Fire Cider-- an Immune-Boosting Herbal Folk Remedy
Fire cider is a time-tested herbal folk remedy for boosting immunity, aiding digestion, and adding much needed internal heat to the body when the weather gets cold. Fire cider is made by infusing pungent, anti-bacterial ingredients in apple cider vinegar, which draws out their active compounds. Because it’s a folk remedy, the ingredients often change based on personal preference, location, and availability. The usual suspects are horseradish, raw garlic, onion, hot peppers, and honey which is added at the end to make the infusion more.. let’s say “palatable”, but also helps to soothe inflamed tissues and protect against seasonal allergies.
After preparing the infusion, it sits for a full month before being strained. The spicy, flavorful vinegar can then be enjoyed as a salad dressing, marinade for veggies, or simply taken in shots! Making fire cider is easy, fun, and allows you take control of your own health by interacting and customizing your own medicine! Here are the ingredients I chose to add:
Horseradish - clears congestion from the respiratory system and sinuses, as well as fights bacteria and helps to treat urinary tract infections
Garlic - anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties
Onion - anti-inflammatory, loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants
Ginger - excellent for digestion, improves circulation, anti-inflammatory
Rosemary - detoxifying, anti-bacterial, improves circulation and memory
Oregano - anti-bacterial, anti-viral, reduces inflammation
Turmeric - anti-inflammatory, improves joint health, detoxifies the body
Jalapeno - anti-bacterial, prevent colds, fight inflammation
Lemon zest - high in vitamin C, anti-cancer properties
Cayenne pepper - improves digestion, circulation, and immunity
Apply cider vinegar - digestive aid, loaded with gut-friendly probiotics
Raw, local honey - soothes inflammation, rich in anti-oxidants, fights seasonal allergies
Immune-Boosting Fire Cider
yields ~32 ounces
1/2 cup fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh horseradish root, peeled and chopped (I found this at Sprouts and Central Market here in Texas)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
2 organic jalapeño peppers, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tb fresh rosemary leaves
2 Tb fresh oregano leaves
2 Tb fresh turmeric root, chopped (or 1 Tb dry powder)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
3-4 cups organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw local honey, or to taste (can also use agave or maple syrup)
Add ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, jalapeños, lemon zest, rosemary, oregano, turmeric and cayenne powder into quart-sized glass jar.
Pour apple cider vinegar in the jar until all the ingredients are fully covered.
Place a piece of parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, and then close lid.
Shake jar to combine all the ingredients and store in a dark, cool place for 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar a few seconds every day.
After one month, use a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain out the solids, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. You can compost the solids, or cook them into a soup if you’re feeling creative!
Add honey to the liquid and mix well. Taste and add more honey if needed until you reach your desired sweetness.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or in a cold, dark place. Drink 1-2 tablespoons when you feel a cold coming on, or daily for prevention. Dilute the fire cider in water or drink it plain if you're feeling bold!