One of my favorite ways to fight coughs and colds and generally stimulate the immune system in the winter (and all year-round) is with a delicious tonic called Fire Cider. First conceived of by American herbalist and author Rosemary Gladstar, the idea is to add a combination of immune supportive foods and herbs that make it spicy, delicious and very healthy to a base of apple cider vinegar! Since its conception, many other herbalists also have crafted their own fabulous recipes, including Mountain Rose Herbs. Some people (me!) like to drink a shot straight up, and others add it to dressings, sauces, soups or even to their juice for a little kick.
The fun of making fire cider is that you can get really creative with ingredients and amounts. For instance, I tend to go very heavy on horseradish and garlic, and this year I added cranberries to make it look extra-gorgeous!
Here is my base recipe, which I usually put in 32 oz Ball jar (multiply as needed for larger batches):
- 1 large organic red onion, chopped
- 15 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped organic ginger root (unpeeled is fine)
- 1/2 cup chopped organic horseradish root (unpeeled is fine)
- 1-3 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 1-2 organic lemons—juice and zest
- organic apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- raw honey to taste
Optional: fresh or dried orange zest, rosehips, elderberries, cranberries, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, turmeric root or powder, cayenne, black cumin or black or pink peppercorns.
- Pack all the ingredients so that they fill the jar about 2/3-3/4 to the top.
- Place fermenting weight (I use a clean rock) on top of the ingredients so they stay submerged and none float to the top.
- Fill the jar with ACV, making sure to cover the contents and then some—the various ingredients can expand as they absorb the ACV.
- Cover with lid and place in a dark place for 4 weeks or longer.
- When ready to eat, strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and add honey to taste. Mix well.
- Store in fridge and enjoy!