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Garden Lifestyle

Fire Cider Vinegar

This elixir is well known amongst herbalists, created by Rosemary Gladstar, and has been made by many of us for years now.

  • I use Fire Cider Vinegar as a tonic and to ward off flu and colds. It can be added to vinaigrettes and I use it as part of the dressing for vegetables en escabeche. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Basic essential ingredients are horseradish root, gingerroot, garlic, onion, cayenne peppers and organic apple cider vinegar.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Horseradish 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
  • Ginger is a warming root, it aids in digestion and nausea, and helps with coughs and colds. 
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • The alliums are also antibacterial and I use them daily for good health and to keep germs at bay. Garlic's antimicrobial qualities help fight infection.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • The warming virtues of cayenne peppers aid in digestion, and increase the flow of mucous, as well as the circulation. I use any hot chile pepper if I don't have cayenne.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Grate horseadish and gingerroot and finely chop the alliums and chiles--this can be done in a food processor--do not puree.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Put the grated roots, alliums and chiles into a large jar for infusion.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Cover the prepared herbs with organic apple cider vinegar. Use a tight-fitting lid so the vinegar can be shaken daily.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Be sure to label the jar and note the date that the fire cider vinegar was made. Infuse for 4 to 8 weeks.
    Photo/Illustration: 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.

The basic recipe includes fresh horseradish root, gingerroot, garlic, onion and cayenne peppers infused in organic apple cider vinegar. There are many different adaptations. The Free Fire Cider Web site (www.freefirecider.com) includes lemons, oranges, rosemary and turmeric. In the past, I have added elderberries for an additional boost for the immune system–it does make it a darker color. (For further info on keeping fire cider vinegar free for the people rather than trademarked see the aforementioned Web site).

To make fire cider, I grate the horseradish and gingerroot, chop the garlic and onion and mince the chile peppers. 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 6 weeks–although if I need it I use it even after jsut 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.

The following recipe is an adaptation by Andrea Reisen, of Healing Spirits Herb Farm and Education Center (www.healingspiritsherbfarm.com), published in the International Herb Association’s book Horseradish, Herb of the Year 2011. (Book is available at www.iherb.org). I take it straight by the teaspoonful, however it can be diluted with water or a bit of juice. Andrea also uses it as a rub for sore muscles and aching joints.

 

Makes about 1 quart

 

1/2 cup grated horseradish root

1/8 cup chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup grated gingerroot

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 quart organic apple cider vinegar

Some people like to add a little honey to taste

 

Place all ingredients in a quart jar and cover with apple cider vinegar. Cover tightly and label jar. Steep for 8 weeks; strain into a clean jar.

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

 

 

 

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