Most of you have probably heard of Fire Cider sometimes referred to as Fire Tonic. It is an apple cider vinegar (ACV) based infusion of spicy roots, vegetables and herbs with a hot flavor traditionally used as a folk remedy for the common cold. People have been known to take a spoonful daily as an immune booster and to aid digestion.
The health benefits of ACV date back to 400 BC as noted by Hippocrates, but no one knows when the blended elixir we know today as Fire Cider first came into being. It’s as if it has always been a part of the American homestead. Regardless of its origins, fire cider has been shown to shorten or lessen the length of a cold or flu and to reduce the severity of symptoms. Though it’s health benefits have been touted by its users for generations, it has not been formally tested by the FDA.
Rosemary Gladstone, founding member of the Northeast Herbal Association, Inc. http://www.northeastherbal.org/, has a good basic recipe below. Once you have mastered this recipe, feel free to add your own herbs and spices as your needs require.
Put ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, peppers, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary and turmeric in a quart canning jar. Cover with raw apple cider vinegar by about two inches. Using a piece of parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to avoid corrosion, close tightly. Shake well daily and store in a dark place.
Let it infuse for about a month or longer shaking it daily. After a month, use a cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. This is when you add the ¼ cup of honey and stir until blended. Taste the cider and add more honey to reach your desired flavor. Fire cider should taste hot, spicy and sweet.
Store in a temperature controlled, preferably dark place and it will keep up to one year. You can refrigerate it if you prefer it cold.
1) Always choose raw ACV with the “mother”. We recommend the brand called Bragg’s from the 20th century health guru, Paul Bragg’s, daughter found in most grocery stores.
2) When grating a horseradish root, wear protective glasses and be aware of the strong pungent odiferous. You don’t want to get it in your eye! It will burn like fire!
3) Root powder can be used as a substitute where the ginger, turmeric or horseradish roots are unavailable. But where available, the raw root is best. You do not have to peel the roots prior to grating. Just throw it all in there.
Fire Cider is also delicious used in a salad dressing, home-made mustard, coleslaw, soup and so much more. Save the left over pulp and add it to stir fry vegetables or any hot spicy dish. Use it sparingly as it can be quite strong!
Could this be the “spring tonic” referred to in Mark Twain’s book, Tom Sawyer, in which Aunt Polly gives tonic to Tom? Then Tom gives it to the cat sending it into fits running around the house?
Have you made your own Fire Cider? What special ingredients did you add? Have you used it to treat a cold? Share what you have learned with us. We love to hear from our members.
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