The Fight of the Cider
This week's recipe is brought to you by my friend Kimber Sider. She gifted me a bit of this particular magic for the holidays, and let me tell ya - this Fire Cider packs a mean, immune boosting, punch! I begged her (though it didn't take THAT much convincing) to share her recipe with me, and with all of you! Enjoy.
Winter may have gotten a slow and erratic start this year, and although the lack of snow and reasonable temperatures are good for my dachshund’s outdoor ambitions, it is more challenging for our hearts, minds, and bodies. We know it is winter—yet it feels like fall or spring. It’s hard to dress for—leaving us constantly over heated or chilled through with the depths of the dampness. Our bodies are confused, and are having to work extra hard to keep up and stay the course, leaving us open to illness and needing extra support to carry us through to spring.
A few years ago my cousin’s partner, Maddie, introduced to me to this recipe by Rosemary Gladstar, and since then it has become a staple of my winter regime to stay healthy, grounded, and vibrant—all crucial attributes needed to enjoy the winter weather. While I have many remedies on hand to keep the colds and flu at bay, Fire Cider has become my favourite option due to its vitality, energy, and access—it is simple to make and keeps well.
I play fairly fast and loose with these measurements, so don’t feel you need to stick too closely to the outline. I rarely add less than listed, but often add more in order to make use of everything I have on hand.
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped,
3-4 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
3-4 tablespoons of freshly grated horseradish root
Apple cider vinegar, unpasteurized
Building the Fire:
Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, and horseradish in a wide mouthed glass jar (something along the lines of a quart sized mason jar). Warm the apple cider vinegar on the stove and pour enough into the jar to cover all of the already added ingredients. The warming is important to activate the cider and aide it in drawing out all of the greatness from the fixings.
Seal the jar and place it in a warm spot. I keep mine in the sunniest window in my house. Let it sit for at least 3-4 weeks, and up to a few months (I do four weeks).
Strain the mixture and discard all of the spent roots and vegetables. It will leave you with a cloudy vinegar mixture.
Add honey and cayenne to taste. Taking a swig of Fire Cider should be an intense, but not unpleasant experience, with the flavour being sweet, hot, and pungent. Make sure you are stirring it up well before you taste it or take it, as much of the awesomeness settles to the bottom.
Take a few spoonfuls (1-2 tablespoons) at the first sign of a cold (the second things feel congested or your throat has a tickle). Repeat this, as needed, every few hours.
I personally like taking it this way (a few spoonfuls straight out of the jar), and there are additional benefits to having the cider at full strength hit the back of your throat, but if it is to intense, then you can dilute it in water and drink it that way.
Put the jar of Fire Cider in your fridge, and you have it handy for whenever you need it.
Although you can make Fire Cider at any time of year, I have started making mine for the season in the late summer or early fall when the sun has some extra juice to really heat up the process and draw out all the great nutrients from the mix.
You can use any type of apple cider vinegar and honey (whatever you have on hand), but going for unpasteurized and raw will provide extra benefits and really keep up the cider’s fighting abilities, while supporting numerous other bodily functions.
I had never used fresh horseradish root before my first go at this recipe, and found it obnoxious to grate, so this year I chose freshly grated organic horseradish from a jar to cut down on the labour and it seems to have worked just as well.
I also chose to grate the ginger whole, skin and all, and that seems equally brilliant and less effort than peeling it first.
This year I doubled the recipe and made it in a massive 4L mason jar. Since my first batch kept for two years, and covered me for a full two winters, I decided making more was better so that I could either share the extra with others (such as with the lovely lady behind this website) or not have to make it again for quite some time.
Fire Cider also makes an excellent digestive aide, so taking a spoonful or two before or after meals will help your body breakdown your tasty treats and get their full benefits.
Fire Cider can also be added to salad dressings to give it a bit of kick and add a little extra healing to all your meals.