Master Tonic Revisited – Preserving Fresh Turmeric and Ginger

I’m almost out of Master Tonic, but I have to say, sometimes I am sick of the flavor.  In  my previous post on making  Master Tonic  there are links as to where I first found out about it and how many others make it. You will find on the internet that many chop up all the ingredients by hand, very chunky, and let them steep in Apple Cider Vinegar for a few weeks, then strain and dump out the solids. What a nightmare, as you would need a gas mask and hazmat gloves, and what a waste!

I don’t like nightmares nor waste.  I do make my Master Tonic in a food processor but now I make it a bit differently, separately, because I like different flavors for different dishes.  Most people don’t even cook with it anyway but wait to use it when their husband is sick, make him hold his nose while force feeding him spoonfuls, watch fire come out his nose and ears, and then snicker behind his back.  If you put it in soup, bone broth, deviled eggs, salad dressing… he will not think you are trying to kill him, and that you are a fabulous cook, and he won’t get sick or not as often.  Make him take it straight anyway, whenever you want to get even.

The basic ingredients for Master Tonic are equal parts (give or take) of the hottest peppers, the hottest white onions, garlic, fresh horseradish, and fresh ginger, all processed fine in a food processor and then put in glass mason jars, filled up with Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.  It keeps forever, but I do keep mine in the refrigerator.

Now I don’t make a huge batch all at once, because the ingredients are not always readily available to me.  I make what I can, when I can. This summer, during hot pepper season, my favorite farmer, Thistle Whistle,  had a huge variety of hot peppers at a great price at our farmers market and I stocked up.  Hot peppers won’t keep for long, so I made Liquid Fire out of them.  I use it often, for added heat.  When organic garlic is available very fresh and at a good price, I stock up on it and process it and add Apple Cider Vinegar.  Same with hot white onions.   The only ingredient I have not been able to get yet this year is fresh horseradish and I forgot to dig mine out of the garden before the ground froze.

This time I will add fresh turmeric because it is such an amazing medicinal.  I had never seen fresh turmeric before and had always wanted some.  I found some at a health food store in Montrose the other day and was so excited.


For those who live in a booming metropolis, don’t laugh.  I’m sure at your fancy pantsy Whole Foods, the choices are staggering: chocolate covered turmeric, turmeric sprinkles, turmeric crusted smoked Soho salmon, turmeric and cucumber smoothie… 🙂 anyway, I’ve never seen fresh turmeric and I wanted to preserve it for my next batch of Master Tonic and to have on hand for other dishes. I scrubbed it well, broke it up and processed in the food processor. No I did not peel it, nor do I peel fresh ginger. Much to the dismay of my potato lovin Dutchman, I don’t peel them either.


Using a funnel makes it easier to pack into a mason jar so as not to waste any.


I forgot two pieces of turmeric, my jar was full, and I now was going to process fresh ginger, so I just mixed those pieces into the ginger. Then I made another jar of just plain ginger.


Add apple cider vinegar to each jar and put in the refrigerator.


Now I am ready to make a new batch of Master Tonic, once I get some horseradish, but will keep some of these ingredients separate as well, so I don’t get sick of the same flavor.

Speaking of not liking to waste things, especially flavor, my food processor was now covered in bits of turmeric and fresh ginger and I did not want to just wash that down the drain, so I made salad dressing.

I added an egg to the processor and with the machine running, drizzled in some mint olive oil I made this summer when I dehydrated meadow mint and then covered it in oil. It thickened up into mayonnaise, and I added some cream to thin it out and some salt. Yummy.


42 thoughts on “Master Tonic Revisited – Preserving Fresh Turmeric and Ginger

  1. Hello,
    Thanks fir your post on turmeric. How long did the fresh turmeric last? I have 10 lbs of fresh turmeric root and I’d like to find a way to preserve them long-term withiut drying them in a dehydrator.

    • Hi Regina, lucky you to have 10 pounds! Did you read my post on how I preserve fresh turmeric? It will really last indefinitely that way, processed fine in a food processor, and with some apple cider vinegar. I make a years supply this way, when I can find it fresh in season. You can also sprout some and grow them inside as a houseplant, or outside in a temperate place, so you will always have a fresh supply. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your tips. I also usually try to reuse leftovers bits so happy to read about Your salad dressing from the blender . Glad I found this site.

  3. Thanks for this. Even though I have a Whole Foods nearby, getting organic fresh turmeric isn’t always an option, so I’d like to buy in bulk and preserve what I can’t use right away. I love using fresh turmeric in many of my recipes, including lacto-fermentation. I recently made a turmeric-jalapeno sauerkraut that was probably the best sauerkraut I’ve ever had.

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  6. Thanks for this preserving idea. My turmeric has started to multiply madly after a few years or not doing much at all once I moved it to a sunnier position in my vege plot. I will be looking to preserve some very soon. So good to hear you can do up to a year this way. I stuck a bit of ginger into the back of a side garden and it too looks like it may be starting to take off but the idea would be great even for purchased ginger when in season at the market. I currently freeze then grate but it’s not particularly convenient.

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    • Hi Becca, it all depends on the consistency you like. There really is no right or wrong. I preserve ginger this way also, and peppers for siracha and other sauces. Just add ACV so there is enough liquid for your liking. I always add a bit to the top now and then, to keep things under the AVC. It lasts for years in the refrigerator.

        • Hi Joan,

          I am sure your turmeric is still ok, after you boiled it, but it is not necessary. Just like when you cook vegetables… they lose nutrition and the living enzymes. I am not sure about all of the properties of turmeric that would be affected by heat, but I am sure some are still active. Maybe next time you can try it raw, with living raw apple cider vinegar, and see if you can tell a difference?

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  10. I live in Zambia and have just harvested pounds and pounds of ginger and turmeric. Does this way of preserving last a long time? And does the apple cider vinegar taste penetrate the ginger and turmeric once its in the mason jars? Thanks for a great post! All the best, Annabel

    • Hi Annabel! I usually purchase larger quantities of fresh turmeric and ginger when they are best in season and organic, and then preserve what I use in about a year. Yes, it definitely lasts that long. I do think that the ACV affects the taste, somewhat, but not in a negative way (for us anyway.) I think it is the best way to preserve it fresh and retain the natural flavors. I would love to know if you come up with a different/better way. How lovely that you are able to grow your own. 🙂

      • Thank you for your speedy response. I have read that vodka also works well (instead of ACV), and that freezing after grating is another option. I will try to remember to pass on my feedback once I’ve tried all three!

        • I am not sure about the kombucha vinegar, but I assume it would be great. It certainly would have the probiotics, but maybe not the same ph. I certainly would give it a try, as the flavor would be wonderful as well as the attributes.

  11. Love your site – very colorful! However it is really hard to read the text on top of the pictures. Is it possible to see a version of text only?

    • Hi Linda, Thank you for the kind words. I am not sure what you mean by the text being on top of the pictures? What platform are you looking at the site on? (your phone…?) as on my computer or phone it does not come up like that. Perhaps try again on your computer, or a different screen? Let me know if you are still unable to see the text.

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  13. Hi! Lovely page! I am wondering how much apple cider vinegar to add in the mason jar, do I simply add it until the turmeric is completely covered? I am also super excited to have found fresh turmeric root, hehe! I want to preserve it as long as possible! 🙂

    • Thank you Andréane. I also was so excited to find fresh turmeric, that I bought enough to last for well over a year, as when it is preserved this way it will definitely last. It is good to have enough ACV to cover the turmeric or other things that would go into a Master Tonic. When the level of the jar goes down to half or so, I do transfer it to smaller jars, to keep out as much air as possible. You can add ACV whenever you need a bit more liquid to cover. Don’t forget to do fresh ginger this way as well. Nothing like having a big spoonful of ginger always ready. 😉

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  18. Thanks so much for the blog! I love the pictures! I just finished making Master Tonic for the first time and have some leftover ginger, onion and turmeric. If I decide to put the turmeric and ginger in a mason jar in the fridge how do I use it? I have a hard time using turmeric in recipes. Do you have any favorites you could link me to?

    • Thank you Becky for the sweet comments. Usually what I am doing is experimenting and it is a work in progress. I am SO happy with my ginger and turmeric, and I agree, turmeric does not have the ideal flavor to use always on its own. I have found that mixing the ginger and turmeric is wonderful, but I also love them separate in the ACV. Always at the ready for aoli, bone broth, lentils, meat pies and stew… I’ll think of other things for them both, but I really have been using them lately for almost everything. 🙂

      • Thanks for the ideas! I guess I will just have to jump in there and just start adding it to my cooking. I did put a jar of the mix of ginger and turmeric in the fridge!!

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  20. Your comments are witty, informational, your photos are fabulous. Now tell me why you have not put together a book and make a million dollars………??????????!!!??

      • Hi there, thanks for sharing your ideas, great page. Ive just grown my own turmeric, dependant on where you are its quiet east, even in pots. I was just wondering how long would it last in the acv.
        thanks, your awesome

        • Hi Lucie. That is great that you grow your own turmeric. I make about a quart jar of it and it lasts me about a year in the ACV, in the refrigerator. I make a couple of batches of the ginger though, because I use it more than the turmeric, and try to mix them, as we do not like the turmeric taste as much. It is SO handy to have both always ready to spoon out of a jar, rather than having to grate each time for use. 🙂

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