With all the talk about “master tonic” going around on the internet and among my friends I decided to give it a try this summer. After all, we were growing all the ingredients so I figured I had nothing to lose. Here’s my little patch of horseradish, which looks amazingly like dock. I’ve inadvertently tried to chop it out twice! I can say it’s very hardy stuff and has withstood the onslaught of my hoe quite nicely.
In case you’ve never heard of “master tonic”, it’s a mixture of horseradish, chili peppers, onions, garlic and ginger which is fermented, strained and then drank as a tonic to cure just about anything that ails you, or so they say! I’ve been thinking that with that combination it may kill me before it cures me but I’m always willing to try something once. You’ll find the recipe at the end of this post but here it is in pictures first.
First ingredient: horseradish
Having no experience with horseradish, I really had no idea what to expect when I went out to harvest it. My husband informed me that it grows down and would be difficult to dig but I figured I didn’t need a great quantity so I could handle it. To make a long story short, hubby dug it. After having the driest summer on record, it was a bit like digging something out of cement. So, here is what I got with the piece on the left being one that I’ve peeled already. I took seriously the warnings that any processing of horseradish should be done outside.
Here is my food processor with chunks ready to be blended. I did the blending in the greenhouse where there was good airflow at the time. Make sure you keep your face away from the processor when you take the lid off after blending…whew…strong stuff!
This is what it looked like after a good whirl in the processor. Looks a bit like wood pulp…mmm can’t wait to try it.
After the horseradish all the other ingredients seemed quite simple to process. I did of course wear gloves to chop the ends off the hot peppers. I didn’t have enough chili peppers so used some jalapenos. The recipe said to use equal amounts of all the ingredients but I didn’t get real obsessive about measuring them. The ginger was freshly dug out of our hoop house and of course we always have plenty of onions around here so I was ready to do some serious blending.
This is my pepper mixture…
isn’t it beautiful?
Ahhh, lots of fresh garlic.
Everything being combined in a large bowl.
The final mixture in the jars. Now it just needs raw apple cider vinegar and some time to ferment.
Timothy decided to try the ground mixture before I started the fermentation process.
And his response!!!
After fermenting for several weeks this is the finished, bottled product. Bring on winter…I’m armed and ready!! Now if someone could just give me some tips on how to get this down. I was told you should put it in your mouth and swish it around but after trying a couple tablespoons of it, I can tell you this is not for the faint of heart! It’s a bit like drinking hot sauce right out of the bottle. I also wouldn’t recommend drinking it before going out in public or on a first date. It really doesn’t do much for your breath!
Master Tonic Recipe
Equal amounts of garlic, onions, horseradish, ginger, hot peppers
Organic, raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar
All ingredients must be fresh and preferably organic.
Different recipes call for different ways of processing each of the ingredients but I ran each of them through my food processor and then combined them all in a large bowl.
Fill glass jars about 3/4 full with the raw ingredients. You can use a large gallon jar or smaller ones. Just make sure you have a good lid for them.
Fill the jars to the top with the raw apple cider vinegar. Close the jars and shake to mix well.
Store the jars in a dark place and be sure to shake them once a day for at least 2 weeks. I’ve heard of some people letting them ferment for 2 months or more.
When you’re ready to strain it you can use a colander with a cheese cloth liner or you can do like I did and run it through a colander first and then through a cotton towel. The solids can be put in a cotton towel and squeezed to get out as much of the liquid as possible. I’ve been told the solids can be saved and frozen to use at a later date as a zippy seasoning in your cooking. I haven’t tried this yet but I’ve got it in the freezer.
The liquid should be bottled in amber bottles or kept in a dark cupboard. No need to refrigerate.
For daily immune boosting, drink 1-2 ounces, two or more times each day. Put it in your mouth, swish around, gargle and swallow. Don’t dilute it with water or the effect won’t be as powerful.
If you’re fighting an infection, take the tonic 5-6 times per day. It can be used during pregnancy and it’s safe for children although I’m not sure how to get it down them!
You can make a huge batch each time since it doesn’t need refrigeration and it will keep indefinitely without any special storage conditions.
Here’s to your health!!