Wildly Fermented

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Fire Cider and Sauerkraut

So I’ve had some writers slump, mostly due to extreme busyness.

I keep sitting to write another post on Core Strength (See posts 1, 2 & 3 if you are curious). And I’m stuck on the direction I want to go in, and I would like to do a series of pictorial exercises. And all that requires a little more planning (i.e. cleaning a spot that I can use to film lol) than I have in me right now.

Well after writing my last post. And sucking down the last of my fire cider. I felt a renewed interest in fermenting. I have stuck to sauerkraut’s and fire cider. my ginger bugs and raw pickles have never come to fruition. Maybe I’ll take another stab at it.

Harper and Chicken

My New BF!

So this weekend instead of doing all the productive things I should do like declutter and reorganize my office or bedroom… or like… yard work (it’s looking a little jungle-y out there…). I pulled out my fermenting crock and ran around trying to find raw turmeric and horseradish in this forsaken tiny city I reside in (I failed btw).


First up fire cider. I loosely use this recipe from Mountain Rose Herb. The fire cider is pretty forgiving, add or omit similar ingredients as you will. I had to use dried turmeric and horseradish, which i wasn’t thrilled about

Fire Cider kraut supplies

Ingredients of mass-creation

but alas, this town doesn’t have any right now. I love Mountain Rose Herb’s products and practices and plan to place an order and plan some future posts on fermenting all the things.

Fire Cider is pretty simple. I mean. You just throw a bunch of stuff in a jar and cover it with RAW apple cider vinegar. I try to source most of my ingredients locally and use organic if I buy from the grocery stores. You don’t want to put forward the effort and use low quality stuff. Your base ingredients are :

  • Quart Mason Jar (line cap with parchment or wax paper or use a plastic screw top, other wise the vinegar can corrode it and that’s not tasty fire cider add ins)
  • Grated Ginger (1/2 cup ish)
  • Grated fresh Horseradish (1/2 cup ish) *note I could NOT find it in this in my town so I subbed 3 tbsp of dried
  • Grated fresh Turmeric (2 tbsp fresh or 1 tbsp if using dried)
  • Chopped medium onion
  • Garlic (10 cloves or so- crushed and peeled or roughly chopped)
  • Citrus (lemon,lime, orange etc- peel and all)
  • Hot pepper of sorts (I used some dried cayenne’s from my garden last year and some dried ancho chili’s I’d picked up at the local natural health store)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar -Raw Fermented
  • Raw Honey (this is actually optional and not used until after the infusion period is over)
Fire Cider Ingredients

Fire Cider Makins’

Everything else is gravy, although watch your volume, the jar should be about 2/3 full of stuffs, maybe slightly less, you want some actual cider from all this :).

Optional and tasty additions would be Rosemary (i used some dry), a little extra citrus (oranges lend a nice flavor, wish I had some!), Thyme, Peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon etc etc etc. They are very customizable.

Fire Cider in a jar

Behold the All Powerful Fire Cider!

Once ingredients are added to the jar, pour in ACV until just above ingredients. Using a lined or plastic cap, cap the jar and store in a cool dry dark place. Shake daily (I set a reminder since I am ever forgetful). After about a month the infusion should be complete. Strain with cheesecloth or fine mesh and add raw honey to taste (1/4 cup at a time-altho I start lower since we are less sweet in this piece). Store in fridge. Enjoy!

I plan to start a couple batches of this weekly so we have a replenishing supply. If I can’t stay on top of it there’s always Herbal Revolution Fire Tonic No. 9 ;).

Next up is the sauerkraut. And I’m not going to do a lengthy explanation today, but fermented foods are king. I recommend Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, it’s the bible of Fermenting. At any rate fermented foods have great health benefits, particularly gut health. They are natural probiotics and great additions to any diet. I like making sauerkraut. Because a) it’s super easy and b) local and organic cabbage is uber cheap. There’s a good post on a simple method here.

Sauerkraut Ingredients

So messy a process. Cabbage. Cabbage everywhere.

Basically all you need is:

  • Large head of cabbage (organic or local preferable)
  • Sea Salt (non iodized)
  • Mason jar

Yep. That’s it. Although, I added carrots, ginger, onion and celery seed to my batch. I also use these fermenting crocks I randomly found at a off price discount outlet near here.

I chop the cabbage (remove tough core and toss or feed to your free loading chickens) and other up fine (you can use a food processor, but we aren’t that fancy). I set aside a couple large cabbage leaves to use to cover the final product and protect it from spoilage. I use my hands to mix the ingredients in a large bowl ( I use approx 4 lbs of cabbage mix and about 2-3 tbsp of sea salt). I let it sit and wilt down a bit. It’ll start releasing juices. We love those juices. Good stuff.

Packing the Sauerkraut Jar

Pound it down!

I then use my hands and pack the cabbage into my crock and pound the ever loving crap out of it. It’s kind of cathartic. You can use a wooden spoon or a ‘pounder’ of sorts like this one. But again, we aren’t so fancy here.

Keep pressing cabbage down until the juices rise up over the cabbage. You’ll then want to press down something to cover. Depending on your vessel, some use a plate or a stone. I use the large cabbage leaves. You’ll want some kind of weight pressing down the whole she-bang to keep the juice line over the cabbage (to prevent any spoilage). I rigged a jar filled with water under my cap (the cap also added down pressure). Store in cool dry locale.

Watch it, it’ll start bubbling within a day. It’s kinda neat. Also watch that the juice line stay up, and you may get some ‘scum’ which isn’t the same as spoil or mold. Skim it off and reset your weight. Start taste testing after a week, can take up to 2 weeks. It’ll taste pickle-y, crunchy and a little tart. If it’s bubbling it’s still fermenting. Once those bubbles stop or the taste is to your liking, jar it and stick it in the fridge. Do NOT heat can it, that basically kills all those good living probiotics you worked so hard for.

Fermenting Sauerkraut

Okay… is it done yet?

Do not heat pasteurize it, it defeats the purpose. Please.

Now we wait….

Do you ferment? What are your fermented foods of choice? What else would you like to know about fermented foods and the process? Maybe the next Not-A-Pro series will be on Fermentables ;).



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