A few years ago, a coworker of mine came in with a bottle of fire cider that her mother had sent her and dared all of us to give it a taste….we were nervous at first, especially me, I DO NOT LIKE spicy things… But I tried it….it was spicy and sweet and complex and it got my blood moving. which is exactly what it’s designed to do!
As soon as I figured out just how easy it is to make, I set out to make my own. I make it differently every time I do it, although there are some *must have* ingredients in there…I’ll get to that. 🙂
The recipe is based on a number of recipes handed down potentially since the days of the Black Plague, but it’s been perfected and titled by Rosemary Gladstar, a matriarch of the modern herbal community.
It’s an immune booster, a digestive aid, a blood stimulant, a winter warmer, a cold chaser. It’s a great thing to have around and SUPER easy to make. You can drink it straight, mix it into juice, put it on a salad, mix it with hot water and honey like a tea (you can also inhale the steam to get your sinuses moving). It’s pretty magical stuff.
You can watch Rosemary make it and talk about it here:
There are tons of variations on this recipe, but the key ingredients are garlic, onion, horseradish, ginger, cayenne, apple cider vinegar and honey. You can add other varieties of pepper, peppercorns, turmeric, cinnamon, rose hip, other members of the allium family, citrus, fennel, thyme, lavender, echinacea, parsley…basically if it makes you think: immune boosting, full of vitamin c, warming, blood stirring, or digestive….you can throw it in there.
Today as I was repeatedly strolling the farmer’s market (it was a glorious day here…and anyone who follows me on Instagram saw my silly vintage cape ensemble that I was strolling in)….I kept noticing the brightly colored peppers on all the stalls. I don’t like spicy food, so I only ever use peppers for fire cider. I also knew I had ginger at home because of my recent ginger soda endeavors…so I decided to make my first batch of fire cider for the year.
Current Batch of Fire Cider Includes:
- 2 small local vidalia onions
- 1 heirloom cayenne pepper
- 1 peach habanero pepper
- a big chunk of horseradish (probably about a half a cup of chopped root)
- about 6 little chunks of turmeric root (about 1/4 cup of root bits)
- an orange
- most of a lemon
- a 6 inch piece of ginger root
- about a quarter cup of scallion tops (I had them lying around)
- two full heads of garlic (pressed)
- a big chunk of rosemary from the garden
- an entire bottle of Braggs apple cider vinegar
It’s all chopped up and chucked into a half gallon mason jar. I’m actually using one of my super vintage ones because it has a glass lid – vinegar tends to corrode the metal ones, which isn’t so nice. If you’re using one with a metal lid, everyone says to stick a piece of waxed or parchment paper between the lid and the jar.
Once it’s macerated for 4-6 weeks (and shake that baby occasionally, it does really help), I’ll strain out all the veggie matter and mix in honey to taste. I actually have a rosebush in my yard that’s going to hip nicely…so I might make a honey/rosehip syrup and mix that in. The fun part is that you don’t have to adhere to any recipe strictly. You can make it differently every single time if you want to.
I keep the big bottle in the fridge, but I have a small bottle on my bathroom counter with an eyedropper and I take it if I’m feeling like I’m starting to get sick, if my stomach is upset, or if I’m really cold….or sometimes just for fun. If I feel like I need a big dose, I mix it into OJ. I also like to keep a small bottle in my travel bag and take it while I’m traveling…I think it’s better than Airborne.
If you want to read about the current (and really appalling) trademark controversy over fire cider (essentially a corporation has placed a trademark on a folk remedy that isn’t theirs to trademark and has been sending nasty letters to herbalists all over the country to have them change the name of their product), please go here: http://freefirecider.com/ – also consider signing the petition here to revoke this trademark.
Traditions not trademarks!