Making an Immune-Boosting Fire Cider Tonic
To ward off colds and flu during these remaining weeks of winter, I made an immune-boosting tonic with some friends called fire cider. Together, we concocted a terrifically spicy blend known for its healing powers using a mixture of spices, vegetables, and fruits that we bought at our local market.
We used fresh horseradish root, turmeric root, ginger root, onion, jalapeno and habanero peppers, oranges, garlic, rosemary, and honey. Although the recipes for the traditional folk recipe vary somewhat, they all say to steep everything in apple cider vinegar.
We gathered the ingredients, and then peeled, grated and spent the next hour chopping and dicing everything…
This extremely pungent horseradish root packs a mean sinus-clearing punch.
And look how bright and orange fresh turmeric is when bought as a root.
We put everything into a big pitcher. Eventually, the mixture is strained, so it’s okay to have big chunks floating around in it.
We transferred the mixture into jars and then covered them with saran wrap before putting the lids on. The vinegar would corrode the metal otherwise.
As the last step, we gave each jar a good shake. We’ll leave the jars out in room temperate for about a month to steep, shaking the jar again once a day.
Then, we’ll strain the mixture and start taking spoonfuls straight once a day or more if a cold is coming on. It’s okay to take some while the mixture is infusing too. The strained fire cider can stay in the refrigerator for up to two years. You can also use the tonic in salad dressings, soup, anything really that calls for a spicy vinegar blend – even cocktails if you’re an an adventuresome mixologist.
Basic Fire Cider Recipe
We basically tripled this recipe. The main rule of thumb is to use equal proportions of each main ingredient and then cover all of it with the vinegar. You don’t have to use the horseradish or turmeric root if you can’t find them in the market; powdered works too. Note also that you can leave out some of the ingredients if you’re sensitive or allergic to any, without affecting the general recipe.
- 3-inch piece of ginger root, peeled
- 3-inch piece of horseradish root, peeled
- 3-inch piece of turmeric root, peeled
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 large heads of garlic, peeled
- Raw honey
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 hot peppers, diced
- Raw apple cider vinegar
For more background on the original fire cider, you can see a YouTube video by the herbalist and remedy’s namesake, Rosemary Gladstar.