If you have never tasted fire cider than you are in for a surprise because its intense flavor packs a spicy punch that has been known to kick the common cold to the curb. What began in folk medicine, has been used for years as a naturopathic immune booster that will help keep you healthy year round. The combination of vinegar, garlic, horseradish, ginger, and cayenne has powerful antibacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, congestion reducing, circulation increasing, and digestion aiding elements. Even raw apple cider vinegar on it’s own can help with hiccups, ease heartburn and acid reflux, and calm stomach upset. Each ingredient in the fire cider brings its own health benefits to the brew. It can be taken straight as a shot to increase circulation and boost the immune system, added to hot water with honey for a congestion curing tea, or used in cooking to flavor dressings, marinades, and as a substitute for almost any savory vinegar ingredient.
I first discovered fire cider in a book by Rosemary Gladstar, a talented modern herbalist with an endless wealth of knowledge to share. Yet, I didn’t get the chance to try this fiery concoction until my good friend Gaylynn put together her own batch and brought it into work one night. I can’t deny that I choked down my first shot, eyes burning from its intensity, but after trying it a few more times, I learned to love the flavor and the energized feeling it gave me. Endless variations of this tasty tonic have been crafted based on people’s individual personal preferences. There are many herbs and spices you can add in addition to the core ingredients, so feel free to do some research and experimenting with whatever works best for you!
1/2 cup coarsely grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup grated horseradish
1/2 cup onion chopped (about half an onion)
1/2 cup garlic chopped (about 12 large cloves)
2 jalapeños chopped
1 lemon, juiced and sliced
1 tsp organic cayenne powder
1 tsp organic fresh grated turmeric
1 tsp organic turmeric powder
organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg is a great brand)
organic raw honey to taste (optional)
Prepare all the ingredients as stated above and place into a quart size jar. Fill the jar almost to the top with raw apple cider vinegar and place a piece of natural parchment or wax paper across the opening to keep the vinegar from coming in contact with the metal lid. Screw the lid on tight over the parchment and shake well. Store in a cool dark place for about 4 weeks and remember to shake the jar well once daily. Steeping time is up for debate, but at least 4 weeks is my recommendation. Some people prefer a stronger flavor of 8 weeks or more, but it is totally up to your own preference. This is a recipe that can be adjusted to your own individual tastes, and has changed quite a bit from person to person. The longer you leave the ingredients to steep, the further the vinegar will break down the ingredients, so just remember that if you leave it longer than 4 weeks it will be more difficult to strain. After 4 weeks, strain the vinegar into a clean jar, squeezing out as much of the liquid as possible. At this point, you can add honey if you would like, or leave it a little more savory, as is.
If you are not a fan of making this at home but still want to try it for the health benefits, lots of farmers markets have versions made by locals (often including local organic ingredients, which is a huge plus).
You can find the best classic recipe for Rosemary Gladstar’s fire cider here. If you are looking for some other versions, Mountain Rose Herbs has a great recipe as well, which you will find on TheMountainRoseBlog. Search around to find a version that fits your tastes, or create your own!