As we move into the height of cold/flu season, I recommend keeping some herbal essentials in your cupboard for helping to fight off and prevent infections, as well as ease respiratory congestion. One of my favorite tonics to incorporate during the fall and winter is an infused medicinal vinegar called "Fire Cider." Orignally coined by famous herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, this recipe has several variations but usually includes garlic, onions, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric all infused in raw apple cider vinegar for a month or more. The result is a spicy tonic guaranteed to give your immune system a kick in the pants and potentially grow some hair on your chest (just kidding!). Once made, Fire Cider can be added to hot water and made into a tea, drizzled on your greens, or added to olive oil to make a delicious salad dressing.
Some of you may have purchased Fire Cider from me at the Market Square Holiday Market this year and I promise to continue to offer it at market through March. For those of you interested in making your own, below is a great recipe:
Makes a little over 1 quart
1 qt raw apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, chopped
2 T powdered turmeric
2 T grated/chopped fresh ginger
1-2 tsp cayenne
1/4- 1/2 cup raw local honey
* Optional: 1/4 c grated fresh horseradish
Step 1: Prepare ingredients. Combine the vinegar, onion, garlic, horseradish, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne in a mason jar and let steep, covered for 3-4 weeks. In order to keep the mason jar lid from reacting with the vinegar and rusting, cut a piece of parchment paper and place this in between the jar and screwed on jar lid.
Step 2: Strain vinegar and then add honey. If you want to store your Fire Cider in the same mason jar, make sure to keep the parchment paper there. I store mine in brown glass bottles with non-reactive black plastic lids. Fire Cider is shelf stable and doesn't need to be refrigerated but you can certainly do so if it makes you feel better. An adult dosage is 1T to fight off infection, up to 3-4x/day. I recommend diluting it in water to avoid irritating your stomach. I like making mine into a tea by diluting with hot water with a little bit of lemon. Fire Cider also makes a delicious preventative medicine. Feel free to incorporate it into your meals by adding olive oil and making a salad dressing or adding to your greens.