According to herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who is believed to have coined the term “fire cider” in the 1980s, the vegetable and apple cider vinegar-based tonic is an age-old, warming, decongesting home remedy that can be taken daily to help boost your immune system and help you fight off colds.
Recently, a small group gathered in the kitchen of EarthDance volunteer Kathleen Rumme to learn about and prepare fire cider, made with ingredients from the farm and Kathleen’s garden.
As cold and flu season sets in, you can make your own fire cider by following the simple instructions below. And, many people make modifications – we added lemon, jalapenos, turmeric, ginger, and a variety of herbs to the fire cider pictured below.
Rosemary Gladstar’s Fire Cider Recipe
½ c grated fresh horseradish root
½ c or more chopped onions
¼ c or more chopped garlic
Cayenne pepper, fresh (chopped) or dried (flaked or ground)
Apple cider vinegar (preferably raw and organic)
Place the herbs in a half-gallon mason jar and add enough vinegar to cover them by 3-4 inches. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid (Kathleen’s tip: place a piece wax paper between the lid and the jar to prevent erosion of the lid). Place the jar in a warm spot and let sit for 3-4 weeks. Shake the jar every day to help in the maceration (softening by soaking) process.
After 3-4 weeks, strain out the herbs, reserving the liquid. Warm the honey and add it to the vinegar, to taste. “To taste” means your fire cider should by hot, spicy, and sweet. “A little bit of honey helps the medicine go down…” The honey also helps cool the heat, moistens, and balances all the fiery ingredients.
Bottle, label, and enjoy! Fire cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store it in the refrigerator if you have room.
A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic. Or take fire cider by teaspoons throughout the day if you feel a cold coming on. Take it more frequently, if necessary, to help your immune system do battle.