Many decades ago, renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar coined the term "Fire Cider" for the delicious respiratory tonic made from easy to find kitchen ingredients macerated in apple cider vinegar.

When I was in herbal school in the late 1990's, I learned it as Professor's Blend.  No matter the name you call it by, this is a beloved recipe that herbalists everywhere use to protect against respiratory infections such as colds or flu's.  While it's been popularized to nip colds and flu's in the bud, I recommend it as a daily tonic for everyone, especially for those who are  asthmatic or suffer from recurrent sinus infections or ear infections.  It's also a digestive aid for sluggish, weak digestion.  Our digestion provides the basis for our immune health, and the respiratory and digestive systems are both intrinsically connected, one's energy flowing into the other. According to Chinese Medicine, "The lung meridian communicates with the large intestine creating an exterior and interior relationship between these two organs. Thus, they influence each other closely"  (Source).   This spicy tonic has the dual purpose of supporting both of these body systems.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The main ingredients are pungent, spicy & aromatic:  garlic, onions, ginger, and sometimes horseradish with a touch of cayenne pepper. These herbs are known for their antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties.  Garlic is protective for the heart, and all of the ingredients stimulate and support the circulatory system and are classified as warming.   From an energetic perspective, when we are tired, run down and tend towards being chilly and sluggish our internal fire is low leading to a greater susceptibility for being sick. This fire cider helps to generate the internal heat to increase vitality.

HOW TO USE FIRE CIDER

Start or end your day with a tablespoon in a little water or tea as a preventative through the cold and flu season.  While sick, take up to 6 tablespoons. Children may prefer the cider in a little juice.  Use it in salad dressings for the family as a daily wellness shot. Warm it on the stove as an inhalant to clear sinuses.

Recipe Preparation: 30 minutes

Equipment: 
A litre (quart) size canning jar
Wax paper to line the lid
Grater, chopping knife, or food processor 

Ingredients:
While every herbalist has their own version of fire cider, they all more or less include onions, garlic, ginger and horseradish.  If you cannot find fresh horseradish then buy a jar of prepared horseradish, but read the ingredients and make sure there's no additives other than salt and vinegar.

1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup chopped garlic OR two whole heads of garlic, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup peeled ginger root
1/2  cup horseradish * or 1/4 cup if you're really sensitive to this spicy root
1/4 tsp ground organic cayenne pepper  
apple cider vinegar  to cover
(Step by step instructions to make your own apple cider vinegar here.)

Honey to taste (I prefer it without, as I like savoury medicines).

Optional:
1/2 cup fresh peeled turmeric root
1/3 cup orange peels or other citrus fruit peels (fresh or dried)

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds or pure juice (thanks to Julia Blankespoor for this inspiration!)

Finely chop, grate or place the above ingredients in a food processor:

Once well chopped, place the ingredients into a clean, wide-mouthed mason jar large enough that it fills the jar 3/4 full.

Cover with apple cider vinegar.  Keep in mind that all the herbs must be completely submerged in the vinegar.  If any of the herbs poke above the surface your fire cider may spoil.

place a piece of wax paper over the opening of the jar, and then fasten the canning jar lid.  The wax paper prevents the vinegar from rusting the metal lid.
Label with the date and full ingredient list.
Store in dark place for 2-4 weeks.

When it is ready,  strain, add some honey to taste, then bottle. It does not need to be refrigerated. However, you may keep in the fridge to prolong the shelf life.  Unrefrigerated it lasts about 10 months.  You may use the spent herbs in a stir fry or add to sauerkraut.

Enjoy!

24 Comments

  1. Becky Kent on September 25, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Hi ,
    I was wonder if you can use the onion mix in something after you drain it.. I hate to waste
    stuff ??

  2. Ayna on September 27, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    This is brilliant! Will be making some soon. Thank you for sharing your wisdom x

  3. Victoria on September 23, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    I have a really hard time finding the horseradish root, would it be ok to use the commercially sold in a jar?

    • Seraphina Capranos on September 23, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      Hi Victoria,

      Yes, you can use the commercially prepared horseradish, so long as the ingredient list is simple and pure, and dairy free. However, when horseradish is hard to find fresh I’ve made this recipe without it with the bulk of the ingredients being onions and garlic – and it’s still wonderful and effective!

  4. Cindy on September 20, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Hello. Wonderful post and video . Thank you.
    I’m thinking of trying one with some dried shiitake mushrooms added. What are your thoughts on this?

  5. Monika on October 29, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Seraphina! Thank you for posting this recipe!! Erika made a batch and gave me some … it’s wonderful!! I also enjoyed your video … you are looking great!! <3 <3

  6. Wera on October 18, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Ahh Seraphina thank you, i am making my fire cider today, all ingredients from the farm this year:) and it is wonderful to watch your little video. Thanks for being such an amazing teacher!

    • Seraphina Capranos on October 19, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      You are so welcome! Thank you for your lovely comment! Happy autumn,

  7. Dawn on February 16, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I am ready to drain my mixture but the contents look very gray. I’m not sure if this is something I should put into my body.

    • Seraphina Capranos on February 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Yes, the contents do look grey because the vinegar has drawn out and “exhausted” the plant material. But the liquid should look and smell good – like the ingredients.

  8. carrina on January 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you so much for posting the recipe!
    I was just given a small jar of fire cider by one of your students. I really like it but find the raw onions in the mix doesn’t sit well with me. Would it drastically decrease the medicinal properties to make it without?

    • Seraphina Capranos on January 25, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Hi Carrina!

      Yes,onions don’t do well for everyone. You could simply make this recipe by omitting the onions, and then add more garlic, horseradish, ginger to balance out the bulk of ingredients. You’d still have a very effective Fire Cider!
      Have fun, and enjoy. ~ Seraphina

  9. Shivani on December 17, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Can you do 1/2 horseradish root AND 1/2 turmeric root, or would that be yucky?
    Also, your post is a little unclear about if I do like a lot of horseradish root (I don’t mind the heat), your recipe states use 1/2 CUP horseradish root right??

    • Seraphina Capranos on January 25, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Yes of course you can! And yes, 1/2 cup horseradish. However, the proportions are not strict, honestly you can accommodate the ratios to your own taste. There’s lots of flexibility here. Enjoy!

  10. Lindsay on January 3, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I had some of Kelsey’s batch over the holidays, and it’s definitely now a priority to make my own. Thank you for a great recipe!

    • admin on January 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      You’re welcome Lindsay! Sending love, xo

  11. Heike on October 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I followed exactly your instruction, no green parts of plants and it turned to a beautiful turquoise. Looks very interesting. Could it be a chemical reaction?

    • admin on October 23, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Hi, Yes, it’s likely a chemical reaction in the fresh, possibly young or too-early harvested onions. I’ve just had a few students email me and say they’ve noticed this happen in their fresh produce.

  12. Heike on October 22, 2014 at 2:15 am

    Thank you for your recipe.Just made it. But after one day it turned turquoise. Can you tell me why and can i still use it ? Thank you.

    • admin on October 22, 2014 at 7:57 am

      Green?! I’ve never had that happen before – unless I used fresh burdock roots, or some of the green parts of the horseradish leaf etc. Did you use any green parts of plants?

  13. Elaina on October 15, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Wonderful, Seraphina, and a lovely video. Thank you

    • admin on October 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Thank you! I enjoyed writing this.

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