A Tonic for the Troops
Over the course of my childhood, I spent many hours poring over my dad’s collection of Foxfire books, which were chock full of all sorts of tips on living simply, mostly from elderly men and women who grew up in the Appalachian mountains.
So when I read about Fire Cider on ManMadeDIY, the curative tonic, an old folk remedy for colds and general winter wellness, reminded me of some of the concoctions I’d read about all those years ago.
At the end of the article was a tantalizing link to an article at Kaufmann Mercantile Field Notes with the full Fire Cider recipe. It goes something like this:
Fire Cider Recipe
Take these ingredients …
- 1/2 cup grated ginger root
- 1/2 cup grated horseradish
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 10 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 2 jalapeño peppers (chopped)
- sprigs of rosemary
- juice of 1 lemon, plus a small amount of lemon zest
- apple cider vinegar (slightly less than a quart)
… and mix them all together in a quart jar, let it sit in the dark for a month, then combine it with 1/4 cup of honey and drink it. I decided to give it a go.
So off I went gathering ingredients. Horseradish root was a little hard to find. It’s something that many grocery stores don’t seem to keep on stock regularly. I even went to Whole Foods (a store I actively avoid after being accused of stealing a sandwich a few years ago). I eventually found a good chunk of the root at the local Von’s, and purchasing it caused quite a the hullabaloo at the checkout line due to its suggestive appearance.
I brought all the goods home (except the rosemary; I can’t stand the stuff), mixed it all up, sealed it in a jar (I used a piece of waxed paper so the liquid wouldn’t corrode the jar’s metal lid) and set about to waiting patiently as the cider brewed in a dark cabinet.
In the meantime, I had a whole lot of horseradish root just lying around, so I made some horseradish spread, which turned out pretty well.
One Month Later …
After waiting patiently and shaking the jar of cider every morning for a month, I cracked open the jar and strained the golden liquid through cheesecloth in order to get every drop and mixed it with some honey. Then we cautiously gave it a try.
The cider tastes a little sour, a little sweet (thanks to the honey) and a little tangy, but it’s not quite as overpowering as I thought it would be. A teaspoon of the stuff — the suggested daily dosage — still has a good kick, but I expected it to be a bit hotter. Next time I’ll use habañeros instead of jalapeños and maybe add some beet root. There are many different ingredients that can be added add for variety to a batch of Fire Cider — the Mountain Rose Blog lists a lot of other options worth experimenting with.
But since it takes a month to brew a batch and we still have a few months of winter ahead of us, I’ll be starting the next batch very soon.
The name Kaufmann Mercantile may be familiar to you. That might be because they also sell the Kaufmann Mercantile EDC Kit, one of my 2015 Gift Guide picks.