Fire Cider for the Cold and Flu Season
It’s cold and flu season and lots of people swear by fire cider vinegar for getting themselves and their families and friends through the sniffly time.
You can buy fire cider vinegar at the farmers market or some stores, but if you are so inclined, you can make your won and customize it your taste or what you have available (though I think with its heat flavor isn’t as much of a consideration). Making your own is also much cheaper if costs are a consideration. and ingredients can be purchased with SNAP benefits!
Fire cider (often with “vinegar” left off the name) is an old way of infusing cold-and-flu-bug-busting herbs and making them palatable and easy to take. It was named over Fire Cider Vinegar over 30 years ago by Rosemary Gladstar, who began sharing her version of the recipe; it now has almost as many variation as people who make it.
You can take fire cider vinegar to help your immune system fight off what’s around, at the start of cold or flu symptoms (and sometimes it seems to stop them, though no guarantees), or it seems to lessen the severity of the cold or flu, though again no promises.
How to take Fire Cider Vinegar (FCV): Most people don’t take it straight, but diluted in some way. Take a tablespoon or two (or a glug or two from the bottle is it in) and put it in a glass of water, juice, or a cup of tea–you decide how much it needs to be diluted. You can take it every couple of hours, or, when you are feeling better, a 2 or 3 times a day.
You can also use FCV in a mixed drink, or use it in salad dressing–for some or all of the vinegar portion.
Below are two recipes, one from my friend Charles Garcia (https://www.hispanicherbs.com/), a wonderful Hispanic herbalist, and one from me with interesting choices and no particular measurements.
Fire Cider Recipe from Charles Garcia
Ingredients (makes about 2 quarts):
2 glass quart jars
1 heaping teaspoon of black pepper for each jar
1 lemon in 4 slices (2 for each jar)
3 small slices of apple
1/2 diced red onions
16 garlic cloves (8 for each jar)
Approximately 2 ounces sliced fresh ginger
Approximately 2 1/4 ounces horse radish in 1 inch chunks
1 Anaheim or Serrano pepper sliced into 1/4 inch slices,
separate them into equal amounts for each jar
20 Allspice seeds split evenly for each jar
2 heaping Tablespoons of honey for each jar
Pack everything tightly in each jar. Fill with apple cider vinegar. Allow bubbles to escape and add more vinegar.
Seal and shake. Keep in fridge. Shake every day. After three weeks remove all solid material and keep the liquid in the jars and use as needed.
A Recipe for Fire Cider Vinegar by Iris Weaver
Take some garlic, onions, hot peppers, horseradish or garlic mustard root, any herbs that are anti-microbial or anti-inflammatory, etc., that are in your garden or cupboard, whatever else appeals to you. Use whatever amounts you like or have on hand. Warning: go easy with the horse radish; from experience too much makes the fire cider tooo firey!
Chop the herbs, put in a jar, top with ACV (organic and local if possible) and let sit at least 6 weeks. When you strain it out, add local raw honey if you like (some people add honey in with the vinegar while it is steeping). To me this is easy–no fussy measuring or worrying about having just the “right” herbs! Oh, and if you have someone who can’t do alliums, just eliminate the garlic and onions.
The usual herbs that seem to be the base of any fire cider recipe are garlic, horseradish, ginger, and hot peppers. But, again, use what you’ve got.
Dose: 1 to 3 teaspoons in water, juice, tea, several times a day. This is also great added to soups, stir-fries, and salad dressings (but be careful how much you use–hot, hot, hot!).
Suggested herbs and other ingredients (fresh or dried; organic if possible):
- Hot peppers/chilis
- Horseradish, or wasabi radish, or garlic mustard roots
- Astragalus root
- Lemon Balm
- Bee Balm
- Organic, raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Decide whether you want to make a quart, a half-gallon, or a gallon, and have appropriately sized jars, or use what you have!
Use organic citrus and ginger, and herbs if you buy them. Chop up your fresh herbs, onions, garlic, horse radish, etc. and slice your citrus if using (don’t worry about peeling it).
Fill your jar between 1/4 to 3/4 full with chopped ingredients, and then fill with apple cider vinegar to bottom of where lid sits. You can also add a bit of honey, you decide how much, in place of the vinegar and let it all infuse together. Put on lid and let infuse.
Make note of what herbs and ingredients you used and the date, Helpful for labeling and if anyone wants to know what’s in there.
Let it sit for 6 weeks or longer and then strain out the solids and bottle and use. Enjoy!