Outside the days are grey and damp, but in the kitchen I just finished straining a batch of my favorite warming winter tonic, Fire Cider. I first learned about it when I was studying herbs in the states with my teachers Rosemary Gladstar and Margi Flint. Now I can't imagine not having it on my shelf. It's a traditional folk remedy that includes, onions, garlic, horseradish, ginger, and cayenne covered with apple cider vinegar. It's warming and decongestant, stimulates digestion and increases circulation. I like to let it steep for 4-8 weeks, so it's one you need to plan ahead for, though it doesn't take much time to make otherwise.
There are all sorts of variations on the recipe out there. Below is the one that I use...
1/2 cup horseradish grated
1/2 cup ginger grated
1 onion chopped
8-10 garlic cloves
1-2 cayenne peppers diced
Few sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
Few sprigs thyme leaves stripped and chopped
Small handful parsley chopped
1-2 turmeric roots chopped
Put everything into a sterilized quart size jar. Fill with apple cider vinegar and cover (use parchment paper to keep the vinegar from touching the lid if using a metal lid). Now just set it aside on a counter or cupboard and wait...at least 2 weeks, but I prefer to let it go for 4-8 weeks. After waiting, strain it through a sieve. Some people like to add a bit of raw honey to it at this point. I take the vinegar as a tonic by adding a tablespoon to a glass of water, or adding into salad dressings or marinades...be creative! The left over veggies and herbs can be mixed with honey for a tasty chutney or added into stir fries or other meals for seasoning.