Looking for an easy and delicious way to boost your immune system? Look no further than fire cider! This simple recipe is easy to make and can be consumed daily to help keep you healthy. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of fire cider and teach you how to make your own batch at home.
What is fire cider?
Fire cider is a popular folk remedy that has been used for centuries to support the immune system and treat common colds, flu, viruses, and respiratory issues. It is also known as fire vinegar (even though it does not contain any vinegar) or simply “cider”. Fire cider consists of raw apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and a variety of spices. It is not only easy to make at home but also inexpensive!
How did fire cider start?
The origins of fire cider can be traced back to the early 1900s, when herbalist Rosemary Gladstar started making her own version as a remedy for cold and flu season. Since then, this natural remedy has gained in popularity and is now used by people all over the world to support their immune systems and prevent illnesses.
Why should you try fire cider?
There are many benefits to incorporating fire cider into your daily routine. For one, it is packed with immune-boosting nutrients like garlic and ginger, which have been shown to help fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. In addition, fire cider can also help relieve symptoms of colds and flu such as congestion, sore throat, and a runny nose.
Benefits of fire cider
There are many benefits of fire cider, including its
- ability to boost the immune system
- relieve cold and flu symptoms
- reduce inflammation
- help fight off infections
- full of antioxidants
- keep you healthy and energized throughout the day
What is fire cider made of?
Rosemary Gladstar, uses just seven core ingredients – garlic, onion, horseradish, ginger, cayenne, honey, and ACV – in her Fire Cider recipe from her book “Medicinal Herb’s, a Beginner’s Guide”.
These seven things are essential in this healing tonic, however, you can get creative and add all kinds of beneficial and tasty additions as well!
Many herbalists stick with just the core ingredients listed above, but many others get creative and include all sorts of other good-for-you plants to make an even more potent brew. I have even heard of people adding sprigs of cedar and pine for a super earthy, woodsy vibe! Feel free to get creative with what you have available to you locally and seasonally.
Ideas to get you started-
- Citrus, for an extra boost of vitamin C!
- Fresh turmeric, for extra antioxidants and inflammation-fighting.
- A couple sprigs of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, or homegrown lemongrass.
- Fresh hot chilis, to keep your blood moving and sinuses open!
- Black pepper. This is especially important when using turmeric, as it vastly increases the activity and bio-availability of turmeric’s healing active ingredient – curcumin.
- Dried homegrown calendula blossoms, for an extra kick of anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing action.
Easy Fire Cider Recipe
Per Half Gallon Jar
- 1 medium onion, diced (we prefer sweet yellow or white)
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 to 4 tbsp fresh grated horseradish
- 3 to 4 tbsp fresh grated ginger root
- Raw unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar – Enough to fill the jar & submerge the other ingredients. We needed just under a full 32 oz bottle per half-gallon jar
- Raw honey, local if possible – added later, see the instructions below
- Cayenne pepper, also added later
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh grated turmeric rhizome (substitute equivalent in teaspoons if using turmeric powder)
- 1 lemon and/or orange, per quart. You can juice and zest them, or just slice and throw in whole.
- Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano or lemongrass, to taste preference – a few sprigs per jar is good!
- Hot chilis – at least one per jar, scaling up for larger batches or for a heat-loving taste preference.
- Black pepper. A pinch of peppercorns or few dashes of ground pepper to each jar.
Step 1: Chop
Chop, grate, or otherwise prep the ingredients as described above. The smaller the pieces, the better it will all infuse! A food processor can help make this job really quick and easy.
Step 2: Fill
Add all the goodies into you choice size of mason jar, or flip-top glass container, which should be about two-thirds to three-quarters full of the prepared ingredients when done. We love Ball half-gallon jars, which we use just about constantly for infusions, ferments, and other homestead kitchen adventures! Keep in mind the more full your jar is, the less room you have for liquid (and thus less end product).
Step 3: Pour
Slowly pour the apple cider vinegar over everything, lightly knocking out air bubbles as needed, until the container is full.
Step 4: Cover
Cover the jars with either BPA-free plastic mason jar lids, high-quality food grade stainless steel lids that will not rust, or if using a standard jar lid, add a piece of waxed parchment paper on top before putting the lid on. This is so the acidic nature of the vinegar won’t corrode the metal lid.
Step 5: Steep & Shake
Store the infusion at room temperature, somewhere that you will see it and remember to shake it daily (or more, if you think of it!). I have read varying instructions on whether to store the steeping fire cider in a dark place or not, but Ms. Gladstar says even a warm sunny kitchen window will work, so I don’t think it matters which.
You want to shake it up well every day to not only increase the steeping action, causing the beneficial properties of each ingredient to infuse into the ACV even more, but also to help prevent any growth of mold by keeping the contents submerged and moving. What I mean is, you don’t want to let the same ingredients float on top for days on end. Keeping them moving and mixed decreases the chance for mold.
Step 6: Strain
After a minimum of 3-4 weeks (some herbalists steep theirs for months on end!), it is time to separate and strain the liquid. We use a fine mesh stainless steel strainer (or a typical strainer lined with cheesecloth would work too) poised over a large empty vessel below.
If you’re making a quart batch, you can likely dump all of its contents into the strainer at once. Since we make very large batches, we need to add little by little to the strainer since not all of the solid bits will fit at once. To help drain and extract all the healing liquids from them as possible, I hand-squeezed and pressed the solids in each batch as I went, as shown below.
Step 7: Honey
Honey is traditionally added to fire cider “to taste”. Using local honey also provides added allergy immunity and desensitization properties. If you are a strict vegan and do not want to use honey, you could substitute with a natural sweetener like agave syrup, or just be a badass and consume your fire cider sans sweetener!
For our taste buds, we add about ½ cup of honey per 2 half-gallon jars, meaning ¼ cup per half gallon batch, or just a couple tablespoons if you made a quart jar batch. When I say “per half-gallon batch” or “per quart jar”, I mean the total amount of liquid and solids you started with in your container, not the final strained liquid amount.
To help the honey mix, soak the jar in a hot water bath for a while to melt a bit, and then use a whisk to rapidly stir. Overheating honey can destroy some of its healing properties!
Step 8: Add Cayenne
Add and thoroughly mix cayenne pepper powder or chili powder, again “to taste”. If your original concoction included hot chili peppers, your fire cider may already be spicy enough for your liking! Ms. Gladstar doesn’t add peppers to her initial fire cider infusion, and instead only adds cayenne powder at the end.
After we mixed in our honey and gave it a taste, it was still fairly mild, despite using a few raw peppers initially. A few pinches of our homegrown chili powder solved that! Not that I love HOT spicy, but warm spicy is good. We didn’t have any true cayenne on hand.
Step 9: Bottle
Using a funnel, bottle your finished fire cider! You could save and reuse the bottles from the original apple cider vinegar, or put it in some swing-top bottles like ours. Store finished bottles in a refrigerator or other cool dark place, like a root cellar, if you’re so lucky to have one.
Fire cider should “stay good” and last well up to a year or longer, if you don’t drink it all by then that is! As long as it is doesn’t develop mold or a sudden change in flavor or odor, it’s still good.
Step 10: Drink
Enjoy and stay healthy! It is recommended to take 1-2 tablespoons of fire cider per day throughout the fall and winter as a preventative measure. If you are feeling some crud coming on, up your dose to a full 1 oz “shot”! You can repeat a few times a day. You can also use fire cider as a zesty salad dressing! Remember to shake the bottle before pouring to ensure you’re getting all the good stuff that may have settled.
But what about the strained solids?
The leftover now-pickled garlic, ginger, onion, and other herb bits need not go to waste! Some folks suggest using them on top of salads or in stir fry. A friend of mine dehydrates and grinds it all into a powder, puts the powder into capsules, and takes them as immunity supplements. Her family didn’t like drinking the fire cider as much as she did, so this was her solution to have them reap some of the benefits also. With ours, I picked through to remove and discard the citrus peels, and kept the rest in a bowl in the fridge. We added a couple spoonfuls to meals like sautéed veggies and black beans, and it was great!
Looking to start canning or cooking from scratch but not sure where to start? Homestead Kitchen and Canning Journal is the perfect guide for you!
How often should you drink fire cider?
There is no set rule when it comes to how often you should drink fire cider, as it depends on your individual needs and health goals. Some people like to take it regularly as a preventative measure, while others only use it when they are feeling sick or under the weather. Many people also find that drinking fire cider daily helps keep their immune system strong and prevent colds and other illnesses from developing. Whether you are looking for a daily tonic or just an extra boost when you need it, fire cider is a great way to support your health and wellness.
How to take fire cider
There are many different ways to take fire cider, depending on your preferences and health goals. Some people like to add it to their favorite meals or drinks, while others simply take it straight by the spoonful as needed. You can also try adding a few tablespoons of fire cider to a warm cup of tea or hot water for an instant immune-boosting tonic. And of course, be sure to consult your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about taking fire cider. With its many benefits and delicious flavor, fire cider is a great natural remedy that is definitely worth trying!
How long does homemade fire cider last?
Homemade fire cider generally lasts for up to several months, depending on the freshness of your ingredients and how well it has been stored. To maximize its shelf life, make sure you keep your fire cider in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. You can also try storing it in the refrigerator or freezer to help extend its shelf life even further. Just be sure to use it within a few months for the best results. Whether you are using fire cider on a regular basis or just when you need an extra health boost, it is a great natural remedy that can help keep you feeling your best!
Is fire cider good for gut health?
Yes, fire cider is very good for gut health due to its powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The garlic, onion, ginger, and other spices in fire cider help support digestive function by killing harmful bacteria in the gut and reducing inflammation throughout the body. They can also help improve gut motility, which can be helpful for people suffering from conditions like diarrhea and constipation. Overall, if you are looking for a natural way to support gut health and keep your digestive system running smoothly, fire cider is definitely a great option to consider. So why not start incorporating it into your regular routine today?
This homemade fire cider recipe is easy to make and great for your immune system! Fire cider is a traditional folk remedy that has been used for centuries to fight off colds and flus. It is made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, and it only takes a few minutes to prepare. This winter, protect yourself against the cold and flu season by making a batch of this delicious and potent fire cider!