Fire Cider, according to the Huffington Post, is “one of those grandma-style cold and hangover remedies that is designed to be one part soothing, one part refreshing and one part BURN-IT-OUT-OF-YOU.” That got my attention. Research ensues. In short, the tonic is a potent culinary alchemy of anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, sinus clearing, immune and circulation boosting ingredients. No wonder this herbalists’ treasure can supposedly remedy far more than just hangovers and the common cold. -As if that wasn’t enough!
At this point, I’m fully intrigued when I finally found it at a country store in the Berkshires. One sip later, I was hooked. But, several months and about a dozen 8 ounce bottles later (at $12.99 each), it was DIY-time.
The base of this product is raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. To get the most health benefits, use Bragg’s or another brand which has ‘the mother’ a dark, cloudy substance formed from naturally occurring pectin and apple residues. According to Bragg’s, vinegars with the mother contain enzymes and minerals that other vinegars may not contain due to overprocessing, filtration and overheating. The vinegar is combined with a blend of immune boosting, roots and fruits, such as lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, garlic, turmeric and hot peppers with raw honey as an optional sweetener. Not your garden variety vinegar.
This recipe is adapted from the Mountain Rose Herbs version. The only change I made was the size of the container. The recipe calls for a quart-size jar. When I filled my quart-sized jar with all the prepped ingredients it looked fabulous. Where’s my camera?! But, where was all the apple cider vinegar going to go? More real estate, please!
After all the time spent chopping and grating, I wanted a much better yield. So, I dumped the vegetables and herbs into a 2 quart jar, filled it with one quart of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, which fit perfectly. I taped a large “SHAKE” sign on it as a daily reminder, then set it away in a closet.
After one month and much anticipation, I strained and finally sampled the formula before adding the honey. It tasted like the Fourth of July, just like the commercial version, but less sweet. I decided I liked it as-is and skipped the honey. However, this may be an acquired taste! Very pleased with the results, I immediately started a second batch.
- Take 1 to 2 tablespoons as a daily immune booster and energizer
- Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar recommends taking 1 to 2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold, and then repeating every 3 to 4 hours until symptoms subside.
- Use in place of other vinegars in salad dressings
- Drizzle on steamed vegetables, sautéed greens or lentils
- Add a few tablespoons to finish soups
- 1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
- 1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
- 1 medium organic onion, chopped
- 10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
- 2 organic jalapeño (or Habanero peppers) chopped
- Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon or orange
- Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary (or 2 tablespoon of dried leaves)
- 1 tablespoon of organic turmeric powder (or 3 tablespoons grated fresh root)
- 1/4 teaspoon organic cayenne powder
- 1 quart raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s
- 1/4 cup organic raw honey or more to taste (optional)
Place all the ingredients, except the honey, in a 2 quart jar. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place and shake daily. After one month (or more), strain the mixture, pressing as much liquid as possible out of the pulp.
- It can be difficult to find fresh horseradish and just as difficult to purchase the exact amount you need. End up with a lot of extra horseradish? Grate it all up, divide it into half cup servings and freeze in an air-tight container for future batches.
- The oils of horseradish are volatile, dissipating with extended exposure to air. So, once grated, place immediately in the jar and cover with the vinegar to maximize its health benefits.
Have your tried fire cider? Have your tried making it at home? Please share any tips or ideas you have for making or using this energizing tonic!