Fire Cider is an old folk medicine, made in many different homes in many different ways, often passed down through the generations like a good chicken soup recipe. Despite it’s differences, it’s basis is the same: onions, garlic, hot peppers and other aromatics are infused into vinegar, strained, and then added to honey or something sweet. It is taken by the spoonful in the cold season to warm the body and chase away sickness. I make this in my family and we take it on days when we wake up with a sniffly nose, scratchy throat or a general tired run down feeling and (knock on wood) we generally don’t get winter colds.
February 2nd was World Fire Cider Day. Everyone was encouraged to make and share their Fire Cider Recipe with the hashtag #freefirecider
The reason for this is to call attention and garner support for the fact that a business called Shire City Herbs has trademarked the generic herbal term for a folk remedy. As if that isn’t bad enough, they are suing small herbalist for making and selling their own versions of fire cider. You can read more about the Free Fire Cider Movement HERE. Sign the petition to remove the trademark HERE. Be sure to boycott Shire City Herbs and buy from a small herbalist or better yet, MAKE YOUR OWN FIRE CIDER!
For World Fire Cider Day and Imbolic, I made a batch of Fire Cider and I am including my recipe below. While many people will tell you to buy local and organic, which are certainly wise options, it may not always be possible. It is far better to make-do and concoct this medicine with what is available to you for you and your family, than to not make it at all. I live in a small mountain town with one grocery store and it is also winter, so my choices were slim. Crappy garlic, no fresh turmeric or horseradish didn’t ruin my plan to participate- I just looked elsewhere for ways to supplement. Do not let “the perfect ingredients”, money, or scarcity stop you from taking this into your own hands! (You can even use a recycled spaghetti sauce jar if you don’t have a mason jar.)
My Imbolic Fire Cider used some holiday flavors on top of the traditional ingredients to make this a special seasonal blend. I added foraged white pine, a good blast of vitamin C; chickweed, another nutrient rich addition that also marks one of the first signs of spring spotted on this halfway mark of winter; and cranberry and clementine, traditional flavors of wintertime and another punch of vitamins.
Imbolic Fire Cider
2 small onions, diced
2 elephant garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno and 1 habanero
2 thumbsized pieces of ginger, chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 clementine, zest and juice
3 fresh rosemary springs
1 white pine top
1 bunch fresh chickweed
small handfull fresh cranberries
1 Tblsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
Put all ingredients into a quart mason jar. press it down with a wooden spoon and fill the jar with Apple Cider Vinegar. Cover with a plastic lid or line a metal one with wax or parchment paper. put in a dark place and shake daily for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, strain the vinegar using cheesecloth (or a fine mesh sieve works too). After straining, you can add 1/4 cup honey (or more to taste) stirring to incorporate or mix when needed. (I mix a small shotglass of honey and cider as needed so I can add more for the kids.)