Fire cider was invented by master herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and some of her students in the late 1970s. The original recipe only contained 7 ingredients:
Apple cider vinegar
Rosemary Gladstar has authored several books on herbalism over the years, including a new one that I’m excited to check out: Fire Cider!: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar, published by Storey Publishing in October 2019.
The recipe that I use has several more ingredients in addition to the ones listed above.
This is my third year making fire cider with this recipe, and I only make it once a year because it makes a gallon (approximately three litres). I usually give at least one litre of it away to friends.
I use it in the fall through spring as an immune booster. Friends of mine discovered that it is also great for sore throats, but I highly recommend watering it down and adding a spoonful of honey if your throat is feeling raw.
Chop of the all ingredients below as thinly as possible (or in 1/2” to 1” chunks if you are pressed for time). Be prepared to be chopping for up to an hour. I prefer to hand chop the ingredients rather than use the food processor, but that is totally an option to save time and labour. I’ve provided both metric and imperial measurements. Here in Canada we tend to use a mix of both.
1 orange with peel
2 lemons with peel
1/2 lb (226 g) ginger root (peeled or not – your choice)
1/2 lb (226 g) horseradish root (easy to grow!)
1 large yellow or white onion
2 whole heads of garlic (the peeled weight should be 2-1/2 to 3 oz or 80 g)
2-3 large jalapeno peppers (peppers with similar heat can be substituted)
3-4 sprigs of thyme (I use lemon thyme)
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
2 tbsp turmeric powder (or fresh turmeric root chopped finely)
1/4 cup whole peppercorns (rainbow peppercorns are fun to use for this, but use what you have on hand).
Apple cider vinegar, unpasteurized, with the mother – approximately 1.5 litres (1.58 quarts)
Place all the ingredients in a 1 gallon or 3 to 4 litre size glass jar, or other glass container. Pour in the apple cider vinegar. If your jar has a metal lid, cover it first with wax paper or plastic wrap before screwing it on. If you skip this, the vinegar will corrode the metal lid. You don’t want rust in your fire cider!
I used a 3 litre size fermentation jar with lid for this batch, but you don’t need to get that fancy. For my first batch I used a sterilized fish bowl covered with plastic. I got the fish bowl at the thrift store for $2.
If you want to start off with a smaller sized batch, I suggest looking at a different recipe. There are many online to choose from. Here is a link to a good one from Grow, Forage, Cook, Ferment that uses a quart size jar. This one from Homestead & Chill uses a half-gallon size jar. I honestly prefer to make a larger batch, so that I have enough for a full year, but beginners might want to start smaller.
Shake or stir the mixture daily for 3-6 weeks. Strain the mixture through either a fine metal strainer or cheesecloth. Store in glass bottles or jars, with rubber stoppers or plastic lids (no metal lids). Drink 1-2 oz a day, watered down and sweetened with honey if desired. I don’t always water mine down, and I rarely add honey, but that is personal preference.
After straining the solids, you can compost them, but I recommend dehydrating them if you can. I froze mine because it was too cold to dehydrate outside when I strained it. I don’t recommend dehydrating the solids inside, as the smell will be quite strong and over-powering. You can grind the dehydrated solids into a powder and use it as a spice to add heat to dishes.