Winter is coming and cold and flu season isn’t far behind. That means it is time to start prepping the winter cider. This amazing vinegar tonic is a must have when winter illness hits. I can’t say I enjoy drinking it but I will say I love what it does for me!
History of Fire Cider
Winter cider is known by many names; one of the most famous is “Fire Cider”. The name was coined by Rosemary Gladstar while teaching her students that herbal preparations can be as much food as they are medicine. There are a variety of vinegar tonic recipes out there, but when she created her fire cider there weren’t as many options, and her fire cider differed from what was popular at the time. Many of these early formulas included vinegar, honey, and primarily culinary herbs. Fire cider, on the other hand, was bursting with many fiery, pungent ingredients topped off with sweet honey for an amazing taste. She also realized that this tonic could be taken as an immune enhancer, helping to fight off infections, congestion, and cold and flu.
As she traveled and taught, fire cider began to spread like wildfire. People began to adapt the recipe to make it their own. People were turning food into medicine in their own kitchens – what a wonderful occurrence! As people began to make it their own they also began to sell fire cider in their small shops and at local farmers markets. Rosemary too was selling it. On her website, she states it was wonderful to see people so eagerly responding to herbal medicine.
Unfortunately, there is quite a stir right now in the herbal world about the name Fire Cider. In short, many small herbal businesses were making and selling it without any disapproval from the creator of the original recipe, Rosemary Gladstar. However, a different company took it upon themselves to trademark the name Fire Cider, causing a big uproar from those who had been making and selling this for many years prior to this company’s existence. This is a very important issue right now in the herbal world because it speaks to the issue of trademarking and profiting from long-held traditions and ancient recipes passed down through generations. If you would like to read more about this check out Rosemary’s story right here.
Fire Cider Ingredients
If you look back at the recent posts I’ve done you’ll get to know the ingredients very well. But as a quick reminder, the ingredients in this cider are antiviral, antibacterial, good for your heart, wonderful for fighting congestion of the lungs and the head, and beneficial for those suffering from a sore throat and other aches. Be sure to go check out the posts on the ingredients for this winter cider. Then you’ll not only be able to make the cider you’ll have the knowledge to grow the ingredients in your own garden!
Apple cider vinegar is a very important ingredient that brings its own benefits, including its ability to kill many different types of bacteria. Peppers are also an important ingredient in this cider but you need to choose the pepper you can stand. The hotter the better in most cases, but if you choose a pepper that is too hot and you are unable to use the tonic then it does no good. I’ve made it using jalapenos, cayennes or habaneros before. Pick what works best for you.
Making Fire Cider
Because this is such a wonderful recipe and because I believe we should share the wonders of herbalism, I’m going to share the recipe here today.
I believe it belongs in every kitchen especially come cold and flu season. Mine is always a bit powerful and it gives you a shiver when you take it down but it is the first thing I try when I start feeling achy or if I notice those around me are getting sick. I almost always feel it working right away. I love this so much it’s probably going to be everybody’s Christmas gift this year. In fact I’ve already sent it out in a care package for a cousin in need since it seems that the viruses have started early this year. This recipe is adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Fire Cider.
½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup (or more) fresh chopped onions
¼ cup (or more) chopped garlic
¼ cup (or more) grated ginger
Peppers to taste
Apple Cider Vinegar, preferably raw, enough to cover the herbs and fill a ½ gallon jar.
This is the basic ingredient list, but if you are a wiz with herbs and spices feel free to add them to the mix to make the taste your own. You can also add turmeric or echinacea for some added healing benefits.
- Chop and grate all of your ingredients placing them into your jar as you go.
- Cover with Apple Cider Vinegar by at least three to four inches.
- Cover tightly with a lid. Date and label it.
- Place in a warm area and let it brew for three to four weeks. Shaking it every day will help the brewing process.
- After it is done infusing, strain out all the herbs – make sure you compost them.
- Add honey to taste.
- Place liquid in the container you want to store it in. This should keep for several months unrefrigerated if kept in a cool area. It will keep even longer in the refrigerator.
Using the Fire Cider
I’m not a huge spicy foods fan so I usually take this as a tonic to fight infections, but you may enjoy it added to food. When I feel that I need to fight something off I will take a shot glass full daily, sometimes more than that if I’m already pretty sick. If I just want to prevent getting ill from something that is going around I’ll take a few teaspoons of it throughout the day, every day.
Some might find it difficult to take this straight if so you can always mix it up a bit. Adding it to hot water with extra honey can make it a spicy tea. Use it instead of vinegar as a salad dressing. Put it on steamed, roasted or sauteed vegetables. Add it to soup or use it as a marinade. Remember, let thy food be thy medicine. This is a very spicy food so if you have a sensitive stomach don’t take it on an empty stomach and be cautious if you have stomach ulcers.
I really don’t know how I made it before this cider. I hope that you give it a try, I’m sure you’ll wonder the same thing.