Fire Cider has become one of the most quintessential herbal preparations of our time. It captures both the imagination of people new to working with herbs to support their health, while remaining a staple preparation for those seasoned in the use of herbs. Who knows how long people have been creating this kind of warming and supportive vinegar... but it surely is a folk medicine of the people. Recently there was a company that tried to trademark the phrase 'Fire Cider'. Members of the herbal community brought this company to court, and after years of effort the courts ruled in the favor of the herbalists dedicated to keep this medicine, and its name, in the hands of the people. A big victory, indeed.
These recent events reveal Fire Cider as an exciting remedy that links us to the past, while being rooted in modern health freedom and the resistance of corporate control. And when you make your next batch, you may want to share this story as you share a shot of this invigorating preparation. Fire Cider is accessible and effective. It threads the line between herbal medicine and food as medicine. The method of preparation is simple, flexible, and intuitive. And to top it all off, each and every ingredients is commonly available in most every grocery store.
Early autumn is the perfect time of year to make yourself a jar, as this warming remedy is a fantastic accompaniment to the colder weather rolling in. If you make a batch soon, you will have some on hand for that first sign of cold or flu. Fire Cider supports and stimulates our immune systems and can be helpful in moving stuck mucus in the respiratory tract. For those of us who run on the cool side (ie. cold hands and feet), Fire Cider can be had on the daily as a warming circulation tonic. Fire Cider also supports digestion, behaves as a general respiratory support, and is anti-inflammatory.
Fire Cider can be had by the spoonful, shot straight, or mixed with a little water. It is a nice addition to salad dressings, soups, or to top all kinds of food, a bit like a hot sauce. As a daily tonic 1 teaspoon-1 Tablespoon/ day is sufficient. For acute immune support, consider having 1-2 tablespoons to start and then an additional tablespoon every 3-4 hours. For those of us with stomachs that are very sensitive to spicy food, consider experimenting with how much feels good. The honey mellows some of the spicy components, and is in itself medicinal. Add honey to taste after straining.
There is no one recipe for Fire Cider, which is part of its charm. Below you will find basic guidelines for amounts. Fire Ciders almost always contain: ginger, onion, garlic, hot peppers, and horseradish infused in apple cider vinegar and honey (preferably raw). But let your imagination run wild and add herbs or other ingredients to suit your specific needs and tastes. Some of our favorites are: fresh herbs like sage/thyme/ rosemary, organic lemon (rind and pith), echinacea root, rose hips, medicinal mushrooms, and hibiscus.
Ingredients (estimated amounts):
1 medium sized onion, chopped small
1-2 heads of garlic, minced
~1/2c ginger, chopped small
~1/2c horseradish, chopped small
1-2 hot peppers (Ideally fresh jalepeños or cayenne. Can also use dried), minced
1 lemon, chopped small (use the skin and pith if organic)
1 quart+ apple cider vinegar (enough to cover herbs in the jar well) Use raw if possible.
~1/2-3/4c honey (added after straining, to taste) Use raw if possible.
1 large quart sized (or larger jar)
Small piece of parchment or wax paper
Let sit for 2 weeks or more, shaking every other day or so. Strain and add honey to taste. Enjoy and cheers to a cozy and safe winter season!
Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have any questions!
Also FYI, you can check out our video about making "DIY Oxymels" to learn more about how to use herbs, vinegar and also honey to make a variety of delicious herbal preps. Download here.
Susan Staley is a clinical and community herbalist staff member with Railyard Apothecary. She deeply values those herbs and plants commonly available to us today in most grocery stores, and the where the edge blurs between food and medicine. You can schedule a conversation with her or other members of Burlington Herb clinic here: https://www.burlingtonherbclinic.com/
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