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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fire Cider - A Remedy For Winter Colds

Looking down the funnel it really does look like a fire in the hole!

Autumn is the time to look to your herbal remedies pantry store.
Elderberry tincture is a must have in our house with it's anti-viral, anti-bacterial and immune boosting properties. A single dose at the first sign of illness is usually enough to stop it in it's tracks. I gather my berries in late summer and the tincture has infused and is now bottled and labelled in the pantry.
Next month I'll gather wild rose hips from the hedgerows to make Vit C boosting rose hip cordial. When you are under the weather it is lovely to sip in hot water.
But now is the time for fire cider making, a very old warming cold and flu remedy.

This is another infusion that needs to sit for a month but instead of a tincture of alcohol this one is made in cider vinegar.
Autumn is the time for harvesting fresh horseradish root which seems to be one of the key ingredients in many recipes and I especially thank Julie in Hobart for dropping some off into my letterbox. We've never met but have shared the same life interests via facebook for years-don't you just love this social net working.
There are many fire cider recipes on the net and certainly Rosemary Gladstar's you tube clip would be my most recommended go-to.

Roughly chop ingredients into small pieces, either by hand or use a processor. I am making my infusion in a Fowlers jar, so handy for many uses, and a wide mouth funnel aids the job here. You don't need fancy equipment in the kitchen but my word a selection of funnels makes life easier.

So here are my ingredients;
A large handful of scrubbed, chopped, fresh horseradish root
1 large or 2 small chopped onions
a whole corm of garlic chopped
A fresh piece of ginger about the size of my hand
1 large heaped tablespoon of ground turmeric
1 modest tablespoon of cayenne pepper
Place all of the above in a glass jar and cover with a good cider vinegar, raw and unfiltered still containing the mother. Cover and leave to macerate and infuse for a lunar month. Strain into a clean bottle and label.

You can take a dose neat as a tablespoonful or you could add it to water to sip and even use it as a salad dressing. If you are really under the weather, sip in hot water with a teaspoon of honey added and get into bed, you should feel thoroughly warmed and may even produce a good cleansing sweat. Do not underestimate the power of simple ingredients like the alums in this recipe and you can read more about working with the body to shed illness in this post here about a common cold recipe I use from Dorothy Hall.

(The above is not medical advice but simple folk remedies that I use. It is for information only and does not intend to replace or contradict any therapy or treatment recommended by your health care provider)


  1. Never heard of this Tanya, but very interesting......could've done with a dose of it last week, when the boys very kindly shared their cold with me!!

    Lovely, sunny day here, everything is lovely and green after some good rain. Beautiful time of year......

    Claire xx

  2. Love, love, love this idea!! I'm definitely going to make some. I need to find a source of horseradish first as mine hasn't done too well over this dry summer.
    Thanks Tanya for this brilliant post!

  3. I've never heard the phrase "with the Mother." What does it mean?

    1. Sorry Nancy, for some reason I'm not getting some of the notifications of comments so apologies for the late reply. The "mother" refers to the wort of the vinegar or the starter, like as in ginger beer. Hope that helps

  4. I am wondering if you think this would work with Kombucha instead of AC vinegar?

    1. As I understand the process, the use of the vinegar, while extracting the herbal benefits, provides a highly acidic environment, so it is semi preserving and discouraging to bacterial growth. Kombucha is a fermented tea and while it has the preservative power of the lacto-bacillus, I’m not sure that it would provide the same outcome. Instead of extracting the medicinals, you might be fermenting them and creating something entirely different. I wonder if you would also be dealing with an unstable environment. Remember that even though these things are natural there are still rules for food handling and it is important to understand the work of good and bad bacteria and the environments they favour. What are your thoughts on this angle? We’ll put it out there and see what others think also.
      Thanks for the question, it’s a good one!


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