As the weather takes a turn for the chillier side of things, it's nice to have a little something firey to warm things up and ward off germs. When I'm feeling under the weather, I like having natural cold remedies to rely on. All the better if I've made them myself. Rosemary Gladstar's fire cider has been a pantry staple for herbalists for years and I first learned to make it last year when I was still working at the farm. It was a cold-weather savior around this tiny apartment last winter, and we're hoping for a repeat this year.
The concoction packs an impressive punch and just preparing these hard-working ingredients will do wonders to clear your sinuses. Honestly, prepare yourself for some tears. You can change the exact proportions of ingredients depending on your personal taste, but I used these ingredients and proportions:
1 part chopped onion
1 part grated horseradish root (fresh is better, even if it takes searching a few markets to find it)
1 part peeled and diced ginger
1 part garlic
2 cayenne peppers
Enough apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs (I used about 20 oz of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, my favorite)
After a month (or so) of letting everything sit pretty, strain (and discard!) all the herbs and add a few tablespoons of honey--enough to make the cider just a little bit sweet.
Once it's steeped and strained, you can sip the stuff by the spoonful as a tonic to support immune function and ease winter cold symptoms.* When you need something a little smoother, mix it up with a bit of warm water and extra honey for a spicy tea. If you're feeling adventurous, throw a dash or two on your braising greens for a spicy treat.
*Suffice to say, I'm no doctor and I'm not making any claims to the contrary, but I do hope you'll consider making a little remedy of your own!