It’s that time of year again! I was always taught that you only harvest horseradish (the key ingredient in fire cider) in months that end in an “R”, and since September was still hot and dry, I waited until early October to harvest my root crops. Unfortunately, my attempt at growing ginger this year was a bust… but I DID manage to grow a small amount of horseradish, some turmeric, onions, garlic, various hot peppers, and all the herbs I put into my fire cider.
Fire Cider is not exactly a ferment… I think it’s more of a tonic, really. You grate and chop all these ingredients, plus lemon juice and zest, and stuff them into a jar. Then cover with apple cider vinegar. I like to cheat and will buy a small jar of ACV “with the mother” to get the probiotic in there, and just finish off the jar with regular distilled ACV, since it will all incorporate anyhow. I let this macerate generally 6-8 weeks, shaking the jar occasionally.
Once that time is up, you simply strain all the solids from the vinegar and pour the vinegar into a clean glass jar, preferably with a (non-reactive) plastic lid. You can throw the solids into a blender and use them as a meat rub or add a bit to broth or soup for a wild kick.
Fire cider is generally drank in a shot glass– I will take at least half a shot’s worth if I’m feeling under the weather or think I may have a virus coming into my system. Definitely drink a full shot if you’re already sick. I suggest you try a small amount of the fire cider first before you decide how you want to take it. I think the easiest way it to just suck it back quick like a shot and slap your hand on the counter top with a whoop. To each his own…
If you aren’t keen on the flavor, you can try adding some honey, or mixing it with some juice or water. It can also help to have some juice nearby as an after-drink once you’ve swallowed the cider. AND if you’re a drinker, it actually goes really well with a little bourbon and mixed into a Hot Toddy.
The benefits of fire cider are simple— it’s basically a massive dose of antiviral medicine that will kick the living crap out of whatever virus (sand some bacteria) has invaded your body. It’s mostly used during winter time, when you’re stuck indoors and around other people, and your body’s immune system is barraged with tons of wee bacteria beasties with no chance of escape in the open air. But it can be helpful for spring time allergies or that weird unexpected summer cold that catches you off guard. Basically, fire cider helps burn the virus out of your body.
Do you take Fire Cider? Or do you make your own? I’ve been making mine every year for over ten years and now my family can’t live without it.