This apple cider vinegar fire tonic is an anti-inflammatory, high potency, immune boosting concoction that needs to sit for at least 14 days to develop before you start using it. Vinegar is the bath in which ginger, turmeric, horseradish, habanero peppers, garlic and a few other goodies macerate into a flavorful, pungent, spicy and very active condiment/tonic. This old folk remedy can be used for colds and flu, hangovers, and as a general immune boosting, anti-inflammatory formula. It's also great in salad dressings, stirred into soups, stir fries, or whisked into mayonnaise to give it a kick.
It's pretty common knowledge that unfiltered apple cider vinegar has some great health benefits linked to it. It's antibacterial and antiviral, so can help with colds, congestion and sore throats; it can aid digestion, soothe an upset tummy and may help regulate blood sugar; it can help with skin conditions like eczema and dandruff; it may help with cholesterol levels and heart health. Apple cider vinegar is very high in acetic acid, so should always be diluted in water or some other carrier. Look for organic apple cider vinegar with a cloudy bloom in it: this is the "mother" fermentation in the vinegar and is a sign of quality. Some recipes blend all of the ingredients together briefly; I like to layer the sliced vegetables and roots and allow them to infuse the vinegar slowly. Both options are fine, and it's ultimately a matter of personal preference.
- ½ cup sliced, peeled fresh ginger root
- ½ cup freshly grated peeled horseradish root
- 1 sliced onion
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and gently crushed
- 2 habanero peppers (alternatively, use Scotch bonnet, jalapeño or Serrano peppers) sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced crosswise
- 1 3-inch long piece of turmeric root, peeled and grated or sliced very thin
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, sliced on the diagonal
- 1 quart organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I prefer Bragg's)
- Raw organic local honey (optional)
Layer the ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, habanero peppers, lemon, turmeric and lemongrass in a clean glass jar. Pour the vinegar over the roots and vegetables and fill the jar to the top. (Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse to rough chop, then pour the mixture into the jar.) Cover the jar with plastic or waxed paper before screwing on the lid, as the acid from the vinegar can cause rust to form.
Place the jar in a cool dark place for at least 14 and up to 60 days (it just keeps getting stronger) and shake the mixture once a day. After aging the mixture, strain thoroughly through a very fine sieve or cheesecloth and squeeze all liquid out of the solids. Discard the plant matter and decant the tonic in clean jars. The tonic can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, and lasts for months. You can mix it in hot water with a bit of honey to taste, or use it in cooking as listed above, in which case it's better unsweetened. Start by taking a tablespoon each day and work up to a small shot, but always dilute it: this is strong stuff and could aggravate your throat. On another note, I don't recommend the tonic for pregnant or nursing women, as the ingredients could be both stimulating and irritating. If you are sensitive to any of the ingredients, just adapt the recipe accordingly.
Makes about 1 quart
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||0 g|
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||0 g|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g|