Natural Cold Remedy | Probiotic, Fermented Fire Cider & Its Benefits
It's been very cold and rainy for a bit this week in Baton Rouge, which means a lot of people are about to get sick with viruses. So what's better than a healthy, natural cold remedy that's also probiotic?! Probiotic, Fermented Fire Cider has amazing benefits and can help with cold and flu symptoms.
Colds, the Flu, and Natural Cold Remedies
Let me just say the cold and wet weather doesn't directly make you sick. People in Louisiana are adapt to humid wet air, but when a cold front comes through bringing dry cold wind... everything changes for our sinuses. Our sinuses dry out quite a bit, allergies are in full force from the wind, and our sinuses take quite the toll. When that happens our sinuses are more exposed, cracked and dried out making it easier for viruses to infect us via our mucus membranes. Viruses infect bodies through body fluids and mucus membranes and cold dry air just makes us more vulnerable.
I don't think Scotty or I have been sick this year. Ever since we transitioned to a vegan household, started eating our fermented vegetables with every meal for blog posts and instagram photos, and quit our horrible & stressful day jobs... well, we've never felt healthier. A healthy life starts with a healthy gut, a low stress environment, and a healthy mind. Our digestion has never been better and we just feel all around awesome. My eczema, which plagued my life for four years... all over my face, eyelids, and arms is even gone. I mean gone. I get a tiny flare up if I take a too hot shower, but that's nothing compared to how I used to suffer. It's amazing what a nourished gut, nourished skin and happiness can do for your life.
Cold and Flu Season
Anyways, no matter how healthy you are, you can still catch a cold or the flu this time of year...Let's talk about that for a second:
The common cold and the flu are VIRUSES not bacteria. 90% of the time when you think you have a "bacterial sinus infection" you don't have a sinus infection... You actually have a virus, causing sinus inflammation.
Antibiotics do not treat viruses... Let me repeat this... Antibiotics do not treat viruses. Viruses are unaffected by antibiotics. One of the main reasons (after animal agriculture) for deadly antibiotic resistant superbugs is the wrongful, careless prescribing of antibiotics for colds by physicians.
I job shadowed a physician for a week in college once. It was January and it was cold outside. It was the year it snowed quite a bit in Louisiana. He let me know that most of the people we'd be seeing were going to be in there for suspicion of a sinus infection. He also let me know that people were going to expect, and some would insist on, antibiotics. He was not going to give them though. He had studied microbiology as his undergraduate degree in college, and had more of an appreciation for the microbes than most physicians. He was great. Of the 15 patients we saw the first morning we gave out zero prescriptions of antibiotics. He told me that most physicians will just give them antibiotics to shut the patients up... you know, just give them what they want. That royally pissed me off, because the wrongful prescription of antibiotics should be malpractice... It directly harms the patient and can cause serious damage and multitudes of other illnesses, some of which are deadly.
Natural Cold and Flu Remedy
There's not much you can do to help cure the common cold. It's a virus that quickly changes and runs it's course, so there's not a western medicine magic pill to make it, well let's but honest...just the symptoms, go away. Just your immune system, that's all you have when it comes to fighting off the common cold.
The flu is a little different, there are medications that are sad to help with the flu if you contract the virus, also there is the flu vaccine. Unfortunately, the flu vaccine is not very effective because of the nature of orthomyxoviridae (flu viruses). The flu vaccine's ineffective nature is not due to lack of competency of those making the vaccine. The virus is advanced in the way it replicates, and makes effective vaccine development difficult. The flu vaccine has never been very effective. Scotty and I do not get the flu shot. We made this decision when I took an extensive graduate school course in virology, and I've come to know that the flu shot is...well... mostly irrelevant and ineffective for us. However, not everyone is perfectly healthy. In specialized instances, and cases of immunocompromised patients, it is advised by physicians to get the flu vaccine since it can still possibly lower the risk of contracting the virus.
In our personal lives, we prefer more natural remedies and holistic, preventative health care. The most effective way to prevent yourself from contracting the flu and cold viruses is by washing your hands and not touching your face, mouth and eyes while out in public. Also, the most important thing you can do to ensure quick recovery from sickness is to support a healthy immune system and nourished body throughout the year by focusing on a balanced microbiome.
Probiotic, Fermented Fire Cider & Its Benefits
If you catch the cold or flu virus this year, there are at home remedies to help with symptoms; Remedies that can also help your immune system fight back to health. When you have a cold or the flu virus, the best thing you can do is provide your immune system with all the tools it needs to succeed, as well as protecting your body from more infections while your immune system is busy fighting off viruses.
Our favorite at home remedy is our wild fermented fire cider. Our recipe for fire cider is a little different than the usual and it is full of vitamins, nutrients and essential minerals for proper immune system function. Since we wild ferment it (instead of using apple cider vinegar) there's billions of gut healthy microorganisms included to nourish the gut microbiome... and a nourished gut microbiome is your first line of immune defense. The fire cider is quite spicy and potent, for a good reason. The spicy nature of fire cider helps to stimulate mucus production in the sinuses, providing moisture where it is needed, and easing the symptoms of sinus cavity inflammation. Our Wild Fermented Fire Cider recipe is also unique in the fact that it contains wheatgrass and turmeric. The turmeric adds an extra anti-inflammatory boost, and the wheatgrass adds a boost in Vitamin A, C, E, K and several B vitamins. Wheatgrass also provides iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium making it wonderful for immune system support. We suggest taking one tablespoon of this fire cider twice a day when you feel a cold coming on.
If you need fire cider now, Andi Lynn's is local for us and she makes pretty great fire cider. Her's is not wild fermented, and therefore the same probiotic benefits aren't there, but it's made with raw apple cider vinegar and great ingredients that can do the trick for clearing up sinuses and helping with inflammation. Find her product here. *
Mastering Fermented Foods
If you're going to master fermentation you'll need to use weight measurements for your fermentation ingredients. That means you need a kitchen scale. In order to select for the best probiotic bacteria (the ones that are actually beneficial) in your ferments, you must weigh salt to create a specific salt concentration. Weighing salt is the only way to create a salt concentration that will select for only probiotic microbes to thrive. You can read more about why you must weigh your salt here.
We recommend either one of these scales:
Supplies You Need to Start Making Fermented Fire Cider:
- 16 oz Mason Jar or 16 oz Wide Mouth Mason Jar
- Fermentation Weight to fit your mason jar
- Standard Metal Mason Jar Lid
- (optional) Silicone Fermentation Airlock Lid
- Metal mason jar screw band or Rust Free Plastic Screw Band
- Cultured Guru Fermentation Salt
- Mixing Bowl
If you're new to fermentation, we offer fermentation supply starter kits on our shop page that includes everything you need to start fermenting some veggies at home, you just need to have a scale, salt, and fresh veggies.
Natural Cold Remedy | Probiotic, Fermented Fire Cider
- 100 Grams Large Red Onion Chopped
- 50 Grams Fresh Ginger Sliced
- 25 Grams Fresh Garlic, Chopped or Crushed
- 25 Grams Jalapeno, Chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Wheatgrass Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne
- 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 200 Grams Filtered Water
- 10 Grams Cultured Guru Fermentation Salt Or Unrefined Sea Salt
- Wash all of your fermentation equipment (jar, weight and lid)
- Wash your produce in cool water. Chop the ingredients.
- Place your kitchen scale on the counter. Turn it on and set it to weigh in grams.
- Place a mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and tare/zero the scale. Note: Taring/zeroing the scale with a container on it subtracts the weight of the container, allowing you to weigh only what is added to the container. After taring/zeroing the scale, the scale should read 0.0 with the container on it.
- Add the designated amounts of onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno.
- Remove the bowl from your scale and set aside. Place your empty, clean mason jar on the scale, and tare/zero the scale. Make sure your scale is still set to grams and add 200 grams of filtered water to your mason jar.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno from your bowl, into the mason jar with water.
- Place a small bowl on your scale and tare/zero the scale. weigh out 10 grams of salt. Then add the 10 grams of salt to the jar of ingredients and water.
- Add the 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder, 1 Teaspoon Wheatgrass Powder, 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne, 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice, and 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest to the jar.
- Place your standard mason jar lid on the jar, and secure. shake the jar vigorously for 2 minutes.
- Remove the silver standard mason jar lid. Place your fermentation weight in the jar making sure to submerge the contents and weight fully in the liquid.
- Secure the standard mason jar lid or your airlock lid to the mason jar.
Care Guide for Fermented Foods
Probiotic Fermented Fire Cider Recipe Tips
During the first few days of fermentation: carbon dioxide and bubbles will be produced. Sometimes Jars will become very full with liquid, and this liquid can seep out.
- If using a standard mason jar lid: remove the lid and tamper everything back down using a gloved hand, tamper or spoon. Make sure everything is still submerged below the brine.
- If using a silicone airlock lid: If liquid comes out of the top of the lid, you can remove the lid and tamper everything back down, or you can leave the lid on and just rinse the top off in the sink.
Always Trust your sense of smell: Fermented Fire Cider should smell pleasantly sour and spicy. Never eat anything that smells repulsive.
Never eat anything that had mold growing on it: By following directions you should not encounter this problem.
What Temperature Should I Keep My Fermented Fire Cider At?
Keep your fermenting pickle spirals at a temperature between 70-80 degrees F. Keep out of direct sunlight
How Long Should I Ferment Fire Cider?
After 4 weeks, remove the fermentation weight.
- Add the entire contents of the fire cider fermentation to a blender or food processor and blend for about 2 minutes.
- Strain off the liquid into a new jar using a mesh top strainer or cheese cloth.
- Add the juice of one lemon if you desire. This is not required, but the flavor is nice.
- Save the solid matter from the ferment for recipes where you'd like a little heat and garlic flavor. It's great in curry and ramen. We like to freeze it and add it to different recipes.
Do I Need to Refrigerate My Fermented Fire Cider
Place a regular mason jar lid on the jar and refrigerate. Consume within 6 months for full probiotic benefits
Fire Cider Recipe Fermentation Timeline
We tracked our Fire Cider throughout the fermentation process. By checking the progress of microbial stages under the microscope we have provided you with this handy timeline! If you follow our recipe and directions, your timeline for Wild Fermented Fire Cider should approximately match ours!
24 - 72 hours: All contents in the jar should be submerged beneath the brine. At this time there are still Gram negative bacteria and possible pathogens present.
72 hours - 5 days: After 72 hours you should start to see lots of bubbles being produced. This is the stage in which you will burp the jar. This is when the ferment enters stage two of vegetable fermentation. Leuconostoc bacteria begin to thrive and produce a lot of carbon dioxide. Gram negative organisms die off.
5 - 14 days: The bubbles in the brine will decrease, as the ferment leaves stage two and enters stage three. The fire cider mixture will become cloudy and start to develop a pleasant sour, spicy and garlic smell. Lactobacillus species are most abundant during this time period.
14 - 28 days: Lactobacillus make up majority or all of the microbial population. They produce copious amounts of lactic acid, and make the ferment smell even more pleasantly sour. This is the time in which the vegetable mixture becomes preserved. This is when you want to smell and taste test.
30 days: Follow steps in the care guide to complete your Wild Fermented Fire Cider.