January 19, 2012 @ 10:16 AM

   I have long forgotten who came up with the name or original recipe for Fire Cider--but Thank You, whoever you are!! This potent concoction is easy to make and my recipe varies depending upon what grew well in my garden on any given year and what sorts of organic veggies I can get at my local Farmer's Market. What is it? It is one of (sometimes, my only) first lines of defense against winter colds and flu---but it also is fantastic if you get a bit of food poisoning. But it is not for the faint of heart and it is hard--maybe abusive- to make kids take it. I think it is an adults only remedy. Basically, it is making a fresh tonic with vinegar as the base (menstrum) and all the hot herbs and vegetables you can get your hands on. For my family, to get through a cold, long Central New York winter, I make a gallon. Here is how I make it:

Fill a clean jar 1/2 full of any of the following-- sliced or chopped ~

Radishes( roots and leaves), horseradish, hot peppers, nasturtium (flowers, leaves and seeds), cabbage, garlic, garlic mustard leaves, onions, chives.

If I hear that flu season will be a bad one or that some other widespread contagion is expected, I add  some Spilanthes and Burdock root.

Fill the jar with a good, organic APPLE cider vinegar and use a plastic lid or use a plastic baggie inside a metal lid as vinegar corrodes metal.

Cider, on its own is phenominal as an immune stimulant and killer of bad stomach bacteria and as an aid to various chronic problems like arthritis. But, when combined with all these veggies, roots and herbs, it becomes a perfect health safeguard.

All you need is a 1 tsp.-1 Tbsp. per day--depending upon weight, which doesn't sound like much--but it takes some getting used to. I do dilute it quite a bit with water to get young children to take it, and because of their nimble systems, it still works. But for adults, be brave and take it full strength.

After making this, you can start taking it once it has steeped for 24 hours, but it actually begins to mellow and taste "rich" the longer it steeps. If you begin to run out, all you need to do is add more vinegar (making sure there is always enough vinegar to cover all the plant material). Don't make more than you can use in 8-9 months. Whatever is left can go in your compost bin--(or one year I used the leftovers to pour down an ill placed ant hill.). The next gardening season will give you  fresh plants to work with. I suspect, that plants, in any given year, being affected so closely by environmental cues, will offer us different strengths of their constituents that will help those of us living in close proximity to them---giving us exactly what we need.

It is not too late to try Fire Cider this year as long as you have good source of organic produce. Try it. You will like it...after awhile, anyway. But, whether you ever get used to the taste, it works!!