You may recall my disappointing episode with the horseradish last month; I hadn’t done my homework when I harvested it, and pulled it up too early, ending up with a few straggly strands of root. I’d hoped that it would be enough for my purposes (it wasn’t), but then the lovely Barbara Segall gifted me part of a splendid root which she’d bought locally, and saved the day – thank you, Barbara!❤️
There was only one real reason why I wanted Ade to grow horseradish this year: fire cider. I first heard about this old folk remedy a couple of years ago and have been eager to make it ever since. It’s a tangy concoction that is thought to banish coughs, colds and other winter ills, and promote good health. It involves steeping all the most potent ingredients from the kitchen garden (horseradish, onion, garlic, chilli) in apple cider vinegar for a few weeks along with some citrus fruit and other health-boosting herbs and spices. Once the ingredients have worked their magic, the tonic is strained and bottled and it’s recommended that you take a daily dose to stay in tip-top health. Fire cider is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and loaded with Vitamin C.
It’s 2020, folks, if there’s ever been a year to fortify your immune systems, this is it!
So I made a batch and I’m now knocking back a tablespoon every day. I’m not going to lie, it’s not the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted, but I’m feeling healthy, robust, and I’m even thinking of taking-up wrestling.
Okay, maybe not that last bit. But fire cider is full of all the good stuff, so I’ll continue to swig this throughout the winter. You can take it like a shot, which I probably wouldn’t recommend if you want to keep the enamel on your teeth, so I’m diluting a tablespoonful in hot water and adding a little honey to sweeten it. You can also add a spoonful to salad dressings and sauces. I actually don’t mind the taste. The batch I made tastes more oniony than anything else (with an afternote of spicy heat) and I quite look forward to it as a punchy mid-morning pick-me-up, although Ade won’t go anywhere near it… (more fool you, Adrian!😛)
There is no definitive recipe for fire cider and you’ll find many variations online. Here’s my version (below), using what we have growing in the kitchen garden along with some added extras.
Prep time: 15 mins (+ 4 weeks to steep) Makes: 1 litre
3 garlic cloves
1 cayenne pepper
1 orange, peeled
1 lemon, peeled
10g horseradish root
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp black peppercorns
5 sprigs of rosemary
1L apple cider vinegar
Honey to taste
Chop the onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, orange and lemon and place them in a glass jar (1L).
Grate the horseradish and ginger and add to the jar.
Mix in the turmeric, black pepper corns and chopped rosemary before covering the mixture with apple cider vinegar.
Place some greaseproof paper over the mouth of the jar before securing the lid and giving it a good shake.
Store in the fridge for four weeks giving it a rigorous shake once a day.
Strain through a muslin into a clean jar.
Keep in the fridge. Take 1 tbsp daily as required to boost the immune system. If sick, take 2 tbsp three times a day as needed. Sweeten with honey.
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