Beat those winter chills

Have you ever tried fire vinegar?

Autumn is nearly here, which means a slew of coughs, colds, viral and bacterial infections. In our household we have two tried and tested home made remedies – fire vinegar (also called fire cider) and elderberry syrup (a recipe for which I posted last week). Both can be drunk daily in hot water to help prevent those bugs taking hold, and if anything does make it through, we turn to neat fire vinegar. It’s strong and potent and you have to be feeling pretty unwell to take it this way!

Making Fire Vinegar

This is my rather messy preparation area.

And I used so much plant material, I ran out of vinegar and had to do a run to the health food shop for more. I’ve seen photos of other people’s fire vinegar, and it looks a whole lot prettier than mine – but I chop and blitz, no concern for the aesthetics since it will be strained off later.



What you need:

  • 1/2 cup peeled horseradish
  • 1/2 cup peeled garlic
  • 1/2 cup peeled onion
  • 1/4 cup peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup peeled turmeric
  • 1 habanero chlili
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 1/2 lemon, quartered
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, or more to taste

If you have a food processor, put everything except the vinegar and honey in the bowl and blitz everything to small pieces. If you don’t have one, no problem, get out your sharpest knife and chop, chop, chop. If I have time I make it by hand just because I find it very therapeutic.

Put it all into a large clean jar and pour over the vinegar. Make sure it’s all well covered and give the jar a knock to ensure there are no air bubbles. Put the lid on the jar; if it’s metal you’ll need parchment or waxed paper between the jar and the lid to prevent contact with the vinegar. Shake well.

Let it all sit for 3 to 6 weeks, shake or stir daily – or if you’re like me, when you remember.

Strain the vinegar into a clean jar. Add honey to taste. Refrigerate and use within a year.

You can take this as a shot, or add hot water.