Fire ‘Cyder’ Kombucha Vinegar – Recipe

Fire cider vinegar.

Fire vinegar is an old folk remedy which infuses cold & flu preventing herbs, vegetables and spices in cider vinegar. It was used as a tonic, especially during winter, to help ward of the unwanted illnesses that were rife!

Traditionally fire cider vinegar was made with horseradish, garlic, onion, ginger and chilli peppers – but, as our knowledge of immune boosting herbs and plant-based medicine has increased, so has our recipes for this wonderful herbal vinegar.

I thought I would share my recipe which uses Kombucha (a fermented tea based drink) vinegar instead of traditional apple cider vinegar.

There are many health benefits from using Kombucha vinegar instead of Apple Cider.

For example;

Kombucha contains gluconic acid. Apple Cider Vinegar does not (although it is still amazing!) Gluconic acid contributes to cleansing and detoxification and also has many antiseptic and chelating (removing heavy metals from the bloodstream) properties.

Read here for more info on the differences between Kombucha and Apple Cider Vinegar: https://bioticsolutions.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Kombucha-or-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-1.pdf

As well as this, Kombucha vinegar contains all the antioxidants of the tea they were made from – and because it is fermented, are more bio-available to the body!

Time for the recipe!

  • 1tsp ground turmeric (I also used some grated fresh turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup grated ginger
  • 3/4 chilli peppers
  • Juice & peel of 1 lemon
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp honey

Chop all of the ingredients and pop into a 1ltr jar.

Top jar up with kombucha vinegar and stir in honey.

Pop the lid on the jar and give it a good shake to mix up all the ingredients.

Leave the vinegar to infuse for a minimum of 14 days but a full lunar cycle (or more) is best.

To use:

Take 1-2 tablespoons at the first signs of an onset of cold/flu symptoms.

You can take it straight or if you are feeling less brave just pop it in some hot water with a teaspoon of honey to make it more palatable.

Fire vinegar is also great in salad dressings, as an extra kick – or tossing roasted vegetables in.

Whatever you use it for, this healing vinegar is a brilliant and easy home remedy!

Let us know if you try it out.

The Plant Path Folk

x

Dandelion root, food and medicine.

One of our favourite winter forage plants is the dandelion.

Taraxacum officinale.

From autumn through to early spring we collect and utilize the roots of this amazing wild plant.

As a food source, the dandelion is a power house of minerals.

The root contains potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium. It is high in folic acid, riboflavin and niacin.

The list goes on…… it also contains Vitamins E and C, Vitamin C being a natural antioxidant, and is one of the richest herbal sources of Vitamin K – essential for strong bones! It’s no wonder that we love this abundant plant.

Dandelion can be found growing in most areas and is really proving to be a plant of our times. With new research coming out all the time, it may even be proving itself in the area of cancer!

Medicinally, it’s a diuretic. With high levels of potassium, it’s a very balancing herb when used for water retention. It is a liver and gall bladder tonic as well as being anti-rheumatic and is regenerative for cells and tissue damage.

We have just made some Dandelion root tincture, which we will be using medicinally.

Tinctures that are alcohol based are usually used as medicines.

Dandelion is an amazing detoxifyer, not only of people but also of the land, its root can store toxins aswell as minerals.

The high percentage alcohol extracts and concentrates many properties, including poisons and toxins, so always be sure you harvest your roots from a clean source! We don’t recommend foraging from roadsides or areas that have been sprayed with chemicals!

 

For the tincture:

We finely chop the washed and dried roots and put them into a kilner jar.

Using a high quality vodka, pour enough in to just cover the roots.

Leaving to soak for a full lunar cycle, 30 days. Agitate every few days.

Strain and squeeze out as much of the precious tincture as possible and store in a clean bottle or jar.

This tincture can be used as a wonderful digestive and liver aid.

With the remainder of our roots we created Pickled Dandelion Roots.

These are something we are really looking forward to!

Added to winter salads or soups they add a mineral packed goodness. Nourishing herbs are best used in water infusions or vinegars, as these mediums help release the mineral and vitamin content within the herb.

Pickled Dandelion Roots:

Cleaned and chopped dandelion roots 1-2cm lengths

Knob of fresh root ginger chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic

1-2 fresh chillis chopped

Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 teaspoons of honey optional

Method:

Pat dry your roots and slice into pieces, put into a suitable jar, adding ginger, chilli and garlic. These ingrediants can be adjusted to your taste.

Add honey if using and cover with a good quality Apple Cider Vinegar.

Cover top of jar with waxed paper before putting on a tight fitting lid.

Leave jar in the fridge for 3 wks.

Remember these are raw ingredients so best kept chilled.

Do not throw the vinegar away!! It will be rich in goodness – use with olive oil to create a salad dressing.

Even at this time of year there are a few fresh dandelion leaves poking through. Added to winter salads they are a great mineral boost, digestive, and mild bitter, to get our sluggish systems moving after the festive season.

Always do your own research on herbs and wild plants. Ensuring correct identification, facts, allergies, contra-indications and dosage.

Happy foraging,

The Plant Path Folk x

Chickpea Tempeh Success!

I recently had a go at making tempeh, a cultured and fermented bean ‘cake’, traditionally made with soy-beans.

Tempeh is cultured with a fungus called Rhizopus Oligosporus. It comes in a powdered form called ‘Tempeh Starter’ and is readily available on the internet – I got mine from eBay.

Originating from Indonesia, Tempeh is a great source of protein and probiotics! Its a brilliant substitute for meat if you are trying to cut down or live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. The taste is a wonderful complex and nutty flavour that soaks up marinade extremely easily. I recently found that the type of bean you use can change the taste too!

Chickpea Tempeh

Start by soaking 2 cup dried chickpeas overnight in water until they have doubled in size.

Rub the soaked chickpeas between your fingers to try and loosen off the hulls of the chickpeas. You don’t have to remove them from the water as they are a good source of fibre. However, do try and remove them from most of the chickpeas as if left on they can make it hard for the Starter to penetrate and culture the beans.

Next, boil the chickpeas until they become tender – just like if you were going to use them in any other recipe. Once boiled, pour out onto a clean tea-towel to cool.

Pop the chickpeas into a bowl and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of starter on top. MIX WELL.  It’s crucial you try and cover every chickpea with the starter as it ensures the tempeh ferments evenly!

After you have coated all of the chickpeas, transfer them to a prepared ziplock bag or takeaway tub. To prepare, just poke holes through the top and bottoms of the container to allow for some airflow.

Make sure they are packed down well – but not too well. You don’t want it looking like a solid brick – it should have space for the Tempeh culture to bind the chickpeas together.

I used a tub as I had no bags available – however, after trying it this way I would definitely use a zip lock bag next time.

Place the bag or pot on a plate and in a warm, preferably dark, place where it wont be disturbed.

After 1-3 days, depending on how warm it is, your Tempeh will be fully cultured.

You will notice a soft white culture has grown in and around your chickpeas, binding them all together.

Do not worry if it looks a bit fuzzy (like mould) – Remember, the culture is a type of fungus!

Once the Tempeh cake is fully formed, transfer it to a fridge.

It will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge!

Ta-dah!

Try it marinated and fried.. or baked. It really is delicious.

(And, in my opinion, much better than the shop bought version!)

Good luck if you decide to try this out!

Love,

The Plant Path Folk x

Turkey Tail Mushrooms & Medicine

A New Year, a new blog…

Winter is a strange place to start in the world of foraging but a great place if you know what you are looking for… Mushrooms!

Mushrooms are the new favourite in the world of plant-based medicines and healthcare. Although they have been around for millennia, it seems that research into mushrooms as medicines has only just hit the mainstream.

It is quite easy to buy powdered and dried medicinal mushrooms online nowadays. But, they all come with a hefty price tag… one that I am personally not willing to spend.

However, luckily for us, many of these wonderful magical fungi live around us and it is easy (once you know how) to identify, collect and process these into amazing, natural medicines for yourself and family.

Today we went on a beautiful walk in the Dorset countryside and just so happened upon a bountiful harvest of Turkey Tail mushrooms.

Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor)

Trametes  meaning one who is thin. 

and

Versicolor meaning variously coloured.

The name is a brilliant indicator of how to identify this mushroom. They are often found flourishing on old dead logs with beautiful fan shaped fruits that grow in clusters, overlapping one another. Their appearance is almost velvet-like on top, with rings of wonderful browns, greys and blues. The underside is a pale white-ish colour and they feel rubbery to the touch.

Turkey Tail mushrooms (and most mushrooms for that matter) have a high level of antioxidants and anti-viral properties, making it a wonderful immune-boosting medicine. There have even been studies showing beneficial effects of using Turkey Tail mushrooms to fight cancer cells!

Disclaimer: we always suggest you make sure you know what you are picking when it comes to mushrooms. Always use plenty of reference guides or go on a mushroom identification course. And.. if you’re not 100% sure what it is – dont pick it!

We collected the largest of the mushrooms, leaving the smallest to grow so we could come back for a second harvest, and continued on our walk until we got back home.

After warming ourselves up when we got in, we cleaned off our wild forage of the day, making sure we had no pieces of unwanted wood left on the mushrooms. I popped them in the dehydrator on a low temperature (to make sure the medicinal value of the mushroom was retained) and left them to dry out.

Once dried the Turkey Tail can be used for many things. You could blend the dried pieces into a powder and use in a wonderful hot mushroom tonic. Or, you can infuse the Turkey Tail in a high percentage vodka – creating a brilliant anti-cancerous tincture! Once dried they keep really really well and there is no need to rush into using them as long as you store them properly in an airtight bag or jar.

If you are interested in mushrooms and their medicinal uses I highly encourage you to look further into them and research for yourself the amazing things that they can do!

They really are magical…