make your own fire cider.

November 5, 2012

fire cider - whole ingredients fire cider - chopped ingredients fire cider - filled top view 2 fire cider - vinegar fire cider - filled top view fire cider - filled fire cider - tagged

As the weather takes a turn for the chillier side of things, it’s nice to have a little something firey to warm things up and ward off germs. When I’m feeling under the weather, I like having natural cold remedies to rely on. All the better if I’ve made them myself. Rosemary Gladstar’s fire cider has been a pantry staple for herbalists for years and I first learned to make it last year when I was still working at the farm. It was a cold-weather savior around this tiny apartment last winter, and we’re hoping for a repeat this year.
The concoction packs an impressive punch and just preparing these hard-working ingredients will do wonders to clear your sinuses. Honestly, prepare yourself for some tears. You can change the exact proportions of ingredients depending on your personal taste, but I used these ingredients and proportions:
1 part chopped onion
1 part grated horseradish root (fresh is better, even if it takes searching a few markets to find it)
1 part peeled and diced ginger
1 part garlic
2 cayenne peppers
Enough apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs (I used about 20 oz of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, my favorite)
After a month (or so) of letting everything sit pretty, strain (and discard!) all the herbs and add a few tablespoons of honey–enough to make the cider just a little bit sweet. 
Once it’s steeped and strained, you can sip the stuff by the spoonful as a tonic to support immune function and ease winter cold symptoms.* When you need something a little smoother, mix it up with a bit of warm water and extra honey for a spicy tea. If you’re feeling adventurous, throw a dash or two on your braising greens for a spicy treat.

*Suffice to say, I’m no doctor and I’m not making any claims to the contrary, but I do hope you’ll consider making a little remedy of your own!

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  • Reply Tati Reyes November 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    This is brilliant! I will definitely be making this soon! Especially since I'm coming down with a cold myself. I'll be enjoying a couple cups of spicy tea in December :)
    Thank you so much for the lovely post!

  • Reply Adrienne November 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    One of my best friends gave me fire cider a few years ago. I love the stuff! Thanks for the reminder and the recipe, Erin :)

  • Reply Emily November 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    This sounds wonderful. My family is constantly kidding me for my "alternative" cold remedies. I will have to add this to my arsenal!

  • Reply corey lynn tucker November 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you! This looks delicious! Can't wait to make it!

  • Reply Marie Matter November 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    thanks for sharing this!!! i'm going to make this TODAY!

  • Reply Milynn {Love + Whimsy} November 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Mmm what a sweet remedy! My parents make a lot of home remedies for curing colds, too. This one seems perfect for the fall :)

  • Reply slip4 November 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Stupid question (?) ..refrigerate while steeping or no?

    • Reply erin November 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Not stupid! In theory the vinegar should mean you don't need to refrigerate. I can just never get all my herbs to stay submerged, so I do, just in case.

  • Reply Jessie Ammons November 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    hmm … total intrigue! must try this.

  • Reply sweet harvest moon November 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Must try this! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Joy November 6, 2012 at 1:06 am

    This sounds fabulous!

  • Reply Mary November 6, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Wow! My eyes are watering a little just reading about it here! I think i might try this. I could always use some heat during the damp winter months! πŸ˜€

  • Reply Lisa November 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I am SO excited to try this recipe. I discovered Fire Cider a few weeks back at the Union Square Farmer's Market and absolutely loved it. I think they will make lovely (and useful) winter gifts. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Reagan Bowman November 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    So do you drink the liquid or eat the strained "stuff"? :)

    • Reply erin November 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      drink (sip) the liquid! discard all of the chopped materials after straining!

  • Reply Anonymous November 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I probably won't be making this… but I love living vicariously through you! Beautiful photos!

  • Reply IndiaMorgan November 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Whipping up a batch of this over the coming weekend. Determined to go an entire winter of subway rides with no cough or sniffles!

  • Reply kelsey November 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Oh my goodness! I love this. How have I never heard of fire cider before? I feel like this is such a great gift for friends and neighbors who live in cold climates like us. I'm totally making a MASSIVE batch on my next day off and will bottle it for gifts. Is that weird? Maybe I'll gift this and a jar of homemade salted caramel to balance things out. Thanks, Erin, for the great idea! Hope you're well. Glad to hear you stayed safe through the storm. Thinking of you.

  • Reply Unknown November 12, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Swooning now. This is definitely on my holiday giftie list.

  • Reply Vanessa {Vanilla and Rose} November 12, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I love this idea! I already use cider as a remedy whenever I get a cold but I love the added spice!

  • Reply Erin November 17, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I just made a jar up today to get me through this wet San Francisco winter. This was such a lovely reminder- every November I try to stock up on all the necessities for life's sniffles- frozen mirepoix and chicken stock for soup, hot toddy ingredients, elderberry-rose hip-echinacea cough syrup, and a goldenseal-echinacea tincture to hopefully ward off the worst of it. I think this will join these as a annual tradition.

    Also for those who have trouble finding horseradish root- I found mine tucked neatly in with the parsnips and fennel at Whole Foods. They might be a good place to check, though you'll most likely have to identify it to your checker.

  • Reply Marie January 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    How long will this keep for once strained?

    • Reply erin January 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      Hi Marie!

      It lasts a really long time in the fridge–6 months or more–but you'll probably finish it long before then!


  • Reply Janet Zwolinski February 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    My English grandmother always made a seasonal tonic with a base of apple cider vinegar. We add lemon, orange and tumeric to ours. The tumeric adds a host of beneficial properties.

  • Reply Janet Zwolinski February 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    That would be turmeric. (more coffee)

    • Reply erin February 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      ha! Just added turmeric this morning!

  • Reply assiaskaleidoscope March 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Fantastic home remedy! Have shared on FB.

  • Reply Caroline Matthes October 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I'm so excited to try this except for one snag: I'm allergic to raw onion. Any advice for a substitution?

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