It doesn’t happen often, but when I get the sniffles I turn into a big whiney baby. I’m useless. No pushing through and carrying on with the day here, nope. I’m in bed, on the couch, taking it easy- and almost always with a pile of used tissues on the floor… yes mom, I still do that! You tried hard to break the habit, but it just didn’t happen. Can’t win ’em all I guess.
When I start to feel a cold coming on, I immediately begin pumping myself full of extra vitamins and nutrients in order to fight off the bugs fast. I hate being sick, and I’ll do just about anything to shorten it… including drink this wild and crazy concoction!
It sounds awful, but when mixed with raw honey it isn’t bad at all, so don’t turn your nose up just yet!
What is Fire Cider? Take all the most flavorful and pungent foods you can think of and soak them in vinegar together for a month. A couple shots of this brewed drink will help you get rid of the yuck… and as an added bonus, also repel vampires, your significant other, or anyone else within breathing distance of you.
This drink was historically used to ward off illness, or at least shorten its course. One look at the ingredient list and you can see this stuff is loaded with the most potent anti-bacterial, ant-viral, and anti-inflammatory compounds!
Fire Cider is a traditional remedy rooted deep in folk medicine. Fire Cider as we know it modernly, was developed in the 1980s at an herbal studies school. However, the idea of drinking fermented fruit in the form of raw vinegar, especially that which has been infused with herbs and spices- has surely been around since people have!
Although you can buy already-made Fire Cider, it really feels like a drink that should be crafted in your own home. What better way to honor a traditional beverage and folk remedy, then to put the time and thought into making it yourself!
What’s so great about this stuff anyways?
Well, it contains some of the most powerful (and widely available!) medicinal foods around!
With a base of apple cider vinegar, this brewed drink is potent- and here’s why:
Onion: high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, quercetin, and sulfur. The Greeks even used onions to improve the performance of their athletes for the Olympic Games! This pungent veggie has been around for ages and is used in many health-related ways, from putting onion slices on your feet to get rid of a cold, to adding it into a big pot full of simmering chicken soup!
Jalapeño: contains vitamin C and capsaicin: the anti-inflammatory and vasodilator that promotes healthy blood flow. Jalapeños can improve circulation and promote the loosening of mucous.
Garlic: high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and allicin. Many studies have shown that those taking a garlic supplement have reduced frequency and duration of illness such as the flu and common cold. It has also been thought that garlic aids in opening the pores in order to reduce fever.
Rosemary: one of the earliest documented uses for this herb is it’s ability to stimulate cognitive activity. Although we might think of using rosemary to aid in memory, whenever you improve the function of the brain, you also improve the function of the body and all of it’s organ systems.
Horseradish: strongly antibacterial, horseradish also stimulates digestion, gastric secretions, and appetite. It is a known expectorant, and also stimulates perspiration, which can aid in reducing fever and eliminating toxins. Full of a multitude of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and oils, horseradish contains a powerful healing punch!
Ginger: contains gingerols, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate. Ginger has been reportedly used since 200 BC to treat illness and aid the body in an incredible varieties of ways. Perhaps best known for it’s soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tracts, ginger is a great carminative (a substance that promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance that relaxes the intestinal tract).
Turmeric: curcumin is the active medicinal compound in turmeric. This bright-apricot-orange root is loaded with incredible anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. Curcumin has also been said to improve brain function.
Citrus: loaded with vitamin C, lemons and oranges will help strengthen the immune system and purify the blood. Citrus juice has been reported to aid in fever reduction and body cooling by increasing perspiration, and the oils in the skin of the fruit have anti-bacterial properties.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: because of it’s anti-bacterial properties, apple cider vinegar has been used for ages for everything from preserving food to treating wounds. Raw, un-pasturized apple cider vinegar also has beneficial bacteria cultures. This vinegar has shown positive impact on blood sugar regulation, which is great for overall health!
Raw Honey: containing many vitamins and minerals, this incredible substance has been used throughout history to treat everything from cough to skin infection. It’s anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties have been well documented.
How to Make Fire Cider
Layer in a jar:
1 spring fresh rosemary
6 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
2 medium-sized jalapeños, cut into slices
rind from one lemon and one orange, white pith removed
1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1/2 cup peeled and diced turmeric root
1/2 cup peeled and diced horseradish root
1/2 cup peeled and diced ginger root
juice of one lemon
juice of one orange
2-3 cups raw apple cider vinegar
raw honey (optional)
Layer the ingredients in a quart mason jar (the jar I’m using is a gorgeous Weck Jar!) in the order they are listed above. The order in which the ingredients are placed in the jar is only important so that smaller things or those that are most likely to float are placed on the bottom. Gently push the ingredients down to pack them a little firmer, but not too firm. The jar should be approximately 3/4 full at this point.
Pour the lemon and orange juice onto the ingredients and then top with 2-3 cups of apple cider vinegar. You may need slightly more or less apple cider vinegar- you want it to fill the entire quart jar almost up to the rim. Make sure that all the ingredients are able to be fully submerged. The ingredients will float near the top for a week or so. As they become saturated with vinegar they will sink underneath the surface of the vinegar.
Seal and store: if using a metal canning lid, place a piece of plastic wrap over the jar opening, before securing the lid (this will prevent the vinegar from causing the top to rust). Gently secure the lid.
Store your brewing cider in a slightly cool (65-70 F is ideal) place for a minimum four weeks. Traditionally, this jar was buried in the ground in order to keep the temperature stable and also allow the different electrical charges of the earth work it’s magic. Go for it! Of course, your kitchen cupboard is a fine choice too. And no need to brew this in the refrigerator.
Let the soon-to-be Fire Cider sit and brew for 4-8 weeks.
Strain: using a mesh sieve, strain the solids from the liquid (save those now-pickled veggies and consider putting them to use in an Asian stir fry, or chopped up for a zippy pickle relish or tartar sauce!).
Pour the liquid (that’s Fire Cider!) into an air-tight vessel (like a canning jar) and store it in the fridge- it will keep for many months…maybe indefinitely! Ain’t nothing going to grow in there! If storing in a vessel with a metal lid, again make sure to lay a piece of plastic wrap over the jar opening before securing the lid, in order to prevent the lid from rusting.
Traditionally, this drink is used to help get rid of and prevent illness. At the first sign of a cold or flu- take one to two tablespoons twice daily until your symptoms subside. For a consistent immune system boost, take one tablespoon at a time, daily to weekly. A little goes a long way! Of course, Fire Cider is not a substitute for medical advice when you’re ill.
Some people prefer to drink this straight, while most prefer the synergistic benefits (and taste!) of adding raw honey. A good rule of thumb is to add about half as much honey to Fire Cider… so if you are taking 1 Tbs Fire Cider, add approximately 1.5 tsp of raw honey (but really, you can add as much honey as you prefer). In a small glass stir together the Fire Cider, raw honey, and a touch of warm water to help mix everything together.
Adding honey really transforms the flavor from tart and pungent to smooth and zingy! I’d highly recommend it.
Or… try some of these fun ways to use Fire Cider:
Fire Cider Salad Dressing
Use in place of regular vinegar in your favorite salad dressing recipe. The recipe I love is: 2 tsp Fire Cider, 2 tsp raw honey, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Sweet & Spicy Lemonade
Add a spoonful of Fire Cider to a cool glass of lemonade for a fun and spicy kick on a warm day!
Steak & Chicken Marinade
In a bowl combine 2 Tbs of Fire Cider and 1 Tbs olive oil; mix and toss with meat. Let marinade for 1-4 hours. The flavors in Fire Cider go great with both Asian and Mexican dishes!
Fire Cider Bloody Mary
Add a spoonful of Fire Cider to your favorite Bloody Mary recipe!
Fire-y Pomegranate Spritzer
In a glass combine 2oz pomegranate juice, 1 tsp Fire Cider, 2oz vodka, and then top with ice and 4oz carbonated water.
Cheers to your health!
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