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Fire Cider is a tonic, originally made by Rosemary Gladstar in the late 1970’s. She created a base recipe to strengthen the immune system, warding off colds and flu, using easy-to-source ingredients that could be made at home.

The base recipe consisted of equal parts horseradish, ginger, garlic and onion, with a small amount of cayenne pepper, all infused into apple cider vinegar and left for a month to mature, then strained and sweetened with honey. This base recipe was intended to be added upon to tailor the tonic for various other requirements.

The way I make Fire Cider:
½ cup horseradish
½ cup ginger
½ cup garlic cloves (number of cloves varies depending on size)
1 medium onion
½ cup fresh turmeric (can use powder – about a heaped tablespoon)
1 whole orange
1 whole lemon
2 fresh chillies (or 1 tsp cayenne pepper – more if you like it hot)
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
A few bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon

Finely chop or grate all ingredients. Put into a clean 2L jar and fill with apple cider vinegar (preferably raw, organic) until all ingredients are covered and seal with a plastic lid.

Put in a cool dark place and shake daily for a month.
Strain the liquid and sweeten with honey to taste – start with about ¼ cup honey.

A tablespoon a day, either straight or in water or juice is said to have numerous benefits.

Fire Cider can also be used in cooking for dressings or just adding a bit of extra flavour to salads/casseroles/soups. Thyme, rosemary, star anise, carrots, other citrus and apple are just some of the other things you can add.

It is best to source organic (unsprayed at least) ingredients, because toxic chemicals are not going to be of benefit to health. Try to use local honey. Not only is it supporting local producers, but it will give better protection for allergies in the local area.

These ingredients are all in season at the moment and are readily available locally. Ask around for the horseradish. I’ve not seen the root in the shops but Thrive Sustainability (our local edible plant nursery) sells horseradish plants. They are easy to grow – in pots because it can take over.