Fire Cider, the traditional tonic of apple cider vinegar, alliums, ginger, horseradish and herbs, is believed to strengthen the immune system and generally cure what ails you. Find your panacea in this lively illustrated compendium of 101 original recipes. Sample recipes excerpted below from Fire Cider!: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends (Storey, $16.95).
Spice Rack Fire Cider
By Raychel Kolen
Mountain Rose Herbs, Eugene, Oregon
For those who’ve ever wanted to make fire cider but can’t always find fresh horseradish, this recipe is for you. Through lots of trial (and only a little bit of error), I discovered that you can make a fire cider that has the same kick as the traditional recipe but with dried horseradish. In fact, it can still be a power-packed remedy without any fresh ingredients at all!
I tried lots of combinations of herbs from the spice rack in my pantry at home, but I made sure each variation included the fire cider must-haves—horseradish, garlic, onions, ginger, spicy peppers and citrus. This recipe includes a flavor favorite of mine: anise. For those who don’t like its licorice taste, leave it out! But those beautiful seedpods provide a nice mellow note and make this fire cider truly unique.
While there were many tasty and potent combos, this one was the unanimous favorite in the Mountain Rose Herbs test kitchen.
¼ cup horseradish powder
¼ cup ground ginger
¼ cup dried minced onion
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons astragalus root powder (or a few astragalus root slices)
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
4 star anise pods
4 whole bird’s-eye chiles
About 4 cups raw apple cider vinegar
Note: I’m partial to honeyless fire ciders. If you like honey, then by all means add some to taste after straining the cider.
Place all the herbs and spices in a glass quart jar. Pour enough apple cider vinegar to cover the ingredients and fill the jar. Seal the jar with a plastic lid, or a piece of parchment paper underneath a metal one. Shake the jar well. Then store in a cool, dark, dry place for about a month, remembering to shake it daily.
Strain out the solid ingredients with cheesecloth and pour the vinegar into a sterilized glass storage jar. Squeeze the cheesecloth to get every last drop of tasty herby goodness. Store the cider in a cool, dark, dry place (or fridge).
I take a tablespoon of cider each morning to warm up and add some to my salad dressings at night.
Rosemary’s Original Fire Cider
By Rosemary Gladstar
Herbs & Earth Awareness, Milton, Vermont
This is one of my favorite and most famous recipes. I started making it at the herb school I founded, the California School of Herbal Studies, around 1980, and it quickly became a popular and well-known recipe used as a tonic and also to prevent colds and flus, to stimulate immune function and to aid in circulation. I think it became so quickly popular in part because it was made from common kitchen ingredients that were easy to find and inexpensive. It was also simple and fun to make, and it tasted darn good, with just the right amount of sweet, spicy, sour and pungent. There are hundreds of variations on this recipe. Here’s the original.
I must be honest and admit that I never measure anything! Instead of a measuring cup or a tablespoon, I use a “measuring hand” or a couple of fingers. In the following recipe, “½ cup” equates to approximately “a handful,” more or less. This method works just great for measuring herbs!
½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more chopped onions
¼ cup or more chopped garlic
¼ cup or more grated ginger
Cayenne pepper, fresh (chop it up) or dried (flaked or ground) to taste
Apple cider vinegar (preferably raw and organic)
Place the herbs in a half-gallon Mason jar and add enough vinegar to cover them by 3 to 4 inches. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid. Place the jar in a warm spot and let sit for 3 to 4 weeks. Shake the jar every day to help in the maceration process.
After 3 to 4 weeks, strain out the herbs, reserving the liquid. Warm the honey (so that it will mix in well) and add it to the vinegar to taste. “To taste” means your fire cider should be hot, spicy and sweet. “A little bit of honey helps the medicine go down….” The honey also helps cool the heat, moistens, and balances all the fiery ingredients.
Bottle, label and enjoy! Fire cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store it in the refrigerator if you have the room.
A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic. Or take fire cider by teaspoons throughout the day if you feel a cold coming on. Take it more frequently, if necessary, to help your immune system do battle.
Text and recipes courtesy of Fire Cider!: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar by Rosemary Gladstar (Storey Publications, $16.95)
* Fire Cider ran in Edible’s 2019 Celebration issue as a companion recipe to William Mullan’s photo essay Odd Apples, a celebration of the fruit’s diversity.