As the season changes and temperatures cool herbalists make a batch of fire cider. This old folk remedy aims to keep the chill away and prevent colds. With garlic, horseradish, ginger, and onions – all phytonutrient powerhouses – the nutritional biochemist in me is intrigued.
I made my first batch based on a recipe given to me by my herbal teacher Pam Montgomery. Pam’s recipe called for a fresh cayenne pepper, but couldn’t find that fresh so used a  jalapeno.
I’ve got tons of leftover horseradish to play with this week. Culinary adventure to be sure.


This recipe comes with some gentle cautions. I handle fresh horseradish and hot peppers with gloves. The heating phytochemicals in these plants can actually burn tender skin. They are powerful and demand respect, but please don’t let that stop you from exploring.



1/4 cup fresh horseradish root, cleaned and chopped
1/2 cup fresh ginger, cleaned and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
1/2 vidalia onion, peeled and sliced
1 bulb (about 8 cloves) garlic, peeled
1/2 cup local honey
2-3 cups apple cider vinegar (or to fill your container)


Place all non-liquid in a clean quart-sized container with a lid.  Add honey, and fill remainder of container with apple cider vinegar. Close lid, tilt container several times to mix. Let sit in a cool place for 4 weeks.
Strain garlic, onions and non-liquid ingredients from container. Use a tsp of this spicy cider to ward off the chill, or 3 tsp a day if you feel a cold coming on.
I’ll report back on how mine batch works through the season!
Mountain Rose herbal has some great sounding variations on their blog.
What are your strategies for warming up the cooler seasons?