Make your own fire cider at home for a natural decongestant and vitamin booster! This is an easy traditional herbalist home remedy. This was an important part of my childhood and I've continued making it as an adult to help provide a boost, especially during the colder months.
What is Fire Cider?
Fire cider is an infused apple cider vinegar drink that was first made in the 80s at the California School of Herbal Studies, by the school's creator Rosemary Gladstar. Based on traditional home remedies, the fire cider recipe uses the power of apple cider vinegar and potent herbs to create a tonic that's spicy, pungent, and sweet. Historically tonics like this have been used to ward off colds and flu, help solve sinus issues, aid in digestion, and help increase circulation.
Made out of a combination of ginger, horseradish, garlic, and turmeric, this concoction is meant to be anti-viral, immune-strengthening, and a decongestant. The ingredients can vary depending on what you have on hand, but I like to stick fairly close to the original by adding onion, garlic, horseradish, ginger, and cayenne (or pepper) along with a few other additions for fun. Stay healthy, friends, and good luck warding off those nasty colds this season!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Apple cider vinegar: choose raw, unfiltered vinegar for this recipe. There are no substitutions and I don't recommend trying to use a different type of vinegar.
- Ginger: fresh ginger is key to this recipe and powdered or dried ginger can't be substituted.
- Jalapeño: this is a fun addition to make the cider a little spicier, but it can be omitted.
- Turmeric: if you can't get fresh turmeric, use more ginger in its place.
Step by Step
Step 1: add all of the herbs, vegetables, and spices to a large clean mason jar.
Step 2: top with vinegar, then keep in a dark place for 3-6 weeks, shaking daily. Strain and keep the vinegar in the fridge for use.
- Use a muffin liner: to help prevent erosion on the metal jar lid, place a muffin liner under the lid as pictured.
- Sterilize the jar: use the oven method or at minimum run through a hot dishwasher before using the jar for the fermentation and to store the finished infused vinegar in.
- Use the vegetables: Rosemary Gladstar recommends making a pulp from the strained herbs and vegetables in a food processor to use as a chutney. Otherwise add to the compost heap as you would any other kitchen waste.
How to use Fire Cider
Fire cider can be taken a couple of different ways, but my favourite would be in the form of those cute little health shots you get from fancy juice stores - just down a shot all in one. But if that doesn't strike your fancy, here are some other ideas:
- Drink a couple of tablespoons on first sight of a cold or flu.
- Mix with warm water and drink in the morning as you would lemon juice.
- Add to salad dressings and Buddha bowl sauces as you would use any other vinegar.
- Sprinkle over steamed veggies.
- Add to spicy cocktails like a Bloody Mary.
- Make a hot toddy with hot water, fire cider, and rum or whisky.
How to Store
Once the vinegar is finished infusing after a few weeks, the strained cider can be kept in the fridge for up to a year.
What is fire cider good for?
Fire cider is meant to be used as a cold preventative and makes an excellent decongestant if you're stuffy.
Does fire cider have alcohol?
Traditional fire cider does not contain any alcohol, but is sometimes served in cocktails or as part of a hot toddy.
What should fire cider taste like?
It tastes like a spicy vinegar, with strong notes of ginger and some garlic and onion. You sweeten to taste, so it can also be a sweet-sour mixture.
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- 1 litre mason jar
- Parchment paper or wax paper or a muffin liner
- ½ cup Peeled and Chopped Horseradish
- ½ cup Peeled and Chopped White Onion
- ½ cup Peeled and Chopped Garlic
- ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Turmeric
- ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Ginger
- 1 Jalapeno pepper Chopped
- Peel and Juice of one Lemon Pith removed
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Sprigs Rosemary
- 2-3 cups Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
- Raw Honey / Maple Syrup to taste
- Place all the vegetables, herbs, and spices, in a clean, sterilized 1 litre mason jar. Top with the apple cider vinegar, and using a clean knife, make sure there are no air pockets where bacteria can grow. Apply a layer of waxed paper, parchment, or a muffin liner to the top of the jar before placing the lid onto it to prevent any corrosion.½ cup Peeled and Chopped Horseradish, ½ cup Peeled and Chopped White Onion, ½ cup Peeled and Chopped Garlic, ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Turmeric, ¼ cup Peeled and Chopped Ginger, 1 Jalapeno pepper, Peel and Juice of one Lemon, 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, 2 Sprigs Rosemary, 2-3 cups Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
- Store your jar in an area you'll visit daily (I keep ours by the tea and coffee) and shake once daily or as often as you can remember. After anywhere from 3-6 weeks the vinegar will be ready.
- Simply strain out all the vegetables (compost them) until you are left with just the infused vinegar. At this step, you can either sweeten the vinegar with honey or maple syrup or if you prefer just to leave it as is and sweeten it as needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to a year.Raw Honey / Maple Syrup to taste