How to Make Traditional Fire Cider At Home


This traditional fire cider recipe is an easy (and cheap) herbal remedy to make at home and a potent natural medicine during cold and flu season. #firecider #fireciderrecipe This traditional fire cider recipe is an easy (and cheap) herbal remedy to make at home and a potent natural medicine during cold and flu season.

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When cold and flu season hits, I like to reach for natural remedies first. But I’ll be honest, if they don’t really work, I won’t really use them for long. That’s why my medicine cabinet is still a “healthy” mix of herbal medicine and modern pharmaceuticals: I believe there’s a place for both in modern healthcare, depending on what we’re dealing with (I admit, I still reach for the Advil when I’ve got a really bad headache that I want gone, fast!)

But for the most part, I try to stick to the all-natural stuff like herbs and essential oils to stay in good health and to support my body’s natural ability to fight off colds and flu. Because while modern pharmaceuticals are great for acute treatment of specific symptoms, they don’t often do much to support our overall health and wellbeing, and can even cause unwanted side effects that can negatively affect other systems in our body. 

When it comes to colds and flu, I have a few go-to herbal remedies that I reach for that I find work just as well as (maybe better than) anything I can get over the counter.

First of all, straight honey on a spoon is excellent for soothing sore throats and boosting immunity. Sometimes I’ll even add a little chopped, fresh garlic for added potency!

Second, elderberry syrup is another powerhouse herbal remedy for cold and flu season. It can be expensive though if you purchase it from a health food or natural medicine store. However, you can make your own elderberry syrup with elderberries you grow or forage, or from dried elderberries you can buy or order online. 

Finally, when I feel like my sinuses are starting to get stuffed up and I know a cold is coming on, I reach for my favourite herbal medicine that I make at home: Fire Cider.

Now, before I go any further, I need to make it clear that I am not a certified herbalist or health care practitioner. This information is for educational and entertainment purposes only, and you should always speak with your doctor or family health care provider before using herbal remedies as part of your healthcare routine. Just because something is natural does not automatically make it safe, and there are ingredients in the recipe I’m about to share with you that can interfere with certain medications and medical conditions. Always use good judgment and speak with your doctor before using medicinal herbs. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Fire Cider is a potent herbal remedy consisting of warming herbs and roots like horseradish, ginger, garlic, onion, hot peppers, etc. infused in apple cider vinegar.

The term “Fire Cider” was coined by famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the 1970s. It’s an herbal remedy made from infusing warming herbs in a jar and covering with organic apple cider vinegar. You then leave that mixture to infuse for a few weeks and then strain out the plant material, reserving the liquid. Whenever you’re feeling stuffed up, run down or as if a cold is coming on, take a tablespoon (or a small shot glass, which is how I like to do it!) of Fire Cider and it will help clear your sinuses and boost your immunity.

The warming, spicy nature of the roots and herbs used in this herbal preparation make it especially good for the fall and winter months and the cold & flu season that inevitably ensues.

The beauty of this remedy (or any other “folk” remedy for that matter), is that it is not an exact science, and is fully adaptable and customizable depending on your needs, tastes and what herbs and ingredients you have access to in your area.

Today I’m sharing my version of Fire Cider, which does include all of the herbs used in traditional fire cider recipes, but if you can’t find something (like, say, horseradish), or you don’t like something (like hot peppers), or there’s an ingredient that interferes with a medication or medical condition, etc. feel free to omit them. 

Still, if you can get your hands on and use all of the ingredients in this recipe, you’ll reap the full health benefits and immunity boosting power of traditional fire cider.

 

Watch my full Fire Cider video tutorial below

 

What’s in Fire Cider

Each of the herbs in fire cider has its own special medicinal properties that help to boost immunity and support good health. Here’s a breakdown of each ingredient and its corresponding medicinal properties:

Apple Cider Vinegar: Boosts immunity and supports healthy gut bacteria.

Horseradish Root: Boosts immunity, supports the respiratory system and helps clear sinus infections.

  • WARNING: Horseradish can slow thyroid activity, so if you have any sort of thyroid problem you might want to omit it. Talk to your doctor before using.

Garlic: Antiviral, antibacterial and contains allicin, which can help to ward off cancer.

Ginger: Improves circulation, reduces inflammation and contains antiviral and antimicrobial properties to help boost immunity and ward off sickness.

Onion: High in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory properties and antiviral properties

Hot Peppers: Contain capsaicin, which helps improve circulation & clear respiratory issues

  • You can use any type of hot peppers. I usually use jalapeños or serrano chilli peppers.

 

Optional herbs & ingredients

There are a few other optional herbs you might want to consider adding to your fire cider mixture. Here are the ones I use and/or recommend:

Turmeric Root: Reduces inflammation and helps the body detoxify.

Thyme: Antibacterial and expectorant properties help to relieve sore throats, boost immunity and clear mucus from the body.

Rosemary: Antibacterial and a natural decongestant. 

Oregano: Antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties make oregano wonderful for soothing coughs and colds.

Citrus Fruits: Sliced lemons and oranges are a nice addition to fire cider and contain high levels of vitamin C to help support the immune system.

Honey: Raw, local honey helps boost immunity and supports the body’s allergy defences too!

This traditional fire cider recipe is an easy (and cheap) herbal remedy to make at home and a potent natural medicine during cold and flu season. #firecider #fireciderrecipe

 

How to make fire cider

Fire Cider is stupidly simple to make. All you do is peel and chop the horseradish, garlic, ginger, onion, hot peppers and turmeric root (if using) and add to a quart-sized Mason jar. Then take a couple sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary and use your fingers to bruise the herbs, which encourages them to release their essential oils. Place them in the jar too. Then cover all the herbs with organic apple cider vinegar (store-bought or homemade) and allow the mixture to infuse for 3-4 weeks.

Shake the jar once every day or two if you remember to help the herbs infuse. After three or four weeks, strain out the solids and compost and reserve the liquid. At this point you can either store as-is or add some honey to help sweeten the mixture. Personally, I store my fire cider without honey but I take a spoonful of honey to chase the fire cider when I take a shot.

Fire Cider should be stored in a cool, dark place and should last quite a while (we always go through course within at least a few months over cold and flu season, but it has lasted just fine on our shelf for up to at least three months and should technically last quite a bit longer). So no need to take up room in your refrigerator!

 

How to use fire cider for colds and flu

You can (and should) take about a tablespoon or so of fire cider daily during cold and flu season to help boost immunity and ward off sickness. At the first sign of a cold or flu, up your dosage to two or three tablespoons daily.

That’s it! Pretty simple, eh? If, however, you’d like to watch me make a batch of fire cider to see exactly how I do it, I’ve included a video at the end of the printable recipe below. 

And as always, let me know what you think of this recipe and share any other tips or favourite herbal or all-natural remedies for cold and flu season in the comments below!

This traditional fire cider recipe is an easy (and cheap) herbal remedy to make at home and a potent natural medicine during cold and flu season. #firecider #fireciderrecipe

How to Make Traditional Fire Cider At Home

Ingredients

  • Raw apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh horseradish root
  • ½ cup chopped fresh ginger root
  • 8-10 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • One handful each of fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano an/or fresh sage (one or two tablespoons each if using dried herbs)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh turmeric root (optional)
  • ¼ cup raw local honey (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place onions, horseradish, ginger, garlic, jalapeños, herbs and turmeric root (if using) in a clean, quart-sized Mason jar (or similar size glass jar).
  2. Cover completely with apple cider vinegar (use a weight to keep ingredients under the vinegar if necessary).
  3. Place a lid on the jar and shake to combine ingredients. Let sit for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking once every day or two (or whenever you remember!).
  4. Strain out the herbs and solid ingredients and reserve vinegar. Add the honey (if using) and shake well to combine.
  5. Store in a cool, dark place and take a tablespoon of fire cider daily during cold and flu season to ward off potential illness. If already sick, up the dosage as needed. If you find the fire cider is too strong, chase with a spoonful of raw honey.

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂

 

 

 

 


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18 Comments

  1. Kristy

    Thanks for sharing.
    How do you know if it’s gone bad? Is there a safe way to tell if it’s gone bad?

    What if you steep for 6 months, will that cause it to go bad? I am assuming it will ferment or something because of the vinegar.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Kristy,
      There’s really no risk in it going bad. Since it’s preserved in vinegar I’ve left mine for weeks at a time before straining and it’s been fine. And after straining you should be able to bottle it and keep it on your shelf for a long time up to around 12 to 18 months). Even after that it will still probably be fine as vinegar will. only continue to get more “vinegar-y.”

      Reply
  2. Jes

    Hi! Do you think using ground turmeric would be ok? Or should it be the root?

    Reply
    • Ashley Constance

      Hi Jes! Ground would work fine if that’s what you have – just use a bit less of it as dried herbs and spices have a tendency to be a bit more potent.

      Reply
  3. Deb

    Is it possible to make it without the garlic? Found out I have a sensitivity to it and can’t use it anymore without having a severe rash flare up!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes, absolutely! You can omit whatever you like:)

      Reply
      • Jodi

        Help! I just made two quarts, got excited and added the honey to the mix, not after the 2-4 weeks! Is all lost?

        Reply
        • Anna Sakawsky

          Hi Jodi,

          Not to worry, your fire cider will be just fine:) It doesn’t really matter when you add honey. I just find it easier to add the honey after straining the solids out.

          Reply
          • Jodi

            Thank you so much, was afraid it would grow bacteria or combust… 😳 Still ok to leave it on the counter out of direct light light?

  4. Emerald

    Does anyone know if you can use FROZEN jalapeños in the fire cider recipe?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes! You can! I used frozen jalapeños in my batch this year and it turned out great. I found it was a great way to use up some of the jalapeños that were a bit too shrivelled to eat. I just chopped them up, tossed hem in the freezer and then added them to my fire cider when I was ready and I haven’t noticed a difference between using frozen vs. fresh.

      Reply
  5. Tracy

    Also, I have some beet stalks and greens I was thinking about tossing into the fire cider. We don’t enjoy the greens cooked as a green, so thought it might be a way to not waste them and still get some of the goodness from beets. Do you think it’s ok to toss them in the cider mix?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. You may still get some of the nutrients without actually eating them this way.

      As for leaving it to sit for longer, in theory it should get stronger but I think after a certain amount of time the vinegar will probably extract less and less of the medicinal properties. What I might suggest would be to strain it, remove the solids and pulse them in a blender. This breaks up the solids and exposes more surface area, which will help the solvent (the vinegar) to extract more of the beneficial properties. Return the pulp to your jar and cover with the fire cider again. This might help to make it more potent.

      Reply
    • laura cunningham

      Yes, you can. I did and it was great!!

      Reply
  6. Tracy

    Hi Anna! Just curious – is there any benefit to leaving the fire cider to brew longer than 3 weeks before straining? Thanks!

    Reply
    • laura cunningham

      absolutely, the longer the better

      Reply
  7. Heather @ A Happier Easier Life

    Hey there, I just found your site and I love it! My grandma was really into natural remedies, but I have never heard of Fire Cider until today. After reading the list of ingredients, no wonder it’s got a little fire in it! haha

    I will definitely be back to learn more. Thank you!

    https://AHAPPIEREASIERLIFE.COM/

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      So glad you found me! I learned about Fire Cider a couple years ago and it’s definitely because a staple cold & flu remedy in our house!

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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In the Summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, our resident handyman (my dear husband @ryan.sakawsky ;) shares his best tips for how to put your scrap pile to good use and knock some projects off your list while the weather’s still good, including which materials are worth saving and which ones aren’t.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the summer issue yet, you can subscribe via the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky (or login to the library if you’re a already a subscriber) or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

Do you keep a scrap pile? If so, what sort of materials do you have laying around?

#scrappile #modernhomesteading #homesteading #diy #getscrappy #resourcefulness #inflation #beatinflation
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