It's Apple Time
My apologies for getting this out late. It has been a busy time with harvest and many personal consults with those wanting to build up their immune systems.
The apples have flourished! So now in the midst of harvest, as we turn our heads to maintaining good immune systems, the apple is a prime medicinal source. Not only is it good food, but it is one of the most detoxifying foods we have. In the midst of apple pies, sauce and crisps, don't forget about the great immune capacity of RAW apple cider, fire cider and vinegars.
A good many vendors of cider have to pasteurize their cider for inspection for sale to the public. Unfortunately that heating process, takes the good bacteria out of the cider. So best to purchase a cider press or band together with someone who has one. Apple pressing parties might be a good way, this year, to get out into fresh air and celebrate harvest while still being able to social distance. Here in our town, the local church has a cider press and folks bring their apples to the church on specific dates and help crank out raw cider all day, taking home their own supply.
Raw cider, as mentioned above, has powerful detoxifying properties and helps the liver screen toxins out of your blood and into your waste stream. When raw cider sits on the shelf you can see a cloudy residue that settles on the bottom, that is referred to as the "mother" and contains the bacterial spores for distributing healthy bacteria throughout the batch. The refreshing experience of drinking a glass of freshly pressed cider is one that I look forward to each fall.
Now, take that fresh, raw, apple cider and put it into a glass jar (we're about to make apple cider vinegar and I use gallon jars) There will be some evaporation and I like to make 3 or 4 gallons to last me through till next year. Put several layers of cheesecloth over the opening of the jar and attach with rubber bands. DON'T put the cover back on. Set your jar in a dark closet and leave it alone for a couple of months observing it now and then. Exposure to the air is part of the process so no fear of contamination as it ages. First it will form a spongey ring on the surface of the vinegar that continues to thicken as time goes by. This will keep the good bacteria in and the fermentation process going and bad bacteria out including any fruit flies that may be attracted to the sweet juice. Over the next 2 to 4 months this process will work and be a bit cloudy (and some evaporation take place) until the cloudy liquid suddenly clears. When the cider becomes clear, the fermentation has completed and you can bottle your fresh apple cider vinegar with the mother. Simply skim the spongey formation off the top and compost, and fill your bottles. Cap them off and store your fresh vinegar in your pantry to use for dressings, marinades, and your daily tonics. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and small amount of water, add a little honey if desired and it's a shot in the arm of immune boosting B vitamins and good bacteria.
Dr Janes, of Waterbury, Vermont was the MD who discovered the health properties and uses of apple cider vinegar. You can google the uses for apple cider vinegar and find many sources and ideas for using it as well as recipes.
You can go on to another immune boosting endeavor by adding other immune boosting herbs to your batch of "fire cider". There are many recipes for fire cider and it is all a matter of personal taste and desire for "tang". Ingredients like hot pepper, ginger, onion, garlic, horseradish all contribute to the "hot" flavor; but fire cider doesn't have to be hot. You can add such things as elderberry, astragalus and echinacea to name a few depending on your choice of immune boosting ingredients and you desire for flavor. Aromatic herbs like, sage, rosemary and thyme can make your cider interesting as well. The sky's the limit and you can bottle them in fancy containers for holiday gifts. All the while getting a great immune pick me up for winter. Covid - 19 bye,bye!
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.