DIY Fire Cider Recipe: A Folk Flu & Cold Remedy

If you keep up with the world of herbalism you may have heard of the recent story of The Fire Cider Lawsuit, in which the company Shire City trademarked the name ‘Fire Cider’ causing an uproar in the community of traditional herbalists and a five year battle to free the term from trademark. Why? Because Fire Cider is a genetic term used by folk herbalists long before Shire City claimed this herbal legacy to be their idea. Long story short… A group of badass female herbalists fought in court to protect tradition & Fire Cider won, it is now a generic term that is considered community owned as it should be! (Read more about the Fire Cider Lawsuit here)

So what exactly is fire cider anyway? Fire Cider is a popular traditional folk herbal remedy that has a sweet, zesty, vinegary & spicy flavor. It’s a fabulous concoction of herbs, roots, fruits, and more depending on how you like it. It’s an amazing tonic for cold and flu cure, digestion aid, immunity boosting, and warming up in the cold days of winter.

When I first moved to the Appalachian Mountains years ago (smack in the middle of winter) I was coming down with colds often. “Honey, you need some Fire Cider!” was the most common statement I’d hear from others as a cold remedy. I had no idea what it was, but finally a friend who had recommended it to me brought some to me at work, when she told me what was in it I almost gagged, especially when onions, horseradish root, garlic and apple cider vinegar were mentioned in the same jar! She assured me it wasn’t any where near as wacky as it sounded. I gave it a try and WOW. Seriously y’all. While not for the faint of heart, this is one of the best things I’ve ever tried, I felt so silly for doubting the super powers of this tonic. Now it is one of my go to’s for immunity boosting, as a cold preventative, warding off flu symptoms, clearing congestion and digestion health. It’s absolutely my favorite herbal concoction to make during the cold months!

In celebration of this zesty traditional remedies’ big win, I am sharing how to craft your own batches of fire cider for the winter! There are zillions of variations and recipes out there, I tend to make a few different varieties since I often share it with others and to appease people’s picky palettes. Here are two of my favorite variations, one on the more traditional side and the other with a sweet twist!

Traditional Fire Cider Recipe

In a traditional fire cider recipe you’ll usually find pungent and fiery things such as horseradish root, jalapeño peppers, onions, ginger and garlic… just to name a few. And then… it’s all doused in vinegar. You’re probably thinking I am a crazy lady writing about how this stuff is delicious. Well the name of the game is waiting… you’ll want to wait about a month or longer before you drink your fire cider so it has time to marinate and infuse it’s medicinal goodness into a magical ass kickin’ tonic! Here’s how you do it…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic horseradish root (read side note below)
  • 10-12 cloves organic garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1 medium organic onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic fresh grated ginger root
  • 1 tbsp. organic fresh grated turmeric (or organic turmeric powder)
  • 2 organic jalapeños peppers, chopped (can also sub for habenero or cayenne peppers)
  • 1 organic orange, zested & sliced
  • 1 organic lemon, zested & sliced
  • 2 sprigs of organic rosemary (or 2 tbsp. of organic dried rosemary leaves)
  • 2 sprigs of organic thyme (or 2 tbsp. of organic dried thyme leaves)
  • 1 tsp. organic black peppercorns
  • Organic raw apple cider vinegar  (Bragg is always my go to)
  • Raw local honey  (optional)

Optional ingredients that I added to my batches:

  • Dried echinacea root: immune support
  • Anise star pods: sweet licorice taste, rich in antioxidants, digestion aid

Side note: Horseradish root is one of the main ingredients in fire cider and it must be the hottest commodity in my town at the moment because it took me 7 tries to find a market that actually had any in stock. One of the employees at a popular natural food market even said “Nope, we haven’t had any for weeks. Everyone is making fire cider because of the lawsuit…”! I couldn’t help but laugh in joy at his comment. Point being, I hope you are able to find horseradish root in your neck of the woods… if not you can always substitute with organic horseradish powder.

Also if you’ve never grated horseradish root before, prepare yourself. It’s about 1000X more intense than slicing an onion (in my humble opinion). I recommend grating near an open window or somewhere with good ventilation. Have fun! 

Directions

  1. Prepare your herbs, roots, veggies and fruits and place them all into a large quart glass jar.
  2. Pour in the apple cider vinegar until all ingredients are covered and the vinegar reaches the top of the jar.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper under the jar if using a metal lid.
  4. Shake, shake, shake it.
  5. Store the jar(s) in a dark and cool place for a month. Remember to shake it everyday, I like shaking it with a prayer or some sort of healing intent to imbue into the tonic.
  6. After a month or so use a cheesecloth to strain the pulp and squeeze the vinegar into a clean glass jar.
  7. Option to add honey, taste your cider and add more if needed until you reach your desired level of sweetness
  8. Enjoy! Keep reading to find out yummy ways to incorporate fire cider into your routine and meals!

Elderberry Fire Cider Recipe

Another go to herbal remedy of mine are elderberries. They are some of tastiest in the herb world and known for their fabulous immune boosting abilities. Elderberries are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and anthocyanins (I just love that word… had to throw it at ya!) responsible for elderberry’s gorgeous purple hue. Add them to a Fire Cider recipe and you’ve got a beautiful, yummy anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory tonic that also helps to lessen the severity and length of cold and flus. I find this recipe to be less intense than the traditional fire cider since this recipe does not include the infamous horseradish root that I can’t seem to stop talking about. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried organic elderberries
  • 1/2 cup organic fresh grated ginger root
  • 1/2 large organic onion, chopped
  • 10-12 cloves organic garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 2 organic cayenne peppers, chopped (or use organic cayenne powder)
  • 1 organic lemon, zested & sliced
  • 2 sprigs of organic rosemary
  • 3 tbs. organic fresh grated turmeric root (or organic turmeric powder)
  • Organic raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg is always my go to)
  • Organic raw local honey, use to desired sweetness

Directions

  1. Prepare your herbs, roots, veggies and fruits and place them all into a large quart glass jar.
  2. Pour in the apple cider vinegar until all ingredients are covered and the vinegar reaches the top of the jar.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper under the jar if using a metal lid.
  4. Shake, shake, shake it.
  5. Store the jar(s) in a dark and cool place for a month. Remember to shake it everyday, I like shaking it with a prayer or some sort of healing intent to imbue into the tonic.
  6. After a month or so use a cheesecloth to strain the pulp and squeeze the vinegar into a clean glass jar.
  7. Option to add honey, taste your cider and add more if needed until you reach your desired level of sweetness
  8. Enjoy! Keep reading to find out yummy ways to incorporate fire cider into your routine and meals!

How to Enjoy Fire cider

It’s been a month and your fire cider is ready, woot woot! Now you’re probably wondering wtf to do with it. Here are some great ways to enjoy the benefits of your fire cider medicinally, in your meals, and otherwise.

  • Take a fire cider shot first thing every morning (my favorite!)
  • Take a 2-3 spoonfuls everyday as a preventative against colds & flus
  • Take 2-3 spoonfuls at the first sign of a cold and repeat every few hours until symptoms lessen
  • Add a splash to your salads
  • Mix with hot water & honey to make a tea
  • Use in  marinades
  • Use in spicy cocktails
  • Drizzle onto veggies

… the possibilities are endless, get creative!

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about folk herbalism and that you have a blast crafting your own Fire Ciders!

Photo via Instagram @theherbiary

One more note before I sign off:

If you’re really digging what you’re reading about some of these herbs but they are impossible to find at your local stores, worry not! Here in Asheville we have the sweetest lil’ herb shop in the galaxy called The Herbiary, they also have a location in Philly! The Herbiary is stocked with virtually every herb you can think of and has a beautifully curated selection of amazing HIGH QUALITY herbal products, books, and a ton more. The best part?… Everything sold in their brick & mortar shops you can find in their online shop.  Check them out here!

This place is the bomb y’all. Your herbs will be packaged and sent to you with lots of love and flair by an amazing staff of knowledgable bad ass herbal ladies and hey… maybe even from me when I work in the shop occasionally 😉

I’d love to hear about your Fire Cider kitchen adventures, please share in the comments if you tried any of the recipes and how you liked it! If you’re interested in learning about other herbal medicines, tonics, etc. please let me know!

**For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.**

 

Stay well & warm!

 


PHOTO CREDIT:

All photos belong to me unless otherwise stated, please credit if any of my images are used. ♥


 

Author: Nicolina Ruiz

Nicolina is the founder and Creative Designer behind Alchemista Creative Studio. She's a Yoga Teacher, an Herbalist,Usui Reiki Healer and ecstatic wanderer. She is a believer in working and creating with your hands whether it be in the dirt, through your music or through creative mediums.

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