs and crab apples. Consequently the production of chutneys, pickles and jams resembled a professional kitchen.
I hope to inspire you to have a go at ‘homemade’. My perfect ‘cook up’ is singing along to my favourite tunes on a weekend day while having the kitchen to myself. Then miracles happen………..
As we are heading for winter, consequently it will be time for fire cider! My previous post showed you how to make organic apple cider vinegar and that will give you the perfect base for fire cider.
So what is fire cider?
Simply said, it is a spicy concoction that combines different taste sensations in one drink. It is a combo of sour, spicy hot, pungent and sweet and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. We take it during the winter months as a daily tonic to help fight off colds and flues.
fresh horse radish, onion, garlic, freshly grated turmeric, grated ginger, chillies, a sprig of rosemary, 1 cinnamon stick, apple cider vinegar, honey to taste and a large glass jar.
The list of ingredients is not set in stone and we use what we can get hold off. For instance it is hard to find fresh horse radish in Southern France where we live.
The quantities are rather flexible because it depends on how much you would like to make. Nevertheless if you want specifics feel free to let me know in the comments.
Here’s how to make it
Chop up all ingredients in tiny pieces and no need to say – the tinier, the better.
Place them in the jar and cover with apple cider vinegar
Close the jar and shake it up!
Place in a cool dark place for at least 4 weeks
Strain so you are just left with the liquid
Warm up honey and flavour to taste
Store in the fridge or a cool cellar
How to use fire cider?
Take a shot everyday, neat or dilute with water. If you find it hard to drink it, you could use it as an ingredient in soups, marinades, sauces and dressings.
Does it work? Who knows! It is full with ingredients that are good for you. Scientifically its potential may not have a leg to stand on as scientist usually don’t spend their time on testing the efficacy of natural remedies. I am a firm believer of taking daily a large diversity of organic natural ingredients. This fire cider is a combination of such ingredients.
As a matter of fact I am not here to debate the pros and the cons of taking fire cider. Above all I am here to show those who are interested how to make it.
All things considered, let me know if you have a go!
Apple cider vinegar seems to be one of the latest trends in the forever growing list of super foods. Apparently, it is a cure for many ailments, although it is not very well documented scientifically.
Despite that and like many people before me, I have started taking it on a daily base. I take 1-2 tablespoons in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning and I have done that now for several years.
As apple cider vinegar is cheap and easy to make, you can be sure there won’t be much scientific research to support the benefits. I personally have not experienced any side effects and I actually love the taste. As a result, I am hanging out for that glass first thing in the morning. An additional advantage is that bloating seems to be a thing from the past. Needless to say that I will keep on taking it.
There are many types of apple cider vinegar available in the shops but we prefer to make our own. And in this case I have to credit my husband who has been making the vinegar for a few years now. It is cheap and easy to make as long as you can get hold of organic apples.
Basically making apple cider vinegar is a process of fermentation where yeast converts the sugars in apples into alcohol. Then a bacteria called acetobacter turns the alcohol into an acid. The result is a fluid with a sediment called the ‘mother’ and apparently it is this mother that offers substantial health benefits.
How to make apple cider vinegar?
Ingredients for home made apple cider vinegar
sugar such as honey, cane sugar, agave or maple syrup
a sterilised jar
a good dose of effort and time
Sterilise the jar
Remove the stalks from the apples
Cut the unpeeled apples in pieces
Use 1 apple for 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of a sugar
Put apple pieces, water and sugar in the jar
Stir and cover with paper towel and an elastic band
First 14 days – place in a warm place and stir daily to prevent the apple pieces on the top going mouldy
After 14 days – remove the apple pieces and leave the liquid to rest in the dark for at least a month
After a month the apple cider vinegar should be ready to drink. We like to pour it in a nice decorative glass bottle and enjoy 1-2 tablespoons daily. Don’t drink it neat as the acidity may damage your teeth enamel and avoid storing it in plastic bottles!
The picture below shows a quantity of 5 cups of water, 5 medium apples and 5 tablespoons of raw cane sugar. Put a label with a date when you made it and you’e done!
Why don’t you give it a try? By the way, I am not an expert and suggest you do your own research before making and taking the vinegar.