½ cup fresh grated ginger root
½ cup fresh grated horseradish root
1 yellow or purple onion, chopped
10 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves
1 tbsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder
Apple cider vinegar
Honey, to taste
Fire cider is a tangy & spicy folk herbal brew that is made by infusing apple cider vinegar with a variety of herbs and spices.
Making fire cider is a way to use food as medicine, and incorporate botanicals into your daily life. Typically, fire cider contains botanicals that help bolster the immune system, which makes it particularly useful for cold & flu season. In fact, herbalists have been making, enjoying, and selling fire cider for years as a way to support people through winter. While herbal infused vinegars have a long history of use, Rosemary Gladstar created fire cider in the early 1980’s, and generously shared her recipe and allowed it to become a medicine that anyone could make and share.1 A few years ago, a company wanting to trademark the name, “Fire Cider,” threatened this legacy. Fire cider became headline news, as herbalists fought to keep this name from becoming a trademark. Thankfully, they won this precedent setting case, which means that the name will remain generic and people can continue to use it without threat of legal action. If you are curious about this case and the ramifications of trademarking traditional herbal medicines, check out Free Fire Cider.
I love knowing the traditional medicinal uses of common culinary herbs and spices, like garlic, ginger, or turmeric, to name a few. There is something empowering about making medicine in your own kitchen. Many of these herbs have a long history of use for particular health concerns, and sometimes this use is supported by modern scientific research, but sometimes it is not. For example, the studies exploring whether garlic helps to treat the common cold are conflicting. One review paper referenced a placebo-controlled study that found that those consuming garlic supplements reported less colds in a three-month period compared to those consuming placebo pills.2 The researchers concluded that while this result was promising, there just haven’t been enough high quality studies to say for certain that garlic consumption can help prevent the common cold. Whether or not each herb in fire cider has research to support its use for winter wellness, it tastes delicious and is quite enjoyable to use as a food. With that said, making and consuming fire cider does not take the place of seeking adequate medical care if you are ill, especially if you are getting worse or not improving in a timely manner.
Makes about 1L of fire cider
- Prepare all ingredients, and add them to a large glass jar.
- Pour enough apple cider vinegar to cover all the ingredients.
- Seal the jar, but if it has a metal lid, place a piece of parchment paper separating the metal from the vinegar.
- Shake well, and store in a cool dark place for one month. Shake daily, making sure that all ingredients are submerged by vinegar.
- Once ready, strain the fire cider by using cheesecloth, and pour it into a clean glass jar.
- Add honey, ¼ cup at a time, until desired sweetness is achieved. Store in fridge.
- Add it to food, like salad dressings or marinades, or take a spoonful throughout the winter months.
- There are many different fire cider recipes to be found. This particular recipe is fairly true to the original, but can easily be adapted to suit what you have and what you prefer.
- Consider adding other herbs and spices like cinnamon, thyme, cloves, star anise or peppercorns.
- Consider adding other citrus like, orange, grapefruit, or lime.
- Gladstar, R. (2014, December) Rosemary’s story. Retrieved from https://freefirecider.com/rosemarys-story/
- Lissiman, E., Bhasale, A. L., & Cohen, M. (2014). Garlic for the common cold. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 2014(11), CD006206. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006206.pub4
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