Garden Lifestyle

Elderberry and Fire Cider Elixir

After I posted the recent blog on fire cider, I received a request for this recipe--so here it is.

Time to dig horseradish after the first frost! It has antibacterial properties, stimulates the digestion, and it is an expectorant. It also is a sudorific (makes you sweat) so I use it for colds and flu.
Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

Elderberry and Fire Cider Elixir
Susan Belsinger

This elixir is well known amongst herbalists and has been made by many of us for years now. Check out this easy recipe–I make this every fall after I harvest my horseradish–to use throughout the winter months for a general tonic and to help fight colds and flu. The creator of this recipe is Rosemary Gladstar; the first time I tasted Fire Cider Vinegar was when I took her Herbal Apprentice Course in 2004 and have been making my own version ever since.

To make fire cider, I grate the horseradish and gingerroot, chop the garlic and onion and mince the chile peppers. Add the larger amount of chile pepper if you like it hot. I sometimes add elderberries for an additional boost for the immune system–it does make it a darker color. I don’t really measure–just sort of follow the recipe loosely–I usually double the recipe so I have plenty for my family and some to share.

I try to remember to shake it daily and let it infuse for anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks–although if I need it I use it even after just 24 hours of infusion. Sometimes, I strain it off and other times, I just decant it as needed. Some folks like to add a little bit of honey to make it more palatable, which also is great for coughs or a scratchy throat. I take it straight by the teaspoonful, however it can be diluted with water or a bit of juice.

 Makes about 1 generous quart
About 1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish root
1 bulb garlic; cloves peeled and chopped
About 1 cup chopped onion
About 1/2 cup grated gingerroot
1 or 2 cayenne peppers (any hot chiles will do), fresh or dried, chopped, or about 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
Scant 1/2 cup dried elderberries or about 1 cup fresh elderberries
1 fresh lemon, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
About 1 to 1 1/2 quarts organic apple cider vinegar
1/2 to 1 cup local honey

Place all ingredients in a large jar (needs to be bigger than a quart to hold all of the botanical ingredients) and cover with apple cider vinegar. Seal with non-metal lid. Steep for 8 weeks, shake it daily if you think about it.

(If you need to use some before the 8 weeks infusion time is up-just pour some out as needed-it is even good the first week). When ready, strain, pressing on the marc to release all of the essences, into a clean jar. Chickens love the leftover botanical marc and so does the compost pile.

Add honey to taste if desired; about 1/2 cup is enough for me though some like to add a cup or so. Cover tightly and label jar. Take a spoonful everyday. When I’m feeling cold, sore throat or flu symptoms-I take it by the shotglass a few times a day-sipping slowly and letting it mix with saliva before swallowing.

Here’s to good health and healthy gift-giving this year!

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  1. holisitcmom 01/30/2020

    Is it safe to consume raw dehydrated elderberries?

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