Fire Cider

Cold and flu season is steadily approaching and I usually do absolutely zero to prepare for that but I'm back in an office now (hooray) and I really don't want to deal with other peoples germs. I've always been a fan of home remedies and last year, i  had an annoying chest cold situation that wouldn't get worse or better (I was not in "need a doctor" stages and doctors are honestly my last last last resort) but I was determined to defeat it and headed to a juice bar to take a shot of ginger hoping it would help.

It was the first time I ever did a ginger shot and oh my god does it burn.
But it felt productive so I bought enough to take daily for a week, something the juice shop thought was extremely strange by the way, but they gave me a glass jar to keep it safe and wished me luck. At something like $3-4 a shot it wasn't economical at all but it seemed to be working. I felt great while taking the daily shot but if I skipped two days I felt it building again so I went back to the shop and asked them to add a few shots of turmeric to the next weekly batch and suddenly I was cured! Seriously, it was pretty instantaneous, all hail the power of turmeric I guess. After that I started looking toward more natural remedies than the honey, lemon and ginger tea cures of my youth.

My research pointed me toward Fire Cider, it's a recipe for the kind of herbal tonic that sounds absolutely gross but cures and prevents almost any ailment. I haven't made it before, so let me slow down on accusing it of being gross but sheesh the stuff that go into this thing... It's pungent, hot, sour and sweet should strip any signs of a cold, cough or chill right off of you. 


This is very easy to make but requires time to brew. I hope you join me on making a batch for yourself and we can discover together how amazing it is. The "recipe", more like a formula, involves lots of chopping and artfully stuffing the ingredients into a sealable quart sized glass jar that you won't miss for 30 days and filling it to capacity with apple cider vinegar with the mother. Then you let it sit and wait for a minimum of 2 weeks but 4 weeks is best. Shake the jar every once in awhile during this period. Once you're ready to use it strain the liquid from the solids, squeezing out as much liquid as you can from the solids and mix in 1/4 cup of local organic honey - due to it's added health properties - discard the solids and store the brewed ACV blend in a clean glass jar.

The ingredients are a fluid, use what you have and what you can find. I don't think I saw any recipes that called for turmeric but being now firmly convinced of the goodness and power of turmeric I made sure to track down the fresh root and added it. I knew it was going to stain my hands but I didn't care, I had yellow fingers for a few days, if you care please wear gloves when you peel and chop turmeric. If you can't find it or don't want to deal with it then add 1/2 tsp of powdered turmeric after you've strained the tonic and shake to dissolve. 

Spices and herbs are optional, you can omit bay leaves, anise, cardamom and whole black pepper if you'd like and add fresh rosemary, thyme or cinnamon sticks. I didn't have fresh rosemary and thyme and wanted both the medicinal properties of the added spices and hopefully an bit of infusion of flavor. If you have oranges or blood oranges (which I forgot to buy) add those and omit lime or lem


Horseradish: clears sinus blocks, fights off a cough, sore-throat, wards away bronchitis, relieves headaches

Ginger: great for digestion, warms up the circulatory system, helps fight infection and is soothes nausea

Onion: infection fighter and assists in detoxifying the body

*Garlic: super power of bacteria fighting, combats odds of becoming sick, reduces length of cold and strength of symptoms

Turmerictreats colds, congestion, headache, soothes arthritis pain. powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant

*Jalapeño: soothes sore throat, nasal decongestant, warms circulatory system, great source of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6

*Lemon: soothes a sore throat, stimulates the liver to help detox and digest

*Lime: high in vitamin c! can aid the body in absorbing iron

Black Peppercorns: improves digestion, relieves cold and cough, has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties

Star Anise: treats cough and flu, improves digestion, alleviates cramps, reduces nausea

Green Cardamom: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory

Bay Leafvitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron. As a tea it's great to soothe aches and clear congestion 

Apple Cider Vinegar w Mother: a great digestive aid, lowers blood pressure and great preservative - no worries about leaving this unattended for a month

*Anything I was not peeling I made sure to buy organic and washed thoroughly.

How to Take
How you decide to take this is up to you, use it only to treat the signs of an oncoming cold or flu or as a preventative daily measure. You can take a spoonful each morning, take a shot glass full daily, add a to hot water or tea throughout the day. If you want to mask the flavor try it in juices or lemonade until you find the taste that works best. I have even seen some suggestions for using it to make salad dressing!

Because of the nature of the non-recipe there aren't a ton of specifics here. I used a 1 qt sealing Weck storage jar and I measured out my ingredients to comply with that, if you're using something larger or smaller please adjust as you need to.

1/4 cup horseradish, about 5 inches, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup ginger, about 5 inches, peeled and sliced
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and gently crushed with a wooden spoon
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalepeño sliced or quartered
1/4 cup turmeric peeled and chopped
1 lemon cut or sliced
1 lime cut or sliced
1 star anise pod
1 tsp whole black pepper
1 bay leaf
3-4 green cardamom pods
2 cups ACV with Mother, shaken well 

Layer in the jar as listed, with horseradish as the base, citrus at the top with spices and slowly pour ACV over the top until the jar is as full as it can be and safely be closed without spilling. For me this was about 2 cups. If you are using a Mason jar or a jar with a metal lid cover the top of the jar with wax or parchment paper before sealing to avoid corrosion. Brew for 2-4 weeks. Strain through cheesecloth or fine mesh add 1/4 cup of honey and powdered turmeric if needed, store in an airtight jar.

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