Kitchen Witchery: Fire Cider

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The same day that Sarah F. and I were making hag tapers, we were also cooking up a batch of fire cider.  Actually, it was the fire cider that was the impetus for the get-together, as apparently someone, not the person who originally wrote down the recipe,* has decided to sue anyone marketing a similar product under the name “fire cider.”

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So in the good ol’ Druidic spirit of “up yours!” Sarah suggested we brew our own. Here’s the original recipe:

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Make Your Own Fire Cider
It’s fun, simple, and easy to make. There are hundreds of variations on this recipe. Here’s the original.

½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more fresh chopped onions
¼ cup or more chopped garlic
¼ cup or more grated ginger
Chopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper, whole or powdered, to taste.*

Optional ingredients: turmeric, echinacea, cinnamon, etc.

* To taste means should be hot, but not so hot you can’t tolerate it. Better to make it a little milder than too hot; you can always add more pepper later if necessary.

Place herbs in a half-gallon canning jar and cover with enough raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least three to four inches. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Place jar in a warm place and let set for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process. After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs and reserve the liquid. Add honey to taste. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well. “A little bit of honey helps the medicine go down…” Your Fire Cider should taste hot, spicy, and sweet. Rebottle and enjoy! Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry, but it’s better to store in the refrigerator if you’ve room. A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic or take teaspoons if you feel a cold coming on. Take it more frequently if necessary to help your immune system do battle.

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We also added golden seal to the mix, since Sarah had some in her amazing and impressive herbal stash.  We decided to leave out the cinnamon, since it didn’t quite seem to blend well with the prodigious amount of horseradish we ended up adding to the brew.  The kitchen smelled nothing short of spicy and wonderful.

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I’ve always loved making potions. Happily, my mother and father indulged my early attempts at chemistry and herbalism, though they sometimes despaired that I had yet again ruined or made unusable some container with my concoctions.  Probably the most successful creation of my youthful dabbling was a weedkiller made by soaking black walnuts in water for a couple of weeks.

The fire cider promises to be much tastier.  I’ve been faithfully shaking my jar, so it should be ready the day I’m scheduled to close on my new home.  I love it when things come together!

*Rosemary Gladstar is the creatrix of the recipe. She also has a video describing how to make her original version of fire cider.

Hag Taper

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Mullein is one of my favorite plants. First, it’s great for the garden since it breaks up compacted soil and brings all sorts of yummy nutrients to the surface. Second, it’s a wonderful herbal remedy. Third, you can make candles with it! Which is exactly what Sarah F. over at Starflower Alchemy and I did before Samhain (though I’m just getting around to posting about it now).  We melted up some beeswax on her stove, wrapped a wick around the dried mullein stalk, and then began the delightfully messy process of soaking the taper.

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These are smokey, but make great torches. Definitely something to be used outside!  If you want to know more, Sarah Lawless has a great post about mullein and its various magical uses, as well as a reference list. It can be found here.

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Kitchen Witchery: Better Living Through Chemistry

Thrift stores have got to be one of my favorite places to find ritual items. Take, for example, this large silver Revere bowl that I picked up from Savers for $4.99. I’ve been after a new scrying vessel, and this certainly fit the bill. It just needed a little TLC.

Which (or witch!) brings us to today’s inaugural episode of Kitchen Witchery: Better Living Through Chemistry.  For this little bit of magic, you’re going to need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 1/2 c white vinegar (the cheap stuff)
  • 1T salt
  • 1T baking powder

Fair warning: this technique can pit or otherwise damage the silver, so you may want to try another cleaning method if you’re worried about your piece. But for a $5 thrift store find, I was willing to risk it.

Line the bowl with the foil, place the dry ingredients on top.

Ingredients, assemble!

Ingredients, assemble!

Add the vinegar. Fizzing will ensue.

Scrubbing bubbles?

Scrubbing bubbles?

Then add the boiling water. Finally, place your silver piece in the bowl so that it comes in contact with the foil. Leave it there for about 30 seconds and…

Bwahahaha!

Bwahahaha!

Presto! Tarnish-b-gone!

A bowl so shiny, you can see an elder god in it!

A bowl so shiny, you can see an elder god in it!

I had to dunk this bowl in several times since it was rather large, but it seems to have worked. I’ve also used this technique with silverware and jewelry. Just be sure to rinse your pieces well and buff them with a soft cloth when you’re done.