By LORNA CHEROT LITTLEWAY
WINTER, A SEASON ASSOCIATED with respiratory ailments, will soon be here. For those interested in alternative remedies from over the counter medications, the Hudson Area Library sponsored a hands-on workshop, Make Your Own Fire Cider, on November 30. Presenter Rich Maddocks credited Fire Cider as an “anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.” He described it as a vinegar infused beverage of fermented fruits and vegetables that supports the “immune system and warms” the body internally.
Against a backdrop of beautifully displayed produce on a long table, Maddocks, a community herbalist and founder of Monarda Community Care, encouraged participants to look no further than a supermarket for inexpensive ingredients that prevent and relieve symptoms of influenza related maladies, gastrointestinal problems, heartburn/acid reflux, yeast infections and sunburn. Maddocks added that Fire Cider is also a good energy boost, and can be used to rinse hair and as salad dressing.
Before the chopping to concoct individual blends started, Maddocks used slides to explain that the curative powers of Fire Cider dates back 5,000 years to the Babylonian period. “There was no evidence of its benefits. People just knew.”
Maddocks offered some examples. According to him, people soaked sponges in vinegar during the Black Plague; the Greeks and Romans used vinegar to preserve cosmetics; and a vinegar-honey mix washed Jesus’ wounds from the crown of thorns. The recipe for Fire Cider is flexible but the basic ingredients are ginger, garlic and apple cider vinegar. (Maddocks touted unfiltered vinegar because it has “The Mother,”a gelatinous mass, in it.) Add to the basic ingredients any unpeeled citrus fruit—oranges, lemons, limes—sugar cane, rice, potatoes, jalapenos, red pepper and horse radish. Suggested herbs to include are turmeric, sage, oregano and rosemary. Dried herbs preferred. Fire Cider is easy to make. Fill a glass jar three quarters full with chopped unpeeled vegetables and fruits of your choosing. Add enough apple cider vinegar to cover them, seal the jar and let the mixture sit for a minimum of four weeks. No refrigeration needed. Maddocks warned that Fire Cider has both a pungent odor and taste, but fortunately small amounts can be consumed during or after meals for effective results. He recommended 1-2 tbsp. for prevention and 1-5 tbsp. for the onset of symptoms. Fire Cider is good in soups and stews, he added.
The workshop was presented in partnership with Spark of Hudson. Monarda Community Care offers monthly pop-up clinics that offer free acupuncture and herbal medicines at the library.