How to make a fire cider.
Fire Cider is an Apple Cider Vinegar tonic infused with herbs and other superfoods.
A longtime favorite in the herbal community, this DIY tonic is finally gaining mainstream popularity in South Africa.
Fire Cider Tonic is crafted from 5 main herbs – horseradish, ginger, garlic, onion and hot chillies. Besides the main five, other healing herbs are added to boost the potency and improve the taste of the fire tonic. These include rosemary which is a restorative herb with antimicrobial properties and turmeric which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. And finally, a bit of sweetness from honey rounds up the flavours perfectly and boosts the antibacterial quality of this powerful home remedy.
Strictly speaking, fire cider is an oxymel – or an herbal remedy that includes both vinegar and honey. Oxymels have been used for thousands of years, and they originate in ancient Persia and Greece.
Rosemary Gladstar, the respected herbalist, teacher, and author coined the catchy name in the late 1970s.
Apple cider vinegar acts as an excellent digestive aid and which helps to extract the medicinal compounds of the herbs. And honey helps soothe the body, makes the tonic more palatable and helps buffer the intensity of the herbs.
- Cold Preventative:
Sip by the spoonful when you feel a cold coming. You can also dilute it in water.
- Fire Cider Tonic:
This makes a great mocktail. Add about 1 Tbsp. fire cider and a squeeze of fresh orange juice to a glass of seltzer. Garnish with rosemary sprig.
- Salad Dressing:
Use in place of apple cider vinegar in your favorite vinaigrette. You likely won’t need to add any additional sweetener.
- Fire Cider Tea:
Add about 1 Tbsp. fire cider to a mug of hot water, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a little honey to sweeten. Finish with a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
- Fresh Herb Sauces:
Use fire cider in place of the red wine vinegar in sauces like chimichurri.
- Marinade for fish, chicken, or tofu:
Think of fire cider as the acid in bright, assertive marinades similar to those for jerky style chicken.
- Cold Preventative:
Below is a basic simple recipe you can make at home. If you want to make more simply double the amount of ingredients needed.
- 1L Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) eg. Nature’s Choice Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother or Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup grated fresh horseradish root
- 1/2 cup grated turmeric
- 1 cup or more fresh chopped onions
- 1/2 cup or more chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup or more grated ginger
- Chopped fresh chillis or jalapeños. (Add enough to make it spicy, but not so much that you cannot drink it!
- 4 tbsp raw honey
- Optional ingredients – Cloves, Anise pods, Cardamom, Rosemary, Thyme, Echinacea, Lemon, Orange, Cinnamon etc.
- Place chopped herbs in a 1L glass jar and cover with enough Apple Cider Vinegar to cover the herbs by at least 10cm. Cover tightly with a tight fitting lid.
- Place jar in a warm place and let stand for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process.
- After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs, and reserve the liquid.
- Add honey to taste. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well.
- Rebottle and enjoy! Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store in the refrigerator.
- Fresh Ginger is a warming herb with antiviral properties.
- Onion is a folk remedy for colds and flu, and is particularly rich in quercetin which is strongly anti-inflammatory.
- Garlic is traditionally used to ease colds and upper respiratory tract infections, and has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
- Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
- Horseradish is an excellent remedy for clearing the sinuses.
- Chilli Peppers have high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Also Anti-inflammatory properties.
The leftover now-pickled garlic, ginger, onion, and other herb bits need not go to waste! Some people suggest using them on top of salads or in stir fry. You could also dehydrate the ingredients. The grind it all into a powder and put the powder into capsules, and take them as immunity supplements.
Many South Africans are tweaking the original recipe and adding their own favorite herbs, fruit and even flowers. And, more than a remedy, fire cider is also an excellent food – a delicious, spicy sweet-tart tonic that you can use in place of other vinegars in vinaigrettes and other culinary preparations. Accordingly, it’s a great way to consistently consume medicinal herbs regularly. It will also make a neat Christmas gift for friends and family.