My Florida grandmother gave me a copy of Dr. D.C. Jarvis’s book of Vermont Folk Medicine a few years ago and it’s been a trusted source of home remedies in our home ever since. Jarvis was a 1950s Vermont physician who believed in common-sense health practices and apple cider vinegar. Honestly, that about sums up his medical philosophy. Every possible ailment from chronic fatigue to food poisoning to potassium deficiency gets a prescription of apple cider vinegar and honey. He also has a theory that humans should maintain a “racial diet” based on the foods our ancestors ate. That part’s a little 1950s, but even it has some wisdom. For example, if your ancestors were Norweigian and ate mostly fish, potatoes and seaweed, you probably want to eat more fish than red meat.
Anyways, he’s right about apple cider vinegar. It’s powerful stuff. Funny story: as newlyweds living in remote Appalachia in the late 70s, my Mom would drink ACV a couple times a day, wash her hair with it and clean the house with it… much to my father’s dismay. My mom and dad would tell that story very differently. That smell just doesn’t go away. Luke can relate.
I revisited my tattered copy again this week as I fought off my first cold of the season. Successfully, I might add. I’d been gathering the ingredients to make Rosemary Gladstar‘s Fire Cider for a while now (it’s not that easy to find fresh horseradish root around here, and you can forget about organic), and it finally came together on a day when I just so happened to need a shot of the stuff. The smells alone of all those pungent roots and spices were enough to set my sinuses in motion.
It’s only going to get more powerful after a month of stewing. Some people apparently bury theirs in the garden…
Chop or grate equal parts onion, garlic and horseradish.
Add at least half of one part fresh, grated ginger root (you can add more if you like).
Put all chopped roots in a large canister. Add cayenne pepper to taste, or, one to two chopped fresh cayenne peppers. (I used one habanero pepper). I also added a tablespoon of turmeric for flavor, color and medicinal value.
Pour in enough Apple Cider Vinegar to cover the mixture plus two inches. Seal and label the jar, and put away in some forgotten cabinet for at least 2-3 weeks. After this time, decant the liquid and flavor with honey. Add a Tablespoon to tea, salad dressings, over veggies, or any way you like. The high concentration of vitamins and minerals are great for boosting the immune system and ward off germs all winter long.