Spotlight on CiderCare™

CiderCare™ Gallon ©2018 Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved.

It’s not for the faint of heart to make a gallon’s worth of “Fire Cider” herbal goodness, an herbal vinegar known as CiderCare™ at Botaniscape™ headquarters. Prepare for plenty of Kleenex®, as the olfactory senses will get a workout with all the chopped garlic, onions and ginger combined with organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. And that’s just the beginning of the herbal tradition that takes a turn toward Japan with the extra punch of fresh wasabi stem and nourishing gobo, also known as burdock root, or Arctium lappa. This batch was made serenaded by an evening of Mozart favorites, played on KDFC.com, as it is Mozart’s birthday! Happy Birthday Wolfgang!

With the exception of adding black peppercorns to this large and bold statement of Food as Medicine, the recipe was basically tripled from the first batch made, which ran out during an epic cold/flu bout. This Japanese version was also based on Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe from her book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide.

Now it’s time to wait for three to four weeks to strain and enjoy per Rosemary’s recipe, or five weeks, if repetition from the last batch proves the intuitive choice.

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical professional, nutritionist or dietician. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal advice, medical treatment or diagnosis and is not monitored or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration/FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product. When wildcrafting or foraging for plants, do so ethically; be accompanied by an expert; and always have absolute certainty of plant identification before using or consuming any herbs. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

__________________________________________________

The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist/Wildcrafter, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A daily meditator and career Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, she creates as Loretta Boyer McClellan. Her works as a publisher and writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite. 

Fire Cider® and the Art of Branding

 

©2017 Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved. First-ever homemade batch of a “Fire Cider”-like product for family wellness support. May it bask in the simplicity of its existence, unaware of the infamy of its commercialized or marginalized cousins.

“As a side note, stumbling upon a genuine retail bottle of Fire Cider® from Shire City Herbals recently in a rural, Downeast Maine hardware and sundries store, was, in a way, like coming face to face with a fabled, mythical beast—a real, live, elephant in the room.”

IN MASTERING THE ART OF WAITING, which is not a game, but a rather remarkable and introspective part of the Herbalism process, we learn by doing and multitasking. We succeed by remembering that, just as it takes time for a plant to grow from a seed and yield its goodness as plant medicine, just as it takes time for a bee to do its equally miraculous industry regionally in the pollination process, making herbal products to promote self-healing is a mindful and reflective practice, one that should not, and often cannot, be rushed.

With winter approaching and cold season looming, “Fire Cider,” the beautiful herbal vinegar and recipe that Rosemary Gladstar prominently taught and made famous decades ago and forever since, moved to the top of the must-make-first list for the homemade family apothecary. Making this product, considered a tonic by some, was a lesson in partnering intuition with purpose and productivity.

Following Rosemary’s recipe on page 74 of her book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, a fork in the road appeared, offering an Eastern route, heading to Japan for herbal inspiration. Instead of three tablespoons horseradish, as called for in the recipe, one tablespoon of fresh wasabi (Wasabia japonica or Eutrema japonica) was substituted (fresh from the stem, not paste or powder; beware, real wasabi is much more expensive than horseradish, and packs a powerful punch). Additionally, burdock root (Arctium lappa), known as gobo in Japan, was included. It just felt right. As it turned out, it was an ideal complement to the other Japanese ingredient of wasabi, along with the magnificence of fresh garlic, ginger, onions and warmed organic apple cider vinegar—the original ingredients. The signature addition of gobo’s brilliance in cooling, grounding, and as an immune system strengthener also provided an anticipated balance for the mix for those family members with dry constitutions.

From start to finish, the homemade process took three weeks. The aroma from the ingredients was instantly mouth-watering; it was difficult to say farewell for a time. They were placed in a quart jar and enjoyed a sunny staycation on a windowsill for 21 days.

When the time came, it was as if the stars aligned and the angels rejoiced, especially when the sampling began. To the two-cup yield after straining the herbs, two tablespoons of honey were added for taste; however, no cayenne was added to this batch, despite the recipe calling for it. The powerful energetics of this wisdom in a jar were undeniable.

As a side note, stumbling upon a genuine retail bottle of Fire Cider® from Shire City Herbals recently in a rural, Downeast Maine hardware and sundries store, was, in a way, like coming face to face with a fabled, mythical beast—a real, live, elephant in the room. The proprietor was asked if he knew about the media and legal issues surrounding the single little bottle, displayed all by its lonesome on the shelf. He said that he knew. Then silence. And that was the end of that subject.

Being a branding professional, having designed numerous logos and corporate identity over the years, trademarked design is as common as breathing; however, just as Band-aid® is a registered trademark and common identifier for an adhesive bandage, it is part of the lexicon of American English. Got a cut? Go grab a Band-aid/bandaid! An item of note is that Johnson & Johnson trademarked the name of basically a new invention, in adhesive strips. While only herbalists know what “Fire Cider,” the homemade herbal vinegar, is, it too is part of a lexicon, an international and historic one, in that the tonic and its variant recipes have been used for decades, perhaps centuries in some form, improved upon, and has become mainstream with its benefits duly promoted, by a beloved Herbal Sensei named Rosemary Gladstar. This healthful, liquid herbal goodness is as synonymous with Rosemary Gladstar and integral to the herbal community as first aid is with the Red Cross—and the Red Cross is grateful for the invention of adhesive bandages (and Herbalists consider “Fire Cider” a reputable remedy for first aid, a first responder for colds!).

In branding and marketing a product line, you’re either first or best, preferably both.  Brands are protected, as generally, much thought and ownership goes into the design and concept; for those who don’t know a brilliant, yet affordable design expert, the process can be costly. Trademarking a legacy, a piece of shared history in an herbal remedy, seems preposterous to some, but in reality, it can and has been done (view the Fire Cider® trademark records by a query in the registry at USPTO.gov, including Fire Cider Sauerkraut®). Honoring the trademark ownership, no matter how incongruent it is with the general consensus, is bought and paid for. A clerk, somewhere deep in the recesses of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the registration.

To receive a request to cease and desist the manufacturing and sale of a “fire cider”-like product of a competitor of Shire City Herbals, using their now-trademarked name is warranted in the eyes of U.S. trademark law; however, use of the common moniker of “Fire Cider” by those making their own homemade product, not for sale, but using the name in print or attributing the name with its legacy holder in Rosemary Gladstar should receive a gracious ignore by the trademark owner.

The light at the end of the fire-y tunnel is that registered trademarks need to be regularly renewed with USPTO.gov, which cost money. Moreover, the trademark owner may choose of their own volition to not renew, perhaps selecting another name to herald their new and improved recipe (Shire Fire™, perhaps? Contact the author for terms and ownership transfer, as well as professional re-branding, should you so desire.), so that the masses can enjoy what is indelibly part of their culture and shared history, celebrating it more fully. Everyone wins.

©2017 Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved. The elusive gallon size mason jar next to a quart of CiderCare™, waiting to be filled with the next batch.

There are so many product and business names to choose from, even names that are made up, that become not just lexicon, but verbs (Google, anyone?). That’s the fun of branding. Invention. Innovation. Inspiration. Creation. Why call your cutting-edge product a common, household, home remedy name? The reasons may never be known. In the meantime, this author is celebrating, in being part of a shared community and treasured history of herbal goodness for everyone is right in our cupboards, manifested most tangibly in her not-for-sale and not-at-all-famous, CiderCare™ (you read it here first!). Next time, gallon size, to share!

Author’s Note: Just a shout-out to the herbal goodness and prompt support of “Fire Cider.” Started getting what would have been a wicked cold. Enjoyed some of my first batch of CiderCare™ and BAM! Next morning, I’m a new woman.

Disclaimer: The author is not an attorney, medical professional, nutritionist or dietician. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal advice, medical treatment or diagnosis and is not monitored or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration/FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product. Whenever wildcrafting or foraging in the wild for herbs, be accompanied by an expert and always confirm plant identity with absolute certainty before using or consuming them. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

____________________________________________

The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist/Wildcrafter, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A daily meditator and career Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, she creates as Loretta Boyer McClellan. Her works as a publisher and writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite. 

Alchemy in the Herbalist’s Kitchen: A Tandem Herbal Cookbooks Review

 

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Likewise, the learning method appears, often in the form of a book. If you would have added “cook” with “book,” however, in the past I’d have rolled my eyes—sighed even, out of mock disdain, but in its essence, defeat. Not anymore, as cooking is now a treat.

My family will tell you that historically for me, cooking has been a legacy of lethargy, a bore, even a painful chore for me. They’ll also tell you that suddenly my culinary pursuits—and skills—have taken flight. The reason? Herbalism. Exemplary meals prepared with ease and served with joy are much more meaningful—and probable—when paired with herbs that support self-healing. It is my passion for the Art of Plant Medicine that has ignited a genuine interest in facilitating fine dining in my own home, by my own hand. The answer is indeed a Botaniscape, an inspirational and nurturing botanical view, through the plant allies’ perspective, as I can see clearly now what I’ve been missing, which is a deeper connection with the ingredients and the process.

This renaissance of interest, even success, stems from two cookbooks, yes, COOK-books: Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods and Remedies that Heal by Rosalee de la Forêt, and Recipes from The Herbalist’s Kitchen: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-being by Brittany Wood Nickerson. Although the books are more about herbalism as a way of life than cooking primer, these herbalists have breathed life onto my dinner plate through their words, as I’m not only enriched by them, but truly transformed as a reawakened chef through herbal awareness.

As an author, I must say that nothing can be truer than the writer’s heart and soul pouring out onto the page. Writing is a labor of love. Writing nonfiction is also teaching; not only is the author’s essence ever-present, but their unique style as an educator, as well. Both de la Forêt’s and Nickerson’s culinary and literary stylings resonated. I’m certain that plant energetics and vibrational medicine through the realized, uncomplicated recipes also had something to do with it!

Photo: Garlic Honey ©2017 Loretta McClellan

In Alchemy of Herbs, which was my first herbal goodness cookbook, my inaugural introduction came by way of “Garlic Honey” on page 84. Functioning as effective food-as-medicine, it was my first foray into crafting immune support. After my family got over the fear of garlic breath, it has become our go-to remedy to stave-off the wicked strains of colds and flu that have permeated our region this summer. I felt an atypical summer sore throat coming on, took the garlic honey several times that day and the next day: Poof! Symptoms gone!

Photo: Sage Chicken ©2017 Loretta McClellan

My next recipe from Rosalee’s book has been such a triumph for me I have made it frequently ever since: “Sage Chicken,” on page 166 in the paperback edition, with the sage butter technique courtesy of Jenny McGruther of NourishedKitchen.com, per the recipe’s preface. Using fresh sage, or Salvia officinalis, along with lemons and onions provided a trifecta of delectability! (As a side note, I have both Kindle and paperback editions of this book. I rarely own more than one version of a book. This volume of reference warranted both, as I needed to be able to highlight ad nauseum in the digital version and have the tangible, crisp, page-flipping experience of the printed copy. The only negative is that the book binding separated from the cover at the spine after its first laying open for use while I cooked; repositioning the spine to the cover each use has proven effective). Back to the Sage Chicken recipe: I differ from her recipe a bit, as I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs with the skin on. It is the most delectable dish, so much so, that my family keeps asking me to increase the portions, it’s so yummy!

Rosalee has a considerable online presence as well, through the book’s moderated Facebook page which she comments on, as Education Director for LearningHerbs.com, and her own Herbs by Rosalee (HerbalRemediesAdvice.org), among many others, so I’ve become well acquainted with her methods of conveying herbal benefits, discerning our own individual constitutions, and materia medica on numerous herbs. Each has been a rewarding and fulfilling extension of the book, and most importantly, learning.

Photo: Steak with a Lavender-Black pepper Crust; Tumbled Rosemary Potatoes ©2017 Loretta McClellan

I am only recently introduced to Brittany Wood Nickerson, of ThymeHerbal.com, fortuitously finding her hardcover book at Costco; however, like the blossoms she regularly showcases in her media, her personality as an herbalist immediately opened me up to remembrance and re-discovery. Intuition led me to her book, mostly for the subtle, but noticeable theme of fermented foods, a topic of interest. Regardless of dietary need, however, the cuisine offered between its pages is fantastic!

I love lavender, but wouldn’t have considered at this stage in my culinary ascent in pairing it with beef. Brittany’s “Steak with a Lavender-Black Pepper Crust” recipe on page 120 gave me the courage to be bold; it is a potent, tantalizing entrée, dazzling all the senses, particularly using dried Lavandula angustifolia. I ground the lavender and even peppercorns by hand, using my Japanese style mortar and pestle, a suribachi, for how it was meant to be used—with mindful beauty (see video). The aroma of the two herbs was like a dance—perfect complements to each other. I chose to opt for more control and broil the dish to medium rare, instead of fry in a cast iron pan as directed. Again, my intuition was right. I rarely eat red meat, but when I do again, this will be at the top of the list of menu possibilities!

Along with fresh strawberries, as a side dish to this lavender extravaganza, I opted for simple yet tasty, tumbled baked potatoes with pressed garlic and fresh rosemary drizzled with olive oil, inspired by Rosalee’s “Parsley Potatoes” on page 138. After a day beginning with an homage on Botaniscape.com to Rosemary Gladstar quoting her “Mantra for Home Health Care” from her book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, then noticing for the first time after many visits, of fresh rosemary growing everywhere near my favorite market, my evening meal and day had to be complete with a third rosemary treat!

With each of these herbal-guides-that-double-as-a-cookbook, prepare yourself for an overflowing measure of plant wisdom and easy methods for dishes that are divine. All it takes is intention and a dash of time—or for some recipes, thyme!

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical professional, nutritionist or dietician. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis and is not monitored or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration/FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.


The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, creating as Loretta Boyer McClellan, her works as a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite.