Fire Cider – The sweet, sweet burn

Fire CiderA couple of years ago I started seeing advertisements in some of the magazines I read (Mother Earth News and Hobby Farms) for a product called “Fire Cider”. Time and again, as I read through various publications the Fire Cider logo featuring a man with an eye patch blowing smoke or steam from his mouth would catch my attention. Often these gardening/homesteading magazines feature homeopathic products claiming to be “cures” or “tonics” that I consider to be … well … criz-a-zy, so I gave it a chuckle and wondered who the hell buys these supplements and didn’t give it another thought.

Several weekends back, I was poking around the farmers market at SOWA in Boston’s South End and came across a stall that stopped me dead in my tracks. Bam! Right in front of me stood ol’ eye patch and smoke breath man himself – starting directly at me. No way! And; miracle of all miracles – they were offering samples. I guess the old adage of “Branding 101” (7 impressions will make something stick in your mind) worked on me, so I wandered over and tried a free sample.

Oooh, the sweet, sweet burn of that Fire Cider. I was instantly hooked!

Fire Cider is a lot of things. It can be used as a health tonic, a drink mix, a salad dressing, a digestive aid. The folks at FireCider.com describe it this way:

For generations of New Englanders, a tot of vinegar was a morning ritual. Taken daily, a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar can help support immune function and digestive functions. To the base of certified organic apple cider vinegar, we’ve added whole, raw, certified organic oranges, lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, habanero pepper, garlic and turmeric. We let this mixture steep for 6 weeks at room temperature, to preserve the living vinegar culture and delicate flavors of the ingredients. Lastly, we blend a generous helping of raw wildflower honey into the mix. The result is potent but balanced, offering layers of sweet, tart and spice.

I think the marketing team at Fire Cider realize they have a great product that is more than just a “Digestive Supplement” but something that can be a fantastic flavor base for many things. (May I suggest a killer chicken wing sauce?) It would be a bit on the expensive side at $12 for an 8oz bottle or $60 for a gallon, but the Fire Cider is such an intricate nuanced flavor, that I believe if you were in a wing contest, you would win it hands down. The vinegar and honey flavors, combined with the various citrus fruits topped off with a bit of Habanero pepper is money!

I haven’t tried cooking with it or mixing drinks yet, but I have been enjoying a table spoon a day for the antioxidant habanero zing! Also as I was poking around doing a little research for this article I noticed Fire Cider is now available at Whole Foods and William-Sonoma. As with anything, Fire Cider is not with out controversy. It seems the the Fire Cider folks trademarked a concept. Which in this case does not bother me because as you will see in the video below the professional sterile way they are mixing the ingredients for consistency and purity outweigh the larger implications for me (i.e. I’m not going to buy a jug of this from someone that mixed it up in their bathtub).

If in your travels you come across the eye patched mustachioed gentleman blowing smoke, I highly recommend picking up a bottle. Or, if you are truly curious you can buy it right now at www.firecider.com

Disclaimer: Fire Cider did not pay me to write this review, I just wanted to get the word out about this product that is new to me.

Strawberry Spring

Samet Cider

June 1, 2012

Last season we devoted 1/4th off our raised beds to strawberries and while we had some success with the plants themselves nothing prepared us for the huge berry haul we had this spring. We were able to transplant some of the “runners” the long tendrils that the strawberry plants send out and this spring strawberries took over half our raised beds. The mix of rain and sun we’ve had has been incredibly good for the plants. Every couple of days we seem to be picking off at least a pound of berries. We’re losing some to pests, but we’ve learned a great deal about how to manage the plants and next year will be even better. A fresh warm strawberry straight from the garden is something most people may have never experienced but it is a surprising treat.