Making Super-tonic in the Great Outdoors

That’s right, super-tonic. I’ll get around to explaining it in a second.

I knew the minute my hand left the back porch door knob this morning that *this* day was going to be a hum-dinger! I couldn’t make myself go inside after letting the chickens out…thankfully only my oldest daughter was awake, so I reveled in the clear morning unfolding around me, restocking the chicken feed and cleaning/refilling their waterer, clucking right back at my beautiful hens who are sometimes giving us 19 eggs a day by noon! Ahh…the gift of living this country life.

All weekend long I’ve been wishing for time to put together this super-tonic recipe our herb-savvy neighbors gave us…but between caring for a sick child and getting some garden and yard work done, I just didn’t have time, nor all the ingredients on hand to get it done. So this afternoon, I and my older girls set up an outdoor “kitchen” complete with camp chairs, cutting boards, knives, veggie peelers, a food chopper and a makeshift “sink”. Okay, so it was just a hose with a sprayer nozzle and a bucket, but it worked! Why outside? Well, firstly, because of the gorgeous weather! Secondly, because of the fumey ingredients in this here tonic!

Here’s how it works. Oh, it’s for good health, by the way. You knew that, didn’t you? *Wink*

You take five equal parts of the following diced fine, say one cup each which is what I did:

  • horseradish
  • garlic
  • onion
  • ginger
  • jalapeno peppers or cayenne peppers or other hot pepper

My oldest scrubbed and peeled the horseradish, which I then sliced into chunks and diced fine in my food chopper. Worked slick! While she was scrubbing horseradish (and tossing the stems to her eight puppies to chew) my 8 year old nimbly broke apart garlic buds, peeled the cloves and took her turn at the food chopper. I sat and removed seeds from peppers with my rubber gloves on of course! Onions came next, and last, the ginger. Mmm, ginger smells good! I just peeled it with my knife, hoping that was the “way to do” and then into the chopper it went. By this time we had a bowl almost brimful of knock you off your camp chair strong smelling stuff! I was so glad we’d done it outside with nary a tear or sniffle from fumes. The breezes outside were extra delicious today, I soon realized exactly *how* welcome they were when I went inside to fill my gallon jar with the ingredients. Whew-ee did my cheeks burn from jalapeno osmosis or what? Anyway, onto the next important step of this recipe.

  • 2.5-3 quarts Apple Cider Vinegar, the kind from the health food store that has the “mother” in it

Once you’ve filled your gallon jar with the five chopped ingredients (or 4 quart sized jars with equal portions) take your ACV and finish filling the jar(s) to the top. Put your lids on and store in a dark place, such as a cupboard or closet. Mine are in my canner. Take the super-tonic out twice a day and shake it good. After two weeks of this, strain the liquid out and keep it in a glass jar. If you have any glass medicine bottles, the kind with the droppers, that would be an excellent keeper for easy handling. One dropperful in apple juice for a child, two for an adult. This can be used daily for a good immunity builder, or when needed for nipping colds and flu in the bud.

Our neighbors shared a bottle with us last week, and I can promise you that diluted in juice, you hardly notice the taste. But by evening, my daughter and I both had clear heads and no sniffles! Good-bye head colds. I know a good thing when I smell see it.

Do you have any home-brewed health goodies to share? Btw, this super-tonic recipe is all over the net, but my neighbor’s good instructions aren’t. Let me know if you make this!

Hat tip to my friends, Farmer John and his wife!

This entry was posted in Cooking and Food, Family Ties, Health, Homemaking. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Making Super-tonic in the Great Outdoors

  1. Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing this supertonic recipe :-)
    well, I guess that garlic is a natural antibiotic so I’m not surprised it works. I’m going to try this recipe too when the cough and cold season comes around here. And your chickens give you 19 eggs a day? wow!

    Amy’s last blog post..Moussaka for me!

  2. jen says:

    how many hens do you have?

    how do you keep up with all those eggs?

    wtg to you and your girls

    jen’s last blog post..Week In Review

  3. Mary says:

    Thanks, girls! We have 25 hens, and I’m told that they’ll lay less as winter nears…we’ll see. So far I’m giving eggs away to friends and family, and using them abundantly for all sorts of goodies! ;O) It’s not paying for the chicken feed, let’s put it that way!

    I did read an online article about growing maggots for free food for your chickens, but didn’t think I wanted to go that far…

  4. Colleen says:

    We could sure use some hens, but probably not realistic in the city! We go through lots of eggs!

    Colleen’s last blog post..Vote

  5. Mary says:

    Probably not…you need some rural acquaintances like me with too many eggs on their hands! ;)

  6. Tracy says:

    I am an inspiring homesteader and I’ve decided to start a notebook with all the wonderful ideas I find on blogs/internet. I am putting your tonic in that notebook! Thank you for all your entries! Have a wonderful day and continued blessings from those hens!

  7. Cena says:

    Check this site out for chickens in the city.

    http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/index.html

    Your super-tonic sounds great. I’ll have to look for fresh horseradish and whip some up.

    We have the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a tablespoon of honey in a cup of boiling water when we’re congested. It’s a healthy version of “thera-flu.” My children call it lemon tea.

    My father used to give us honey and whiskey for sore throats and coughs. He dipped a soup spoon into the honey jar until it was dripping/coated, then poured a tad (probably a teaspoonful) of Jim Beam into the center of the honey in the spoon and gave to us for medicine. It works wonderfully and it’s the only cough meds we use, because we know whats in it. The over the counter meds are scary. The hard part is purchasing the whiskey and trying not to run into anyone from church!!! The excuse of it being “medicinal” sounds lame even when it’s true…

    We also have a cup of strong peppermint tea and lie down flat on our back to rest for 10 minutes when experiencing a headache. It usually takes care of it.

    Hmmm. I want to hear everyone elses home remedies. Tis the season.
    Cena

  8. Farmer John says:

    Thought I’d chime in here, since Mary and her girls are such great students. The Super Tonic formula didn’t originate with us, but we learned to make and use it with great success. We’ve shared the formula, and taught lots of folks how to use it. What Mary was doing that day was way more than making a home remedy. She was making memories with her children. Every time they get out the jar of Super Tonic, they will remember the fresh air, sunshine, beautiful fall colors, puppies, and the interactions of family on that day they made it.

    And by the way, in the winter time, when those laying hens are in the winter slump and aren’t laying many eggs, add some red cayenne pepper (powdered – about 90,000+ Scoville units HOT) to their daily feed ration. It will increase egg production overnight. You can also put a light bulb in the hen house to increase the light. Hens need 14 hours of light per day to keep laying well, and the shorter days of winter prevent that from happening. You can use a timer to add light earlier in the morning and a while longer at night.

  9. Leticia says:

    Oh gosh! I don’t know if I would be able to swallow it, ick…

    Leticia’s last blog post..Time to get busy….

  10. Farmer John says:

    Some folks love it! They use it like a vinegar dressing on a salad. Some folks like to eat it (the shredded stuff) before straining it down to a liquid. Some take the Super Tonic “straight” without putting into a juice to hide it. To each his own . . . You can tone it down some by decreasing the amount of hot peppers in the recipe. Lots of folks like pickled garlic – the flavor is something like that.

  11. Mary says:

    Leticia, it’s hardly noticeable in apple juice, but I’ve taken it in plain water and actually LIKE the taste, believe it or not! ;) It sure smells good when I shake the jar morning and night!

    Cena, I SO love you for sharing the peppermint tea trick for headaches! I’ve got to put peppermint tea on my list. You’re the second person this week to recommend it for health remedies to me…and the occasional headache can knock me out for two hours sometimes. Horrible. I’m drinking yarrow tea right now, from actual yarrow blossoms harvested in our area (by the same neighbors that gave us this super tonic recipe)! It’s pretty bitter stuff, but I’m amazed at all the good it can do a body! We gave yarrow to my 8 year old this weekend to help her body fight off a high fever/headache, and the next day after dosing her she was feeling great.

    My mom always did the honey-lemon tea trick for sore throats…and sometimes vinegar and honey tea as well. Gargling with salt water for colds was my grandpa’s standard way to treat colds. My hubby gargles with hydrogen peroxide–ugh–not a fun thing to do!

    About the whiskey, I’d think you’d be okay around church folks unless they got a whiff of your breath… ;)

    Thanks for sharing your home remedies, Cena! Like you, I hope we get more responses!

  12. Mom says:

    This is such great reading…I like a few drops of tabasco sauce in a glass of water to sip when my upper chest is congested. I like the flavor too. And as to yarrow, Mary, I read that the yarrow leaves, when crushed, were used as a stiptic (to stop bleeding) on the battlefields of the Civil War. Did your farmer friend have some dried yarrow blossoms to make the tea from? We’ll have to gather some next summer. What part of the plant did he use to make the dose for my #2 granddaughter? Roots seem to be good for a lot of things, don’t they? I remember using drops of peppermint in pure water as a remedy for colic. In Canada they had a product called gripe water which was just that: peppermint in pure water. Keep those ideas coming!

  13. Mom says:

    And by the way, if you decide to plant horseradish, be advised that it is very invasive. I had 3 small plots and when I wanted to eliminate the one at the end of my flower bed, it was almost impossible to do. Sort of like that grain that grew after how many centuries in the pyramid tombs of ancient Egypt!

  14. Mary says:

    Hi there, Tracy and Farmer John! Sorry I didn’t get your comments up on the blog right away, for some reason I didn’t get my usual email notification that someone new to the blog commented! You’re both so welcome here!

    Tracy, what a great idea! I’ve been thinking I need to keep a notebook as well…I doubt my poor brain can keep up with all the info I’ve been learning the past couple of weeks!

    Farmer John, MMMM! I can definitely see having it on salad, I’ll have to try it, and I was going to ask you guys if there was any further use for the veggie mixture once I strain it out, so thanks for answering that…I’ll be sure to give it a taste. And you’re right, we’re still talking about how much fun we had that afternoon. One of our last nice weather days before winter. What a way to spend it.

    On the cayenne pepper, I’ve never seen it with the “heat” information…where do you get yours? A health food store? We have a light bulb that my dh turns on at 6 am and I turn it off in the evening around 8 pm. We definitely need to get a timer, that would be handy.

    Yes, Mom, he sent me home with a bag of dried yarrow blossoms for tea, and also a bottle of yarrow tincture, which we gave 8 yo in juice. I’ve been steeping the yarrow blossoms for tea and drinking a cup a day…I’ll have to write a post soon about what I’ve learned from the herb book John gave me, yarrow is good for about EVERYTHING. It’s an amazing herb, I can’t wait to find it and harvest some. John says June is the best month in our area for hunting it up.

    On the horseradish, I would like to have a patch, but maybe I’ll have to plant it in a well thought out place. John has already volunteered to come over and walk our property with us sometime, I’m sure he’ll have so many ideas I won’t be able to keep up! ;)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone!

  15. Cena says:

    California has alot of wineries. Maybe I’ll plant horseradish in a 1/2 wine barrel. They make nice big planters. I’ve done that with my mints. Mint is invasive too.
    I want a farmer John too.

  16. Cena says:

    Hey, does Farmer John blog home farming and natural remedy advice. It seems this practical wisdom is not readily available. I live in the most wonderful farming land in central California and yet would have to drive 2 1/2 hours to the closest CSA farm that I have found so far. It’s ridiculous. They should be everywhere. We have the weather, the soil… but everyone farms and raises the stock with chemicals and poison. I’d like to grow more myself, and am learning. But it’s slow. If anyone has a Farmer John who will walk their property and give advice, DO IT.

  17. Farmer John says:

    How to find a Farmer John in your area? Well, since I can’t divide and multiply like our honeybees do, here’s a good alternative. Look up http://www.localharvest.org and check out the search engine for CSA’s, or farms, or healthfood stores, or farmers’ markets in your area by zip code. You can also look up specific fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, meats, by name to find the closest things in your area. This is a nationwide search engine that has brought folks to our farm from Maine, California, Alaska, and lots of places in between. Here’s our farm listing: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M11802

  18. Farmer John says:

    I once knew a young couple who had just moved to the country. They wanted me to do the “walk around” identifying trees, wild edibles, etc. I came to the edge of an old abandoned garden plot and spotted some horseradish along one side, which I identified. They wanted to get into gardening in a big way and expand the plot (youthful exuberance). I told them that whatever they did, they’d be smart to leave the horseradish alone, otherwise it would spread. I guess they didn’t think I knew what I was talking about, so they took a rototiller to it – for about an hour, going back and forth over it again and again, chopping and grinding it up, to kill it. They told me later how they gotten rid of the horseradish for good. I laughed, and told them they just planted a new patch. The next season, the original 2 or 3 plants had multiplied and were coming up beautifully. They now had nearly 100 plants coming up, covering about a 1,000 square ft. area (1/3 the whole garden plot). Every piece of root produces a new plant. I have a horseradish patch that I thin every year to keep it small, but it’s nearly impossible to downsize it. Good thing I have so many uses for horseradish!

  19. Mary says:

    Lol, I know, Cena! Remember last year when you were telling me about your arrangement with the gardener who brought you a box of produce every week? I was so envious and just think, I had a CSA farm practically next door and didn’t know it. I keep pinching myself, because this is no ordinary CSA farm. Farmer John and his wife are such a testimony of Christ in all they do, and unfailingly generous with their time, their place, and their knowledge, plus! Getting to know them has held all the joy similar to that of finding lost family…

    I like your idea of keeping the horseradish and mint to a container garden…as for John having a blog, not that I know of, perhaps we could get him to blog here sometimes? I can put you in touch with him privately, and you could get his newsletters…they have been a wealth of info to me, better than a blog anyday. Sound good?

    Farmer John, what an invasive mistake that young couple made!!! Yikes. But in the same respect, it sounds like something that takes little talent to successfully grow! That’s a good thing! I’m so enjoying the comment thread going here…

  20. Mom says:

    That’s exactly what happened to me! I tried to dig up the horseradish and everywhere I cut the root, a million more plants came up. I tried to bury it under newspapers and mulch and it waited til I checked; then sprouted up again! We have friends who live just inside western Illinois outside the city limits of St. Louis. One of the little towns there has a horseradish festival every year…something to see! Fields of horseradish!

  21. Geri says:

    Wow these homeopathic remedies are so interesting! Thank you all for sharing and I wish I had some wisdom to share with you!

  22. Farmer John says:

    The story about the young couple attempting to exterminate the horseradish becomes a sermon illustration about persecution. Beginning in the book of Acts with the early church, the harder Satan tried to destroy the church through “uprootings,” imprisonments, torture, beatings, and martyrdoms, the more he scattered the bruised and battered Christians who simply grew where they were transplanted. The church spread despite the furious efforts to destroy it. And thus is is said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Read Acts 8:1-4, a persecution narrative which concludes with the statement, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”

    And thus it is seen, that in all of the creation – through the evident design, functions, beauty, characteristics, and every interaction in nature – all these things point to spiritual purposes, lessons to be learned, illustrations to aid our understanding of our Maker’s plan. God put man in a garden in the beginning, that he might better know him. Those who are divorced from the land and their food sources, and who surround themselves with man-made “things,” will find it more difficult to understand the workings of God.

    The parables of Christ, through which he teaches many important spiritual truths, are “agricultural” in nature. Most of the times these parables were given outdoors, in a backdrop of the countryside, near the sea of Galilee or in the fields. The stories encompass seeds, planting, watering growing, fertilizing, pruning, harvesting, livestock, and more farm based themes. If there is no familiarity with the basic meaning of the agricultural aspects of the stories, how shall a person be able to understand the spiritual parallels and applications?

    If you love your children, get them some packets of seeds and some backyard dirt and let them learn how to grow things, that they might learn the foundational principles to grow themselves in the knowledge of God.

    I don’t have a blog, but do write a monthly farm e-mail newsletter than runs 6-10 pages. Each newsletter begins with an inspirational scripture based message, then follows gardening tips, stories about the simple life here on the farm, and updates on our many adventures, gardens, and animals. Contact me off-list if you’d like to receive this resource.

  23. Amy M says:

    I’ve missed visiting your site lately! I love home remedies…so much safer and better than the OTC med’s! Lydia is sick with a cold now and I’ve used the book you suggested to help treat her (Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child).
    Anyway, thanks for another great post!
    Frankie is to preach a trial sermon on the 23rd of this month and we are anticipating a move to SC. In addition, I am pregnant again…very nervewracking. We would appreciate your prayers.

  24. Mary says:

    OH, Amy M, congratulations on your pregnancy, I’m SO happy for you! You know I’ll be praying, and SC!! Moving farther East…I’m so glad you stopped by and updated me, and that the book has been helpful! I know I’ve had success in using the acupressure points they teach on my 8 year old for ear infections and headaches…it’s given relief without me needing to resort to man-made pain relievers. Hope Lydia feels better soon!

    John, that is a profound illustration! I love equating scriptural truth to everyday happenings, it goes deeper somehow. This is worth re-reading and thinking over. I’m also still thinking over your comment the other day about the sheep–that when they don’t come to the feedbunk it’s usually a sign that they are sick, and that it’s the same with Christians. When they isolate and stop coming to the Word to get fed, or together with their fellow believers, it’s a sign that something unhealthy is happening…these are great applications, or parables, if you will! That’s a fantastic parallel, though, about the horseradish thriving under persecution. Wow.

    Waving at you, Geri! No baby yet? Glad to see you’re still hanging in there! This is a fun topic, isn’t it? We have so much to learn…

    Mom, what a story! I like Cena’s idea of putting it in a container or something!

  25. Leticia says:

    Mary, I will just have to take your word for it, since I don’t like apple juice either…hee.

    Leticia’s last blog post..AND SO…IT BEGINS

  26. Mary says:

    Ahh, too bad, your loss! ;)

  27. Pingback: Remedies for Hormonal Headaches at Home-Steeped Hope

  28. Panda says:

    I use this same recipe, but I don’t peel the ingredients, per se. I may slip the garlic out of some of the papery skin, I may take the stems off the peppers, and I may chunk up the ginger and horseradish roots, but I don’t peel them, just wash and put them into my Vitamix and the results is fantastic!

  29. Mary says:

    I want a Vitamix! ;O) Your way sounds so much easier! But I’d still do all the peeling, chunking in the great outdoors! What fun times!! Thanks for sharing your great tips here, Panda!

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